Introduction: Animating Photos in to GIF's

Picture of Animating Photos in to GIF's

Well this is a follow up to my instructable on making animated GIF images, this one's a little more in depth and will show you how to make lots of different animations from photos.

This 'ible goes out to bobbyK881, who asked about doing this with photos, so I obliged by writing this.


Step 1: What This Covers...

Picture of What This Covers...

Steps 2 - 6 making photos have animated movements

Steps 7 - 8 Making photos change colour

Steps 9 - 10 Making more complicated moving object animations

Steps 11 - 12 Shortcuts and ways of making the process quicker.

Step 2: Starting on Making Photos Move - Get Your Image(s)

Picture of Starting on Making Photos Move - Get Your Image(s)

Ok so you'll need a nice image of the thing in question, for example, if you wanted a dog to wag it's tail it would be easier to have at least three pictures of tail wagging in the same place, unles you remove it from the background, in which case you can simply use some tools to move the tail for new frames.

For now we're going to focus on something simple, like blinking eyes, the easiest way to do this is with three photos, one open eyed, one half open eyed and one closed eyed photo. This just means the frames are premade for you, however making your own eyes isn't a problem...

So go ahead and choose an image that suits...

Step 3: What Will It Do...

Picture of What Will It Do...

Well by selecting your image you decide what it's going to do, I've decided to go with making the eyebrows move, nice and simple but shows us about lots of things...

So let's continue on...

Step 4: Make Your Frames.

Picture of Make Your Frames.

So if you chose the route of having pictures ready for this then you don't have much to do, take a look through and pick the best running order of them, the best way to do this is a fast action mode on a camera where you can take shots in fast succession, making this stuff dead easy...

Anyway i have to make mine, doing a little cloning and moving...

Step 5: Setting Up the Frames.

Picture of Setting Up the Frames.

Ok so you've got your frames, all good to go and in a nice order, add them to one document eash as a layer, just open each image and use the move tool to drag them into the new document as a layer, make sure they're in order...

If you're unsure about how the layers should be ordered you should read my previous 'ible making animated gif's in photoshop.

So now we continue over to imageready, like before and hit make frames from layers...

Step 6: Now Some New Stuff

Picture of Now Some New Stuff

Obviously I'm not wanting this eyebrow to just shoot up and down I want it to stop, you could add a tonne more frames, or do it the smart way, by adding delays...

Do this in the animation bar, since they're eyebrow raises, I've added a half second delay at the first and the middle frame (the middle frame is the highest eyebrow point... since it reverses again, I refer you back to this for those getting lost.

So play it through, how does it look? If it's nice then save optimised as... now, jump back to photoshop again, I'm going to show you another fun trick...

Step 7: So Fun Colour Changes

Picture of So Fun Colour Changes

Well we're going to go back and make the eyes change colour between eyebrow raises...

Lets go back, take a copy of the layer sequence in the same order except this time we add coloured eyes to to the second sequence...

To do this I'm simply using a technique from an older 'ible of mine, except instead of complicating things with an extra layer, take your bursh and put it on overlay mode, choose the colour and a brush size similar to the eyes...

Now all we do is colour the eyes of one of the sequences... all the way through, or feel free to alternate at some point.

Remember you don't have to do the same thing as me, I just took an example image that can have a lot done to it...

Step 8: Jump Back Over to Imageready.

Picture of Jump Back Over to Imageready.

So jump back over to imageready and add your delays to the sequences where they should be... If necessary that is... Ok now have a play through and see how it looks...

You could make the eyes glow brighter and then fade again by increasing the opacity of the brush each frame of the colour sequence, start at 10% and work up to 100% remember to be on overlay mode, just make a slow increase to get that nice fade effect...

So you like it? Does it still need more? well how about an object moving across the image... On to that then...

Step 9: So Moving Objects Aswell?

Picture of So Moving Objects Aswell?

This is where all your skills will be tested, even organisational skills, basically we need to create a second set of frames for the moving object, these need to have the object go across in the same number of frames as the total number of the animation, so choose an object smaller than the image, make sure the background of the object is transparent. Give this new one a name, now use your same moving process as before to make it move, except this time, add the new set of frames above the older set layer for layer, like so.

Frame 3 object
Frame 3 base
Frame 2 object
Frame 2 Base
Frame 1 object
Frame 1 base

This is to make the next bit easier, as we'll have to merge the two frame sets together, for the object I used a ball, just because... After you get used to moving the object across and vertically you can start making things bounce or shoot around...

Step 10: Merge and Jump

Picture of Merge and Jump

So now you'll need to merge all those separate bits together, we do this by selecting each object layer and merging down (ctrl + E or Cmd + E)

Don't merge all of the layers together, just merge the corresponding layers together, this is why we arranged the layers like so in the last step.

Step 11: Jump Back Over.

Picture of Jump Back Over.

So once again we jump back over to imagready and we have a go at our animation, lets see what happened.

Remember that now your delays will delay all the frames, though for the internet you could use some smart coding to play to GIF's on top of eachother for some reason.

Remember if you already have an animation in the box you'll need to hit delete animation before you can add the newer model...

Step 12: Final Ideas and Thoughts.

Picture of Final Ideas and Thoughts.

Well these techniques can be applied to alot of different items and photo situations, hopefully you'll leanr how to make some excellent GIF's, much better than the one posted in the 'ible, which is by now obscenely busy and isn't the best ever, mainly due to my computer wussing out of the nice stuff, that and the original image didn't lend itself to this willingly...

Overall by using a bit more care in making each frame you can get a video-like GIF and do loads of cool stuff.

I hope you've enjoyed this 'ible - Killerjackalope.


DEMON1023 (author)2016-10-04


sfs (author)2008-06-30

I tried doing this, I was able to do up to the animation part... The saving part, i can't really figure out. On Imageready, it only allows me to save as PSD. If I save it as a GIF I lose the animation, I just get a flat image... :( Help anyone?

redcars101 (author)sfs2009-12-15

 If you want to save the animation as a gif, then you click on "File" and then go down until you find a button that says "Save For Web & Devices", click on that, something should come and then click "Save". Save it to where you want it and press "Save" again.

And if your looking for cool stuff to do, like watch videos, look at photos, play games, listen to music, and way more. Then visit my website! There not just entertainment, there's some tutorials, etc. So you should go check it out!

I also design HTML pages! My html page is:
I designed an HTML template for Xmas to!

killerjackalope (author)sfs2008-06-30

In imageread you need to go on down to save optimised as... Rather than just save...

I believe Imageready was discontinued... Sucks.

They rolled the features in to CS3 in the end I think, haven't got it to try with...

ClayOgre (author)2008-12-27

Just FYI, when it comes to animations, Gimp can do a LOT of stuff PS can't do all that easily, particularly with the add-on GAP plugins (Gimp Animation Package). You can define custom move paths, including rotation of images, filter use, etc., including gradually using filters over time. ...and when you combine Gimp with Blender and Inkscape, there are all sorts of possibilities.

casey321b (author)2008-10-15

reminds me of numa numa guy cuz of teh eyebrow

killerjackalope (author)2008-06-06

One reason I'm getting a second machine instead of simply switching, unless the second machine is faster than this one, then I'll do it the other way around...

lol linux is cool but when i installed it on my computer it wouldnt let my wireless reciever pick up the signal and it didnt even work installed the drivers using NDISGTK or sumthing like that i forget can somebody help me i luv linux but i cant get on the internet with it...oh ya im using Ubunbtu installed by Wubi

Hmm food for thought there, though the machine will be set up for the job so I'll avoid certain wireless connectors...

what do u mean?

As in when i get round to building it I'll be using stuff I know is linux friendly...

oh im pretty sure it is linux friendly thats the thing

That's very wierd... And annoying as hell no doubt...

dude u have no idea ive had 2 other computer with the same problem, both of then using different wireless recievers and non worked on 1 machine it wouldnt let me boot into windows 2 =[

Aye I've had trouble, got a BT homehub, they're the devil... I finally got it going but I do't have a static I.P. any more...

Gimp is capable of animation.

nepheron (author)2008-05-17

wowowo! looky what i made with this trick

=SMART= (author)nepheron2008-06-13

heh thats cool :D

killerjackalope (author)nepheron2008-05-17

Cool, that's pretty good use of this...

littlegandhi1199 (author)2008-06-06

I just used my webcam and took pictures from that It turned out nice thanks for the help I have had gimp but never knew how to export it to a gif now i do! thanks

So it works similarly for gimp then? I don't have it installed atm but it's good that it transfers over easily...

GorillazMiko (author)2008-05-17

You obviously have Windows Vista, so this is what I have to say:

No more Windows XP for you...

+5/5 stars.

Actually that's XP...

Gordon Freeman (author)2008-05-16

If you have flash animation its even simpler

I do a bit of flash aswell, maybe do some basics 'ibles...

there is really no instructable needed..... you just go File->Export->Movie->then select action Gif. extension

I meant making flash stuff, I'll trawl through the 'ibles and se if it's worth bothering or if covered already...

I See

I see alot of niche 'ibles in stuff but not the basic stuff that gets people started, hance my tow gif 'ibles...

jhazz106 (author)2008-05-16

i have a really big problem right now! ive done all the steps and when i saved it ("Save Optimized As"), it says "jpg and png does not support animation" so it only saved it as an image file. :-( did i do something wrong??? pls help asap! tnx!

killerjackalope (author)jhazz1062008-05-16

Make sure you're in imageready and set the file type to .GIF it should animate then...

joejoerowley (author)2008-05-15


Cheers joe...

I am sure you know how to do this but here is my instructable on how to animate actual video.

Oh thanks, I was wanting add a link to that, since it's already been done.

bobbyk881 (author)2008-05-15

Thank you. This is awsome, must try.

knittingmette (author)2008-05-15

;-) :-) ;-) :-) must try this. thx!

ll.13 (author)2008-05-15

Woah! freaky eyebrow! =)

killerjackalope (author)ll.132008-05-15

it feeds on souls...

ll.13 (author)killerjackalope2008-05-15


killerjackalope (author)ll.132008-05-15

From a distance... It moves faster and faster with more souls...

ll.13 (author)killerjackalope2008-05-15

I uhh, hadn't noticed it going faster, I think it's soul-munching ability is broken

killerjackalope (author)ll.132008-05-15

No it only works on linux users...

ll.13 (author)killerjackalope2008-05-15

I think you might of just dug your own grave. =P

KentsOkay (author)2008-05-15

Excellent! Freaky eyebrow dude... For those of us without pricey programs, perhaps also a GIMP tutorial?

When I learn Gimp a bit better yes, however as far as I know the process is pretty much the same, except you use GIMP...

lancmaltby (author)2008-05-15

Thanks for sharing - I have always wanted to know how to do it!!! This is awesome!

Cool, glad someone found it useful...

About This Instructable




Bio: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.
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