Jump to content

The Fishface's Guide to Making Animated Gifs


Recommended Posts

Here it is...


What I'm working with: Adobe ImageReady 7.0. I've been working with 3.0 until a month ago, differences are not too great. I can't give specific info for other programs, sorry.


The basics: Umm, I'm gonna have a hard time explaining that, I find it difficult to effectively explain stuff I'm well aquaintained with and use without thinking about it. So, I'll keep this short.


ImageReady allows us to generate animated gifs (as well as quicktime animations and some other stuff) from a multi-layered picture. Most of the time (and when an animation is imported into IR), one layer equals one frame. Layers can be used to much greater effect, though. More on that later.


The process of creating a simple animation is easy: Open a new document, paint or paste something into the canvas, and use more and more layers to alter the pic into a sequence that will give you an animation. For a multi-layered pic, use the Make Frames From Layers option in the drop-down menu in the Animation Window.


Well, since a picture says more than a thousand words (and several pictures even more so) I'll create an animated pic in a short tutorial now.


Step One: Find your source material


You could paint everything yourself, but for the sake of simplicity (and, ultimately, sanity), we'll be using material from existing pics. Google is your friend. Be sure to have a clear picture of what you're going to do so you can choose accordingly (me, I have no idea right now, so I'll make something not quite imaginative).


I chose a screenshot from TIE Fighter, a toaster, a jawa, and a hastily done starfield.


Now, the boring stuff. For the toaster and Jawas we can simply select and delete the background with the rectangle selection and magic wand tools. The TIE Screen is going to be more trouble. I like to use the eraser to get rid of everything but the cockpit, but the lasso or polygon selectors will work just as well.


Paste the cockpit over the starfield. This is the part that will stay the same during the animation.


Step Two: Flying Toasters and other Magic Tricks (The Tween Tool)


Resize and paste the toaster to a starting position (perhaps outside the canvas) over the starfield but below the cockpit. Make a new frame and move the toaster in the middle of the screen. Note that in the first frame it retains its position. Now choose Tween from the Animation Dropdown, select Tween with Previous Frame and an approriate number of frames; I took 6. The program now interpolates the position of the toaster layer in each frame, creating a fluid animation.


Make another frame. Set the layer opacity of the toaster to zero. Tween with 1 frame, and voilá, the Toaster disappears. as soon as it's in the TIE's crosshair. Read Step 4-6 for how to blow it up in a simple way.


Step Three: Jawas in Space


Make two new frames (one will be for an empty starfield between the toaster and the jawa) and paste the Jawa in the latter. (NOTE: It'll now appear in all earlier frames, so make him invisible in those.)


I want this Jawa to revolve slowly in space. Which is tricky, because for rotation, the program resamples the image, which makes Tweening impossible. We're going to do it anyway. Do the same stuff we did to the toaster. Make the starfield and Cockpit layer invisible for these frames. Now paste the Jawa again. Several times. One for each Frame. Move them all to the position of the one-layer-tweenes Jawa in the corresponding frame. You should have a lot of Jawas in a lot of wron positions now. Make all the useless ones invisible, so that the newly-made layers create an animation similar to the Tweened one.


Now we proceed to rotate each layer. Rotate the first one by 10°, the second one by 20, and so on.

The result could look a bit like this...




Step Four: Flashies!


That's the artsy part. Make a new layer. Give it a Hard light Blending Mode (NOTE: For all Frames - Blending mode isn't taken to other frames automatically, either), and fill it with Orange. Make it invisible in all but the frames where the Toaster and Jawa are faded out. Make the Orange fade by reducing the opacity over time (or tween some more).


NOTE: This is your time to decide whether the orange filled layer is over or under the cockpit. Each give its own effect and can be used to your preference.


Make another layer, fill it green, do the same stuff, but make it visible for only one or two frames before the orange becomes visible. That'll be our flash of light for the blaster cannons.


Step Five: Blasters Away!


Now for the blaster bolts themselves. On a separate layer, make two simple lines symbolizing the path of the blaster bolts. This is just there to help you for the next steps, disable or delete the layer after you're done.


Along these lines, and on a separate layer, use the line tool for two thick short green lines. Give them a (Filters - Gaussian Blur - 1 or 2 px], and paint a thinner line in a brighter green inside. Hard Light or Screen Blending mode work well. Make it visible on one frame. Do the same for later frames; until it looks like the laser bols we want (NOTE: Imperial Lasers tend to have a bright yellow core)

Two or three frames of laser animation will do.


Step Six: A bit of Explosion

I have some full explosion animations somewhere, but I'm too lazy, so the explosions will be nothing but a bright ball of light. Make a new Layer, grab a BIG paintbrush with a yellow or orange color, click in the middle of the pic. Give the layer a nice blending mode, fade the effect as you please; done.


NOTE that pics created like this tend to have large file sizes; I resized the final pic to stay within Photobucket's requirement of 250 KB; Removing the Flashy effects, which enlarge the color palette of the gif somewhat, helps a lot there.




That's all for today; maybe I'll come back later; maybe I'll even dress this post in more pics...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jahled bows in honor to such well explained PS information. :D


Going to try the latter half of this tomorrow when i'm through culling branches... nice one dude!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice Tut.


I may start using photoshop again.

Note to every body: Tutorial outpost has several good photoshop tutorials for those interessted.[/url]




Click here is you like Trance

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here it is...


That's all for today; maybe I'll come back later; maybe I'll even dress this post in more pics...


I have quoted you inside TTO (follow my sig - TTO = RDB II inside Rome Total War and it is way more powerful)


RDB II and TTO concepts have advenced to create a webbased moding team present on many sites and that mods many games - see pinned debates there - so we all stay united and don't loose friends)


Thanks and seeys soon.

- The Trivium Organization - Community Manager -

- Petroglyph Fan Forums - CoAdmin & Human Resources Manager -

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Copyright (c) 1999-2022 by SWRebellion Community - All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters. Star Wars(TM) is a registered trademark of LucasFilm, Ltd. We are not affiliated with LucasFilm or Walt Disney. This is a fan site and online gaming community (non-profit). Powered by Invision Community

  • Create New...