Hello my lovelies, today we’re going to learn how to make gifs~
WARNING: LONG ASS TUTORIAL AHEAD!
First of all, you’re going to want to get a video file of whatever it is you want to gif. I tend to get most of my videos from youtube, via keepvid, which is really simple to use and allows you to download the videos in multiple formats and in HD (if the video is in HD originally that is). You can also extract video from a DVD, I use Win X DVD Ripper Platinum, if you’re curious.
So, now you have your video, it’s time to open it up in KM Player (aka a gif making must have).
(For this tutorial I’m going to use the destiny trailer for dragon age 2, because that trailer is unf~)
Once your video is open in KM Player: Right click → Capture → Frame: Extract…
Once you have done that, this box will appear:
You can use these settings if you so desire, it’s completely optional, you may wish to extract more or less frames, so play around and see what you prefer.
Now, you can start extracting frames. Make sure that the video is playing first, or nothing will happen. Press start at the part of the video you wish to gif, and stop once you’ve extracted the necessary frames. They will then save to the folder at the top of the box there, which is usually under: Documents → The KMPlayer → Capture.
This is where the beauty of photoshop comes in. I use Photoshop CS5, but I think this tutorial will work for anyone with CS3 +
Open photoshop and go to: File → Scripts → Load Files into Stack…
This will allow you to batch upload layers into one file.
You will get this box here:
All you have to do is click ‘Browse…’ and select all the frames you’ve just extracted, click OK and photoshop will do the rest.
Look at that, beautiful, all of your frames are there and ready to go.
Note: the number of frames you choose to include will be vital to the overall size of your gif. More frames = larger file size. If you’re making a 500px gif, it is best to keep the amount of frames under 20, to ensure the file size isn’t too large, and above 10 so that the gif isn’t too choppy.
Now what you need to do is go to your Animation box (if you haven’t opened this already, you can find it under Window → Animation) and click on the drop down menu and select ‘Make Frames From Layers…’
All of your layers are now frames! But, if you press play, you may notice that your beautiful gif is playing backwards. Not to worry! All you need to do is click that little drop down menu again, and select ‘Reverse Frames’.
Currently the image size of my gif is 1280px x 720px, which is way too big, plus I have two black bars at the top and bottom of the image, which is not sexy at all, so let’s crop it.
Your cropping parameters are subject to change depending on what gif you’re making. As a rule, the width will always be 500 px, if you’re not making a photoset that is. Also, the subject matter of the gif you’re making may span the whole width and height, so if you were to crop it to say a height of 200 px, you may crop out vital parts of the image, so see which works best and maintains enough of the image without being too large.
Note: if you choose larger image parameters, you will most likely have to include less frames to keep it under 1mb (the tumblr gif size limit).
Okay, so for this image, I’m going to crop it to 500px x 200px.
Most wonderful. Now, if you haven’t already, you’re going to want to change the delay between the frames. Photoshop will automatically default at 0 sec, but this generally makes the gif go way too fast, like a hamster on coffee.
So, once again, you’re going to go and click that drop down menu and ‘Select All Frames’.
Once all of them are highlighted, click on the delay of a frame, and change it.
I tend to use 0.1 seconds, as it usually produces a nice smooth motion (i.e. not too jumpy) and it usually makes the gif go at a nice normal speed. You may find that you need to change it to 0.11, or 0.12 if the gif is still a bit too quick, which you can do by selecting ‘Other…’ and typing in the delay you want.
Now comes the fun bit: EDITING. This generally includes sharpening, colouring, and lighting.
Note: This part is completely optional, so feel free to skip to the end, but generally if you want to make a gif, you want them to look pretty right? Right?
Before doing anything, what I tend to do is create a new action. You can use this to record changes you make to an image, and use them on another image. So open your action box by going to Window → Actions, which will open this little box:
All you have to do, to start a new action is click on the ‘Create New Action’ tab at the bottom of the box there:
Name it and press record.
Note: This will record ALL of your following actions, undoing something, selecting different layers, creating new layers…everything. So, just be careful.
Now you can edit a layer, and everything you do will be saved so you can use it on other layer, instead of repeating the process.
Now that my action is recording, I’m going to sharpen and smoothen the gif using this wonderful little plug in called Topaz Clean. I really enjoy the effect that this plug in gives an image, but only in a small amount, don’t go overboard or it will look too smooth.
(Again, this is all entirely optional, and in no way, shape or form do you have to download this plug in. I’m including it just to show you how I make my gifs. Feel free to skip ahead~).
Go to: Filter → Topaz Labs → Topaz Clean, and this glorious box will appear:
The effect I use is Crisp Style (highlighted above). Now, at first the image may look too smooth, as I said before, but no worries, you can adjust it a bit. I always take the strength down a notch to 1, because it keeps the detail of the original image, but you can still notice the enhancement of topaz. Threshold controls how smooth the image looks, so I turn that down a notch too, to give a bit more detail. Then you can edit the sharpness, to make the edges bolder, if you so desire.
Those are the settings I have used, and I normally don’t vary from them much, but again it all depends on the image. Some may be smoother than others, so play around with the settings and find out what sort of style you like.
Alright, what you’re going to do now is sharpen the gif. To do this, go to: Filter → Sharpen → Smart Sharpen…
Now, I use ‘Smart Sharpen’ instead of the usual ‘Sharpen’ because I find that it’s a lot less harsh and you can adjust just how much you want to sharpen.
These are the settings I used:
There we go, so now the first frame is nice and sharp.
You can also use the ‘Unsharp Mask’, which is just under the ‘Smart Sharpen’ in the filters tab. Unsharp mask is a type of sharpening, however I use it simply to make the features in the image bolder.
Like so. Wonderful. I am going to stop this current action and everything I have just done should now be saved, and can then be applied to all the other layers. You’ll have to select each frame, and each corresponding layer and just press the play button and it will apply all the changes onto that image.
So, this is what I have so far:
Pretty boring colours, am I right?
What you can do now is make some adjustments using curves, brightness/contrast, selective colour and gradient maps.
First, go ahead and click on the little adjustments tab above your layers box (if it’s not already open, you can find it by going to Window → Adjustments).
Note: Make sure that your top layer and first frame are selected to ensure that any adjustments you do make will be applied to all layers.
Start with Brightness & Contrast. Edit it so it’s bright enough to see features, and contrasted enough so that it doesn’t look washy.
Okay, so you don’t have to use my settings, but for this image in particular, I decided to boost the contast quite a bit, but brighten it enough so you could still see Garrett’s beautiful face.
Now you can edit the curves, if you so wish. Curves are similar to brightness/contrast, but instead of adjusting the image as a whole, you can brighten and contrast different tones.
As you can see, you can edit the RGB, Red, Green and Blue channels to not only edit the brightness, but also the colours. The curves tool is an awkward tool to explain, it’s not a linear option and sometimes all you can do is play around with it and see what looks best. Honestly, that’s all I ever do…
Anyway, now you can edit the colours a bit more (if you wish) by using the selective colour tool. The beauty of this tool is that you can boost colours, reduce colours and replace colours.
Those settings are what I used for this gif. The image was very blue to begin with, so I ended up editing the cyan and blue tones more than anything else. This is what I have now:
Yum. You can stop here if you like, but I’m just going to go on a little bit more and add a photo filter and a gradient map.
A warming filter gives a nice effect, but there are a lot of other filters to choose from, so take a gander.
Now, the gradient map is a funky tool that can let you add some pretty nice colours. Go into the gradient map tool and on the little drop down menu you can select a gradient map (or make your own by clicking on the little arrow at the side and choosing ‘New Gradient…’ ). Now once you have done that, you’ll need to add a blending mode for the layer, I tend to stick to Overlay, Soft Light or Screen, depending on the image.
See how lovely the colours look now? Oh, also you may notice that I decreased the opacity, just to give it a nice blend of colours, without making it too red/green. Just decrease the opacity, until you’re happy with it.
Colouring and adjusting an image is never a defined thing, there are many, maaaany options to choose from when editing an image. The trick to it is to mess around with all the tools, and see what you like.
Note: If you like any of the adjustments you have done for an image, you can group them by highlighting them and going to: Layer → Group Layers. This will keep them all together, and then you can save as a .psd file to use again on another image.
Victory! The gif is complete. Now all you have to do is save it~
To save it as a moving gif image go to: File → Save for Web & Devices…
That will open this:
If you look closely…
As you know, the tumblr gif size limit is 1mb. If you upload any gif bigger than that, it will not move.
However, if you go over 1mb, do not fret! There are a few options you can choose from to decrease the size. I mainly use the following 2:
Option 1) Change the dither to Pattern, and decrease the amount of colours:
Option 2) Change the dither to Diffusion, and increase the lossy:
For this gif, I have used option 2, because it maintained the majority of the colours without looking too grainy.
So this is the finished result:
Note: If you find that you’re still having trouble getting the gif size under 500kb, you can always add a black & white adjustment layer or a black and white gradient map:
This way you can reduce the amount of colour in the image, and not lose that much quality:
You can also choose to make a photoset if you can’t stand losing any of the quality of your gif. Smaller sized gifs generally means you can include more frames, and more colours. Here is a quick width guide for photosets:
Well, that concludes this gigantic monstrosity of a tutorial. I hope you found this helpful, in some way or another, and if you ever feel the need to ask me anything specific about gif making, don’t hesitate :)