Animating Photos in to GIF's




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

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.


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Step 1: 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)

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...

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.



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    55 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     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!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


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    9 replies

    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

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