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How to Make an Animated .GIF in Photoshop

Published: June 29, 2015

Author: Gene Pascua

Do you love .gifs (who doesn’t) and would love to know how to make your own? Bookmark this post, which will teach you to build out an eye-catching 300×250 .gif banner.
The difficulty rating for this is a medium, and you’ll have to know your way around Photoshop a bit. I will go through the process step-by-step to get you on your way.
This is what we’ll be building:

Step 1 – Create a new 300×250 banner


Step 2 – Set up your layers

I’ve set up all the elements that I want to animate into groups and colored each group to refer back easily when we animate. Here you can see I have 4 groups set up. I have each in their final place where I want it to be (I work backwards when animating):

Step 3 – Layer animation prep

Let’s start creating more layers to prepare animating. What I’ve done here is duplicate our first copy layer seven times. (ctrl+J)
From here, we take the duplicate frames and start adjusting them to where they will animate into position. Below is where we should place the layers into position, then animate out for the next set of keyframes.
Now let’s add some motion blur filters to give the text the effect of it moving in fast. We’ll apply this to the first four layers.

Motion Blur location

You will get this prompt; let’s convert it to a smart object.
Here is the motion blur menu. Let’s keep the angle to 0, and the Distance value to 16. Press okay.
Witness the motion blur in effect.
Motion Blur effect applied to the remaining Layers

Now let’s do it to the next 3 layers. Keep Copy layer 5 as is, as that is the final position for our copy for the visitor to read. For the next two frames, we’ll apply the motion blur effect.
For the last two copy layers, let’s change the Angle to 90* degrees and keep the Distance value @ 16. We’ll have it exiting upward.
Your copy group layer should eventually look like this.

Step 4 – 3Q Icon & logo animation prep

For the 3Q icon, we’ll just have 3 duplicate frames, 4 total for this group. Here we’ll have it entering from the bottom up. We’ll create a mask and apply it to the entire folder.
image029 image031
We’ll get back to the mask later. Now let’s position the 3Q icon into place towards our final destination frame.
Now let’s apply the same motion blur to the first 3 layers for the 3q icon. Values are Angle 90*, and the Distance value is 16.
Now let’s go back to our applied mask on the group.
Select the white mask box.
Now select your Brush tool (B) @ 100% brush opacity and brush across the bottom portion of the mask. If you turn on the first frame for the 3q icon, where a portion of it is hidden, it will give the effect of appearing from a fade.

Step 5 -Digital & Harte Hanks Company logo animation prep 

For the last two groups, we will apply what we’ve learned above. Again, let’s duplicate the layers 3 times, and have a total of 4 layers for both groups. We’ll also apply a layer mask to both groups. This time we’ll have a mask over the 3Q icon so the Harte Hanks tagline will appear from behind the 3Q icon.
Your groups should eventually look like this

Step 6 – Animate the layers

Time to animate the layers you’ve created! Let’s open the timeline window.
Timeline menu location
Here you’ll get a button to choose from two options; let’s pick Create Frame Animation. It should change the window to this…
This should give you a first frame; this is where the fun will begin. Let’s go back to our first group, the copy animation group.
For each layer is a key frame we create. To create a new frame, I use the Duplicate new frame; I feel it is faster than going to the menu to create a new frame. Keep in mind that in doing this, you will have to hide your last layer and turn on the next layer.
Create keyframes for your first 7 layers. (The first frame is empty.)
Do the same for the next 7 layers for each group. It should look like this all together.
Now let’s adjust the time to make the animation as smooth as possible. To access the timing menu, click on the dropdown on each keyframe to change. Adjust the first 8 keyframes to these timings:

1. 0.5

2. 0.05

3. 0.05

4. 0.05

5. 0.05

6. 1.5

7. 0.05

8. 0.05

The timings for the next set of keyframes are as follows:

9. 0.05

10. 0.05

11. 0.05

12. 0.05

13. 0.05

14. 0.05

15. 5 secs

Next, set your rotation to forever so you can look at your timings to see if the animations came out smoothly. Adjust your timings accordingly on how fast or slow you want your copy or images to show. The usual .gif time is around 15 secs; less can better when you want to grab the viewer’s attention quickly and show what you are offering.
Good luck! If you have a question, please leave a comment.

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