My tutorials on this page are for Adobe Photoshop CC 2018+. I realize that the older versions of Adobe Photoshop differ from the newer versions. Most of these things should be somewhat similar, but items for menus may be changed around a little.
Just a reminder. GIF images are only able to hold 256 colors. If you use a lot of colors and gradients, you could end up with a very grainy image. 256 may seem like a lot, but in relation to 16,777,216 colors, it isn’t much. Plan the colors accordingly.
First, you always want to make sure your Animation Panel is open.
Throughout the course of my tutorials I may refer to this as the Animation Pallet, Animation Panel, Timeline Panel, or just Timeline. Hopefully, that doesn’t get too confusing.
Breaking down the Timeline
This is what your Animation Panel should look like when you first open it.
When you click that arrow you will notice that there are two options. Frame Animation and Video Timeline. Always choose “Create Frame Animation.”
If you accidentally click on the Video Timeline, it’s not the end of the world. You can either “undo” the action, or you can manually change it back.
There are 4 horizontal lines at the top right of the panel. I will be referring to these often in the course of my tutorials.
If you click on this, another menu will pop out with different options. If you get stuck on the video timeline, you can choose “Convert Frames > Convert to Frame Animation.”
You can also delete the animation from this menu. This is handy if you mess up and need to start over. I have had to use this so many times that I am surprised there isn’t a hole in it.
- Switch between Video Timeline and Frame Animation
- Highlight first frame
- Previous frame
- Play animation
- Next frame
- Quick Tween (uses last settings)
- Duplicate frame
- Delete frame
- Close Animation Panel
- Collapse Animation Panel
- Animation Panel Menu
These are pretty self explanatory.
In the Animation Panel Menu, there is an option for tweening. This is where you will put your tween settings.
Tweening is the effect of blending frames together for a smoother animation.
The button at the bottom of the panel will use the last settings you had for this animation. Once you close Photoshop, the settings will revert to the default.
These are the default settings:
“Tween With:” gives the option to choose which frame to tween with. If you have several frames selected in your Animation Panel, it will give the “Selection” option. This will tween across the frames instead of adding new frames.
You can choose how many frames to add to the animation with the “Frames to add:” box. This will increase your animation frames. If you have several frames selected in your Animation Panel, this will not be an option, as it will add no new frames.
The Layers area will let you choose to tween the entire image, or just the frame/s you have highlighted in your layers pallet. If you choose “Selected Layers,” make sure you have highlighted all of the layers you are animating. If you don’t select all of the layers you are working with, there may be blank spots in your animation.
The Paramerters area will let you choose what to tween.
- Position will only move the items without affecting the opacity or the styles.
- Opacity will only affect the opacity of the layer. This is good for the fading effect.
- Effects will only affect the Layer Styles.
- Checking all of these will affect all aspects of the image/layers
You must have one of these checked to use the tween function.
Saving your animation
When you are done with your animation, you will need to save it as an animated GIF image. However, you can’t just “Save As…” and expect it to work. It won’t.
You will need to choose a different option in your File Menu.
In older versions, it is just File > Save for Web…
It has moved in Creative Cloud versions.
You will need to adjust the settings to make your tag look the best it can!
These are the 3 settings you will need to pay attention to.
- This is the format your image will be saved in.
- This is the color format for blending the colors together. You can adjust this one depending on the amount of colors you use. The difference will be subtle, but you will be able to notice. Except… restrictive. You WILL absolutely notice that difference.
- This is how the color diffusion will work. I would suggest using “Pattern,” because it will leave the colors smoother without the jumpy little grains that you usually see in colorful animations.
In the Save dialog, you don’t need to change anything. Just hit save.