Convert a Video File into an Animated .GIF with Photoshop

June 2nd, 2011 by Brian D'Alessandro

It is popular nowadays to create short animated GIFs out of video or movie clips for easy viewing in forums and blogs. With some of the animation features in recent versions of Adobe Photoshop, it is quite easy to create these yourself!

  1. Open up your video file in Photoshop (File > Open). Photoshop can read in a number of different video formats (MOV, AVI, MPG, MPEG, MP4, M4V). If your video file is not one of these, you will need to convert it using a different program.
  2. Open the Animation palette (Window > Animation). You should see a timeline of your video in the palette.
  3. Set the start and end points of the clip you want to convert. Drag the blue handles above the timeline (shown circled in red in the image below) to select the duration of your clip. In the Animation palette menu (found at the top right corner of the palette), click Trim Document Duration to Work Area. If you want to convert the entire video into an animated GIF, then this step is not needed.
    Animation Timeline View
  4. Back in the Animation palette menu, click Flatten Frames Into Layers. A layer will be created for each frame of the video. You then need to delete the original video layer. In the Layers palette, right click on the original layer (which has a video clip icon in its thumbnail, and is probably called “Layer 1″), and click Delete Layer.
  5. Next, click Make Frames From Layers in the Animation palette menu.
  6. Finally, go to File > Save for Web & Devices. Make sure the format is set to GIF. On the bottom right corner of the window there is a drop down for Looping Options, which allows you to make the GIF loop once, forever, or a specific number of times. Click Save and you are done!

Your have successfully converted a video into an animated GIF! This has been tested in Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS5.

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