Animated gifs play an important part in any marketing campaign, as well as in education. So, before we go on to the tips that can help you create animations, let’s first take a look at what GIFs are.
The Graphics Interchange Format, or simply GIF joins together several bitmap (BMP) files into one animated image. Each pixel can be one of 256 available colors, which is why GIFs often look like they have lower quality if you compare it with other videos that you see. They also have lower frame rates, which is actually an advantage. More frames mean bigger files, and GIFs need to stay smaller and shareable. According to Petter Pentilä from Framesequence, gif animation artist, the main advantage of GIFs is that you can tell a story quickly and it does not take a long time to load which makes it perfect for mobile devices.
1. Create a video file – a video is the most common thing that is used for making animation, so if you are using it, make sure that you first download it. Before working on it in Photoshop or other programs, make sure that you first trim the video, it would be unnecessary to upload a large file and then work on it.
2. Establish the length of your animation – when you upload the file, always isolate that one specific moment that you would like to capture by bookmarking them with timestamps. GIFs can support up to three minutes of footage, however, 4-8 seconds is more than perfect.
3. You could add text – this kind of animation does not involve sound, so you can add text in order to give direction or meaning to the animation. Subtitles give context to the most memorable moment in the animation. You can also use text to highlight what is happening or feeling in the hopes to express yourself better with a GIF.
4. Fewer colors = more fun – if you want to make the most amazing GIFs, you will need to be more selective when it comes to the colors. It will not only play a big part in the gif size but by using less color, you will be able to make GIFs that are longer and smaller in size.
5. When and if possible, use motion blur – some programs will allow you to export your own video with a motion blur. This will not only look like the animation is more professional, but it will also help you cover-up some things if you need to drop the frames from your animation in Photoshop in order to keep the file smaller.
6. Download you GIF – if you are using your PC, you might notice that when you try to open it, it will not be animated, but it will instead, show a series of frames. If this happens, do not panic! All you have to do is drag the animation into your browser and it will start playing and looping. On mobile device and tablet, GIFs will play instantly when they are opened.