First, I open up the footage I wanna use in VirtualDub.
Using the scrubber, I go through the footage. Once I’ve found the clip I wanna use, I use the mark in and mark out buttons to set the beginning and end of my clip.
Finally, I save it as an AVI. Try to always save your clips as raw AVIs (without any video codecs or filters) to ensure you get the best quality in your gifs.
Next, open your .avi in Photoshop by going to File>Import>Import Video Frames to Layers.
Once your clip has been imported to Photoshop, click the highlighted button to convert the frame animation to a video timeline.
From there, click the highlighted button in the upper right hand corner, go to “Set Timeline Frame Rate”. Depending on the length and quality of your avi, this will vary. I generally make my gifs 15 fps, but anything down to 11 fps can work too. Anything higher can affect the file size, and anything lower than 11 tends to look choppy.
Highlight all of the layers and convert them into a smart object. This will allow you to edit your gif as a whole, rather than having to edit each frame/layer individually. This may seem tedious, but trust me, it’s worth it in the long run.
Next, you’re going to want to crop and resize your gif. I’ve found 500x245 works best for single gifs, and 245x160 works best for gif sets. You can adjust these to your own liking, but I’d recommend keeping the width 500px or 245px. Also, it’s important to note that gifs over 400px have a size limit of 1MB. Gifs under 400px have a limit of 2MB.
At this point, you’re basically done. Only thing left to do is add some enhancements to your gif to make it look better. This is something you’re gonna have to figure out on your own, as it depends on your own tastes, but I’d recommend applying the smart sharpen filter with the settings I have highlighted.
From here, I’ll usually add some adjustment layers. Once again, these all depend on what you think looks good, but these are the ones I use almost exclusively.
Finally, to save your gif go to File>Save for web. I’ve highlighted the important parts. All of these will ultimately effect your gif’s quality and file size, depending on it’s length, quality and image size. Adaptive+Pattern looks best in comparison to using Diffusion, but will likely make your gif’s file size larger. Same with the Colors. The higher the number is, the better the gif quality, but higher the file size as well.
This is why it’s so important to edit your gif before this. Lowering the frame rate and adding some adjustment’s can keep your gif looking good, as well as keeping the file size reasonable.
That’s about it! I’m not very good at these types of posts, but I hope this tutorial of sorts will help you in your own gif making endeavors.
Also, to clarify, this is just how I do things. This is by no means the only way to make a gif, just stuff that works best for me.
Feel free to hit me up with any questions you may have.
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