Clara sometimes asks me if I dream. ‘Course I dream,’ I tell her. ‘Everybody dreams.’ ‘But what do you dream about?’ she’ll ask. ‘The same thing everybody dreams about,’ I tell her. ‘I dream about where I’m going.’ She always laughs at that. ‘But you’re not going anywhere — you’re just wandering about!’ That’s not true. Not any more. I have a new destination. My journey is the same as yours, the same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I’m going. Where I’ve always been going. Home… the long way around.
I will try to explain making gifs as best as I can! This might be long and dumb downed, but I just want to make sure you understand everything :).
1.) Have a program that can rip sequential frames from the video you want to “gif”. I usually use KMPlayer . If you have a video that does not play on KMPlayer for some reason, you can also try taking multiple screenshots with one of the default programs you might have (like quicktime or windows media player)— just press Print Screen and paste it onto photoshop (and if you are weird like me and are using a Mac but are running windows press: Fn+Shift+F11).
Okay, so to take screenshots with KMPlayer right click on the video and go to Capture » Frame:Extract , a new window should open. I have it setup as this:
The most important thing is to have Continuously selected on the left. You can also play around with how many frames you want captured on the right side. Once you are good with that, press Start and it will do its business :). Just remember what folder you are hoarding your screenshots (AKA the “extract to” location)!
I had a problem with capturing DVDs at first, there were some settings I had to change to make it work, and even when I had the right settings I still had problems until it just started working… it was weird. I found the solution here.
*please note that I am using an older version of KMPlayer, so if this doesn’t look close enough to the new version, please let me know! I am lazy.
2.) Open up Photoshop. I have been using CS 5. Now to open the multiple screenshots for your gif go to File » Scripts » Load Files into Stack. A new window will open, so go to browse and find the folder you used to extract your frames in. Select all the images/frames that you want to use for your gif. To highlight multiple images, click on the first image you want to use and then shift click on the last image you want to use. Alternatively, if you want to use every other frame for some reason, you can press [and hold to make things easy] ctrl and click every other image file. So press open and then OK. All your frames will be loaded as layers now.
3.) Make sure your animation window is open— if it’s not go to Window on menu bar and make sure Animation is checked. Once you have that open go to the far right of animation where there is a pull down menu (look at the red circle in pic below) and click Make Frames From Layers.
Generally, if you are using KMPlayer, you would want to reverse your frames so it will be in the right order. To do that, click on the same pull down arrow thingie again on Animation and just select Reverse Frames.
4.) Make sure the size of your animation is what you want. To change the size you can go to Image » Image Size. You can also use Image » Crop and then resize if you want a bit of a “close-up”. For Tumblr the max width size is 500 pixels. I love using this bigger size honestly, but I know almost everyone likes to use 245px width (so it will have 2 gifs in a row). You can even use 160px width if you want to make 3 gifs in one row. One bad thing about using the bigger size is that you can’t use as many frames as you can with the smaller sizes.This is because Tumblr has has a limit size which is typically 1000kb. Generally, I can make a 500px X 280px with 10-13 frames within this limitation. With 245px X 138px I can get between 25-40 frames, and with 160px x 90px you can basically use a lot (65ish, I haven’t really hit the limit with this size yet). You can probably save resizing for later if you want, I just usually do it in this order.
5.) You also need to set the speed of your animation, you do not want to run it at the default: 0 sec… waaaay too fast (well unless you like it that way?). I generally use 0.24 sec to 0.28 sec for my speed when I make gifs that will have about 10-12 frames — my 500px gifs. For longer ones I usually do 0.15 sec to 0.2 sec. To set the time you need to select the frames in the animation window. You can select all the frames by going to the pull down menu again and Select All Frames (or highlight them manually with shift, like what we did with the images earlier). Click on the bottom of a selected frame (where the 0 sec. is at, look at pic below) and you should get options for time. Click on whatever you like and play around with it until you like the speed. Make sure you have Forever selected to view your animation over and over again (underlined in pic below).
Also one more note… for the last frame of an animation I like to increase the time to at least 0.45 secs, it just leaves the viewer more time to process the gif. Also, you can do that with the first frame, but maybe closer to 0.38 sec., that’s what I do at least.
*This next part only works for the 32 bit version of photoshop: If you are happy with your timing, and absolutely don’t want to change it anymore from here on out, then to make things easier for you when using filters for your gif, click on the bottom right of the animation window to convert to timeline animation (icon below).
You’ll get green bars now in place of your frames. Now you don’t really need to play around with the animation window anymore. But, in order to use filters on the images of your gif, you need to convert the layers to a smart object. Highlight all the layers and right click to get the Convert to Smart Object option.
Now you can use whatever filter for your gif. I generally like to use sharpen to make the gif look more clean. Actually, I’ve been using more Filter » Sharpen » Smart Sharpen lately. This is what setting I use for it mostly, play around with it too:
If you are using the 64 bit version of photoshop, you unfortunately can’t use the timeline option :(. You’ll be able to use filters, but you will have to use the filter on each layer…which can be time consuming and a royal pain!
6.) Now you can play with coloring your gif!!! I usually play around with adjustments (once again go to Window on the top and make sure Adjustments is checked ).
I always start with Levels (the second icon) and then basically play with like 80% of the other settings. This is probably my favorite part, because it literally is all play — so have fun here!!! Every adjustment option that you will make will become a new layer, so at any time you can uncheck any layer/adjustment that you don’t want anymore (click on the “eye” left to the layer).
You can make tons of adjustments… this is typically how mine look. You can also see that there is a black layer underneath our smart object. I just made a new layer filled it black and dragged it to the bottom. Why? Because sometimes when you sharpen gifs it leaves these slightly jagged transparent borders and it looks weird! I use a black fill for dark gifs, and white for really bright gifs.
Oh and don’t forget about using stocks photos to enhance your gif! I like finding a lot of cool photos to blend into my gif from Stock.xchng . You can also search PSD and find a lot of resources. You don’t need to, honestly I haven’t been using stocks for a while, but it’s fun seeing how a random photo can make something amazing!!! Just a note… you can blend just about any layer/adjustment, so play around with that! If I’m being unclear, I just mean right click on the layer you want to edit on the layers window and click Blending Options. A new window will appear and basically play around with Blend Mode. I love using overlay… but generally use a low opacity.
7.) Are you happy with how it looks now? It’s time to save and upload, yay! This is not quite as simple as Save As and that’s it… it requires just a little bit more effort. You will need to go to File » Save for Web & Devices. This will open a new window:
Make sure the size of the gif is under 1000kb, mine here is about 520kb so I am super good here (you can find the size on the left side — I circled it on the pic above)! But if your gif is bigger than that you can play around with some of the settings here. I mostly play with the Lossy option (underlined up top)— but I wouldn’t recommend going over 15 lossy— it will make the gif look really grainy and crappy. You can also play around with how the gif places/colors pixels. I dotted the 2 settings that deals with that. On the top pull down I generally only use Selective or Adaptive. And for the one beneath I use dither or pattern (note: you can’t play with lossy if you use pattern). If you are making a black and white gif, you can change the colors from 256 to something lower (found on the top left), that will reduce the size of the gif significantly (I use 32 for b&w). Okay, now before you save make sure you have Forever selected for your Looping Option (I circled it on the right). This will make your gif loop infinitely! Save and upload!!! Hooray! Oh, one more thing! Tumblr hates gifs that use a lot of cyan and magenta, so be cognizant of that! It literally won’t upload!
And that’s it!!!!!