If you have Photoshop, you can make a lovely animated GIF, using your own pictures (a Christmas tree, you wearing a Santa hat, whatever you like), that will convey your personal message of Christmas cheer to your friends and family.
Super-cool Cinemagraphs, one of our big trends in photography this year, have given the humble GIF a new lease of life. And so in the spirit of Christmas giving, we’ve created a simple four-step tutorial, explaining how you can make your own animated GIFs using Photoshop.
Here’s one we made earlier:
Step 1: Set up your layers
First you need to build a layered Photoshop file with all the elements you plan to animate. The example GIF has 7 layers (1 image layer and 6 text layers). The message we’re using is Merry Gif-mas from Image Source *, and we’re having each word pop up, one at a time.
So open your image, then add the text a word at a time in individual text boxes (e.g. Merry … Gif-mass … from … etc.).
Step 2: Create frames in Animation palette
Find the Animation palette by going to:
Photoshop Menu > Windows > Animation (you may need to click Show All Menu Items)
On the first frame, turn off all the layers except the layer you want visible at the start of the animation (you turn layers on and off by clicking the eye icon). Then add one frame at a time, and turn on the layers you want visible for each step (e.g. just the image and ‘merry’, just the image and ‘gif-mass’ etc.).
Bonus Tip: If you want to smooth the transition between frames you can use the Tween function to add extra frames. You can find the Tween button at the bottom of the Animation palette (the diagonal disappearing dots).
Step 3: Adjust your animation speed
When you finish setting up the frames, you can adjust the amount of delay between them. You can change the timing from the pop-up menu or choose Other… and specify a different time. Using the play button, you can test how it works and adjust the timing accordingly.
Step 4: Export as Animated GIF file
Save your Photoshop file first, and then export your animated GIF.
From the Photoshop menu go: File > Save For Web & Devices…
Make sure the image type is set to GIF. Play around with any options if you want, and then save your file.
Done! To test your fantastic animated GIF, open the file in your web browser.
To see the GIFs you can make with Image Source’s stock photos, visit our Gifshop where you can share and download over 40 free festive GIFs.
Have a Merry Gif-mas!