Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop CS5

Make an Animated GIF in Photoshop CS5

You must have types of equipment which are required for that before you can start your animation.

You need a computer with Photoshop in it. You should have a desire to animate. An animation is a long a tedious process but the end result is worth it. It may never see the light of day if you aren’t driven to finish a project. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated. All started somewhere and once you get the hang of it. It’s really more fun than work.

You are ready to animate if you have made it this far. Let’s get going then, Follow this procedure.

Step 1: You need to get prepared for that


Step 2: Opening a New Animation

Opening a new animation is just like opening a regular photoshop document. You only need to do is open Photoshop and go to File -> New, or hold Ctrl+N. It opens a menu that asks you what you would like your new document to look like. Usually, put in 8×8 in both spaces and changing the drop boxes parallel to ‘inches’ in the width and height boxes. Also, change the resolution to 300 pixels/inch. The image becomes less blurry and can do more detailed work. The resolution goes back down to 72px/inch when you change the animation into a GIF at the end. So you can leave it if you prefer.

Step 3: Creating Your Masterpiece

Creating Your Masterpiece

You can animate anything you want with Photoshop. But for now,  I’m just using a girl turning around. I’ll leave it very simple for sake of the instructable.

You need to choose a  color, in this case, I have token dark blue and used the fill bucket to create the background. Then I chose the brush tool and drew the back of the girl I’ll have turned around. I use the little color swatch thing at the bottom left to choose the colors for her hair, skin, and dress.

Let me explain layers before you go any further because they are most important when animating. Layers are like sheets of glass you place over one another. The first layer is the background and you can’t delete it. Every time you need to add a new layer. It’s a new transparent sheet of glass and you should draw on the layer each time. It’ll cover up whatever is underneath it. It’s crucial in animation because you can create ‘frames’ with layers. On Concord, in order for it t work, you have to confirm none of your layers has transparent spots. You can’t see the last frame underneath if you cover the whole layer such as glass. You take the ‘paint’ off if you erase. So if you make a mistake, draw over it in the background colour or something.

Go over to the Layers menu at the bottom right of the screen, drag and drop this first layer over the ‘create new layer’ icon when you are satisfied with your drawing as it looks like a little piece of paper with its corner folded up. This creates an identical layer over top of the last one and there’ll be no transparent spots. Your background has become your first frame and your animation as it’s in the first layer. You can start to paint over and add subtle differences to show your subject is moving.

Remember, the most frames you use, the smoother and more realistic the animation will be. Tap and drag it to the ‘new layer’ icon again and continue when you have finished one frame.

Step 4: Let’s See This in Action

Let's See This in Action

So, you have managed to draw frames that you think will become a beautiful animation. Let’s see how they look.

If you go to Window -> Animation in a snazzy little timeline appears at the bottom of your screen in Photoshop CS5. All of your images may be jumbled into one. So what you should do is go to the top right of that timeline and look for the menu icon looks like an arrow pointing down will four lines. Tap it, and then select ‘Make frames from layers’. It turns all of your layers into frames in an animation. You can see your animation play though if you hit the play button at the bottom left of the timeline. This is where you can see if you have made any mistakes, or if you need to add more frames. You can just tap the icon at the bottom of the timeline that looks like the new layer icon. This does the same thing as copying a layer back in the layers menu.

This makes the process easier, as I found it sometimes glitchy or jumpy and has a mind of its own. So I prefer to start simply by using layers and then use the timeline later. Feel free to try it out from the get-go if you have no problems though.

Step 5: How to Turn Your Brainbaby Into a GIF

Brainbaby Into a GIF

You have to save it as you’re finished and satisfied with your work. Saving the file as a JPG or a PSD won’t work as the image won’t move. A type of file that moves, though it is a GIF which stands for Graphics Interchange Format that means the visible frame can change by creating simple animations. You must go to File-> Save for Web & Devices to save your animation. This opens a menu with many bells a whistle. The only thing you care about is if that 3D looks little drop box says GIF. If it says anything else, such as PNG, JPEG etc. It won’t work, so confirm you choose GIF. You need to hit ‘Save’ for saving it to your computer, perhaps in a  folder called “I am Awesome” or “My Epic Animations”. You may have problems rendering the animation if your computer is old or has very little RAM. This is because it is too big, and if you can, you should cut it down a little. I have never exceeded 40 frames. So that would be my cut-off limit for simple animations like these.

Right tap it and choose Open with -> Internet Explorer if all goes well though you should be able to find the animation in your documents. See your animation working the way it should.


This isn’t so hard, the first time is complicated. On Concord, once you get the hang of it, all your friends will flock to you asking you to create them beautiful works of MOVING art. Keep learning, keep practicing, keep rocking the free world-err.

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