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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hi there. Welcome back to another edition of Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Sealy, and this week, I'm going to show you how to take a regular old video file and transform it into an awesome little animated .gif inside of Photoshop. Now, you might be thinking, wait a minute. Animated GIFs? What is this? 1995? Well actually, people are starting to get back on the GIF band wagon for creating memes, or doing marketing style videos that they post on sites like Tumblr. It's becoming its own thing once again.
So, I thought it would be really cool if I showed you how to do that with a video file. So the first thing you need to do is you need to have a video file somewhere on your computer. And then, in Photoshop, go to File > Import and choose Video Frames to Layers. Once you do that, find the video file on your computer, and in this case it's just a video of my dog running in the park. And I'll hit Open. It's going to bring me to this dialogue box here where I have the choice of either having this go from beginning to end or I can select a range. It tells me to use the trim controls below the video to specify the range. So as you can see here I can actually scrub through this video just by going like this.
You can also play through it but it's kind of loud so I'm not going to do that. And then you have these old trim controls down here. So if I wanted to trim. To the point where my dog, Tank, just gets back to me. Something like that. So that's what I'm going to do. Then you have the choice of limiting this to every however many frames. So you can say I want an image every two frames or an image every three frames. You should know that the higher this number, the choppier your animation is going to be. The lower this number, the smoother it's going to be. But that's also going to generate more frames, which means a higher file size at the end of the day.
So in this case what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this to three. It's going to be a little bit quick, but it's okay. And then I'm going to hit OK. And so this is just a four second video, and so it only generates about 20 frames over here. In my layers panel and then I've also got my timeline, you can bring that up by going to window and selecting timeline and then down here at the bottom you can just play through it. There's not going to be any sound because it is animation and as you can see here it just keeps playing. That's just my dog running in the park. It's exactly what it looks like. Now you have the ability to edit this however you see fit.
Run filters, change things, add text. Many people do a lot of different things to these gifs. Add you know little speech bubbles to the animals that run in them, whatever the case may be. Just be creative. But, I'm just going to show you the process of how we get it in here, and how we get it back out. So once you have made all of your edits, just go to the File menu, choose Save for Web. In the Save for Web dialogue box you're going to choose one of the GIF options. So it's either going to be GIF128 Dithered, GIF 128 No Dither.
GIF 32, GIF 64, or GIF restricted. So what' the difference between all three of these? Basically just quality of the gif. So right here at the bottom, I'm going to hit the play button. And this is going to play through it, and we're going to change some of these settings. So what when I go from gif 128 dithered to gif 128 no dithered. You're just going to see some banding in the sky. But the overall quality is still there. If I go from 128 to 32, no dithered, you're going to see some significant artifacts and some big time banding in the sky.
Same thing if I go from 32 to 64 with a dither, you're going to notice that everything is a lot more smooth. So ultimately it is up to you. It's going to generate different file sizes, which is a big concern in many cases, and it's going to generate smoother colors, and that kind of thing. So you just have to play around with this until you get the look that you want. In this case I'm going to chose probably the worst one, gif restrictive but this looks very meme. This is what everybody is creating nowadays. These video memes that people are turning into gifs, they just use this sort of pixellated look to them.
And so, what I'm going to do now is I'm going to save it and when I save it here, I'm just going to save it out as Tank and we'll put it out on the desktop.And then I'll navigate over to my browser. And here, you can see the finished product, Tank running really fast. Repeating itself over, and over, and over again. And this is what these little animated GIFs are all about. Just creating something that's quick, easy, funny, that people can engage with online. The next time you want to create something like this, try importing a video file into Photoshop.
Tweak the settings, add some finishing touches, and you'll be well on your way to having the next viral sensation on your Tumblr blog, or whatever the case may be.
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