How To: Create a GIF

I couldn’t believe how simple the process is to create a GIF, so I’ve decided to pass on the basics for anyone else who wants to experiment with the art form.

Although there are surely a number of ways to create a GIF, I’ll be following the same method I learned at University just last week. If there are ways in which I can improve this process, or just others ways to work, please share them with me here.

For this you will need the following;

  • MPEG Streamclip – free download here.
  • Adobe Photoshop – I’m using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop CC.
  • Video footage – I’ll be using MP4, but other file formats should work.

And as a side note, I will be using Mac. Nevertheless, the process is very similar.

The first thing you’ll want to do is download MPEG Streamclip. I won’t step-by-step go through the installation process, let me know. I will however share an slight issue I faced when trying to install.

It’s important to note, only install software that you know has come from a safe source. Hence the reason why I like to shared the links.

After downloading, to complete the installation you might have to change your security settings to trust the developers.

System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Allow apps downloaded from: > select “anywhere”.

Once you have changed this setting, continue to install the application as usual. The setting should automatically revert back after 60 minutes. But I changed the settings back, for peace of mind, after successfully opening MPEG Streamclip for the first time.

Because the software is dated and I’m running the latest OS,  I did experience a few glicthes, but the end product came out fine regardless.

Next, I’d set up my folders, ready for my saved files such as assets, exports and Adobe files.

For my edit, I’ll be using some footage of funny footage of Kanye West that I found on Youtube. Credit to SoupKitch TV for the video. I’ve used to downloaded the footage.

With MPEG Streamclip open, head to File > Open Files… > then locate and select your media.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 18.52.15.jpg

Review the footage and mark you’re selection… trying to keep it short.

Mark In and Out with the keyboard shortcuts “I” for In and “O” for Out. With the selection made, head back up to File > Export to Other Formats…

You’ll then be confronted with a series of options, but all you need to worry about is the top set of options, “Format”; change this drop-down bar to “Image Sequence” and hit options. In this new pop up menu, change the drop down box to JPEG and input the frame rate you want. No other settings need to be changed. Hit “OK” on both menus and find your destination folder.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 18.53.55.jpg

Handy tip, most video TV footage is output at around 24 frames per second. In this case I’ve asked for 4 frames per second. Meaning that the MPEG software will now discard the remaining 20 frames. This is where it can be fun to play around until you get something you like. Review the images, and repeat until you’re happy.

Now open Photoshop and import your images;

File > Scripts > Load Files in Stack…

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 19.11.08.jpg

Locate you files and import.

Once the files have loaded into Photoshop, you’ll need to open up a new a new window;

Window > Timeline

After this has loaded at the bottom of the screen, use the drop-down box to select “Create Frame Animation”.

You’ll see that only one frame is in your timeline, open up the options menu (the 4 stacked lines) and hit “Make Frames from Layers”. You’ll now – hopefully – notice that frames have loaded in back-to-front. Correct this by heading back to the options menu and select “Reverse Frames”.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 19.17.00.jpg

Under the furthest frame to the left is a drop-down box which should say “once”, change this to “Forever” to create a looping GIF.

I’ve applied a crop to my first frame, which in turn crops every frame on my timeline.

Changing the image size will radically change your file size. Traditionally the longest side of any GIF will be shorter that 1000 px.

Home stretch now…

Export your work – of course, there’s much you can do at this stage, but this is just the basics;

File > Export > Save for Web (legacy)…

All you want to change in this menu is the “colour” drop-down box. Select the maximum colour you want, and use the preview box to review you GIF before hitting save.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 19.37.19.jpg

And there you have it! A GIF. To view properly on you desktop, simply drag the file into your web browsers, or these can be sent as text message, or feature on a blog just like this…


I created something a little more complex for my uni task. Combining 5 clips and inserting some still images. The process is just the same, but with more frames.



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