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Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop

From: Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

Video: Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop

In Chapter 07, we learned how to create an animated SWF banner right out of Illustrator. However, there may be times when you need to create an animated banner but using the GIF file format. One of the nice things about the GIF file format is that it supports animation. The way that you define the animation is you create separate frames for the GIF, and then the GIF just plays them in succession. Unfortunately, Illustrator does not have the ability to export an animated GIF file. It can only export static GIF files. However, we also know that we can easily move information from Illustrator into Photoshop, while retaining our structure, things like layers, for example, and Photoshop does have the ability to export an animated GIF file.

Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop

In Chapter 07, we learned how to create an animated SWF banner right out of Illustrator. However, there may be times when you need to create an animated banner but using the GIF file format. One of the nice things about the GIF file format is that it supports animation. The way that you define the animation is you create separate frames for the GIF, and then the GIF just plays them in succession. Unfortunately, Illustrator does not have the ability to export an animated GIF file. It can only export static GIF files. However, we also know that we can easily move information from Illustrator into Photoshop, while retaining our structure, things like layers, for example, and Photoshop does have the ability to export an animated GIF file.

So if you need to take some artwork from Illustrator and turn it into an animated GIF, here is a great way to do that. I have this document here created inside of Illustrator. It's called animated_banner, and I already have some layers created. Each of the layers defines different parts of the animation for that banner. I now need to create an animated GIF. So what I'm going to start off doing is going to the File menu here, choosing Export, and I am going to export this as a PSD. So I am going to choose here Photoshop (psd), and we'll call it animated_banner.psd, and I will check the Use Artboards option because I want to make sure that it crops perfectly to the size here of 468 x 60, and then I'll choose to export this file.

I want to make sure that Write Layers is turned on, and I am going to set it to 72 pixels per inch and click OK. Great! Now let's move over to Photoshop. Let's choose File > Open, and I will open up my animated_banner file that I just created. Notice over here in my Layers panel that all three layers here exist. I am actually going to turn on just the bottom layer over here, Backpack Cali, and from the Window menu, I am going to choose to open up my Animation panel here inside of Photoshop. Now at the bottom of the Animation panel, I am going to click on this button here to create a second frame.

I'll now turn off the Backpack Cali layer, and turn on the California Calm layer. I'll add an additional frame here as well, and turn on the Desert to Sea layer. So now I've created three different frames with my Animation panel: the first frame, the second frame, and the third frame. There is a setting over here called Forever. That means that this is going to loop forever; although if I wanted to, I can have it maybe display three times and then stop, but I am going to let it set right now at the Forever setting, and you'll see at the bottom of every frame it says 0 seconds.

That's the timing, or duration, for each of the frames. Now I wanted to pull as after each of these for a little bit, maybe about 2 seconds each. So I am going to click on this little arrow here, and specify that it should pause for two seconds after each of these frames. Great! Let's see how this works. I am now going to go over here to the File menu. I am going to choose Save for Web & Devices; the same feature that you have inside of Illustrator is also available here inside of Photoshop. I am going to choose GIF as my file format, and then let's go ahead and preview this in our web browser.

I'll click on Preview in Browser, and now I can see how that GIF animation actually plays back inside of a web browser. So let's go back to Photoshop here. So we can see how easy it was to take some artwork that started out inside of Illustrator, export it as a PSD, and then bring it in and build the GIF animation right here out of Photoshop. Of course, I could also go back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop by bringing Smart Objects here instead of kind of exporting one PSD file, but in this case here, it was much easier to just get one PSD and get it done.

If you need to, however, you can always go back to Illustrator, copy and paste the information to set your Smart Objects, and use the same method here with the Animation panel to create your GIF animation.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design
Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

74 video lessons · 23926 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 6m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Choosing Illustrator for web and interactive design
      2m 54s
    3. Illustrator and the web design workflow
      2m 7s
    4. Using the exercise files
      22s
  2. 40m 9s
    1. Pixel dimension vs. resolution
      4m 14s
    2. Pixel Preview mode and anti-aliasing
      5m 39s
    3. Taking charge of anti-aliasing
      5m 27s
    4. Choosing the right color management settings
      7m 25s
    5. Setting up important preferences
      6m 22s
    6. Setting up a workspace optimized for web design
      11m 2s
  3. 54m 5s
    1. Using the Web document profile
      3m 39s
    2. Creating custom document profiles
      9m 38s
    3. Using Illustrator's free web templates
      2m 33s
    4. Creating a sitemap or wireframe
      2m 50s
    5. Setting up an entire web site
      9m 33s
    6. Setting up a grid
      10m 37s
    7. Setting up an online ad campaign
      8m 13s
    8. Setting up icons for iOS
      2m 24s
    9. Setting up mobile content with Adobe Device Central
      4m 38s
  4. 32m 22s
    1. Understanding web-safe colors
      11m 50s
    2. Limiting the Color Guide to web-safe colors
      4m 53s
    3. Using Recolor Art to convert art to web-safe colors
      4m 54s
    4. Getting color inspiration from Adobe Kuler
      6m 48s
    5. Using Recolor Artwork to modify colors across a site
      3m 57s
  5. 56m 54s
    1. Using the Save for Web & Devices feature
      6m 44s
    2. Understanding the GIF file format and its settings
      10m 20s
    3. Understanding the JPEG file format and its settings
      7m 39s
    4. Understanding the PNG file format and its settings
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding the WBMP file format and its settings
      1m 18s
    6. Understanding the SWF file format and its settings
      4m 13s
    7. Understanding the SVG file format and its settings
      3m 41s
    8. Adjusting the dimensions of a graphic
      4m 46s
    9. Optimizing files to a specific file size
      4m 5s
    10. Modifying Save for Web & Devices output settings
      6m 51s
    11. Previewing content in Adobe Device Central
      3m 56s
  6. 56m 6s
    1. Setting point type in Illustrator
      4m 11s
    2. Setting area type in Illustrator
      5m 20s
    3. Formatting text quickly with paragraph styles
      14m 39s
    4. Overriding formatting with character styles
      3m 2s
    5. Controlling text anti-aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      11m 14s
    7. Adding cool reflections to text and graphics
      8m 26s
    8. Applying settings quickly with Graphic Styles
      4m 24s
  7. 35m 56s
    1. Understanding the concept of slicing
      3m 22s
    2. Creating slices manually
      4m 26s
    3. Creating slices from guides
      2m 45s
    4. Creating slices from objects
      7m 33s
    5. Understanding the different slice types
      4m 20s
    6. Applying settings to slices
      9m 20s
    7. Creating hotspots with image maps
      4m 10s
  8. 23m 35s
    1. Exporting static SWF files from Illustrator
      3m 35s
    2. Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames
      4m 3s
    3. Animated SWF: Using blends to define motion
      8m 35s
    4. Animated SWF: Adding static artwork to an animation
      3m 24s
    5. Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation
      3m 58s
  9. 17m 13s
    1. Preserving slices and structure with PSD export
      6m 10s
    2. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      4m 35s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Photoshop
      2m 52s
    4. Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop
      3m 36s
  10. 7m 28s
    1. Exporting HTML from Illustrator for use in Dreamweaver
      3m 31s
    2. Exporting CSS and DIVs from an Illustrator layout
      3m 57s
  11. 12m 37s
    1. Moving art between Illustrator and Fireworks
      6m 25s
    2. Using dynamic shapes from Fireworks
      3m 48s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Fireworks
      2m 24s
  12. 16m 7s
    1. Building files for use in Flash Catalyst
      4m 28s
    2. Creating a new Flash Catalyst project from an Illustrator file
      3m 40s
    3. Copying and pasting artwork between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      2m 4s
    4. Roundtrip editing between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      3m 36s
    5. Creating Flex skins for use in Flash Builder
      2m 19s
  13. 19m 48s
    1. Understanding symbols: The lifeblood of Flash
      4m 58s
    2. Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling
      4m 18s
    3. Setting text that will be used in Flash Professional
      3m 5s
    4. Moving artwork between Illustrator and Flash Professional
      7m 27s
  14. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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