Animated GIFs are among the most popular forms of visual contents on the web.
These usually come from short clips of interesting, funny, or cute stuff. Like little baby animals. Or baby humans. Or other stuff.
There are many online services that let you create, share, download, and save your own GIFs for free. However, these sites usually impose limitations on the output, such as the GIF image size, resolution, and duration. You also usually end up with the name of the website displayed on your GIF, which may be undesirable for your personal branding efforts.
I’ve recently started generating animated GIFs from my 2D animation sequences using GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, a free open source image editing program similar to Adobe Photoshop.
It’s fun! Here’s an example of what you can do:
Using GIMP to create your own animated GIFs allows you to generate outputs based on your desired image size, resolution, and duration. The GIFs also don’t have any watermarks or other site’s branding displayed on them. And did I mention that GIMP is FREE?
For my specific type of GIF creation procedure, I use a PNG image sequence from my selected Toon Boom Studio animation scene.
You can convert your video clip into a PNG image sequence using Blender, also an open source (FREE) software. Refer to my post on converting videos into PNG image sequences using Blender for the detailed procedure.
Detailed Steps to Convert an Image Sequence Into an Animated GIF File
Here are the step-by-step details of how you can use GIMP to convert your image sequence into an animated GIF.
Step 1: Run GIMP
Assuming you have downloaded and installed GIMP on your computer, start the software. The GIMP icon looks something like the following image.
Step 2: Open Your Image Sequence As Layers
In the GIMP main window, click the File menu, and choose “Open as Layers…“
In the Open Image window, choose your image sequence.
Note that this can be ANY SERIES of images you have to tell YOUR STORY.
Personally, as I mentioned above, I typically grab an image sequence from my animation scene. This can come straight from Toon Boom Studio rendering (export movie as image sequence), or from an AVI-to-PNG conversion (also mentioned above).
Step 3: OPTIONAL: Resize Your GIF Output
If you want to keep your original image size, skip to Step 4 (Create Your Animated GIF).
Usually, chances are that your original input images are very large, so you may want to reduce your animated GIF output size.
Click the Image menu and select “Scale Image…“
The Scale Image dialog box appears. Enter the new dimensions for your image.
Now the content area (canvas) will show your resized image.
Step 4: Create Your Animated GIF
You are now ready to export your image sequence as an animated GIF file.
From the File menu, select “Export…“
In the Export Image dialog box, change the file extension to “.gif” as shown in the figure below, and click the Export button:
The Export Image As GIF dialog box should pop up. Set the final GIF parameters as shown:
My source animation runs at 24 fps, so I set the delay to 42 milliseconds for all frames. The following figure shows the relationship between the FPS rate and the time duration per animated frame for a 24 fps animation setup:
The example figure above shows that I’m using 50 milliseconds as the delay between frames. I did this earlier because I got weird GIF results when I used 42 milliseconds. 50 milliseconds worked for me, and was close enough.
If your image sequence is not from a video, you can go to the individual image layers and set their duration separately. You need to uncheck the “Use delay entered above for all frames” option for this to work.
Click the Export button to get your animated GIF file created.
And that’s it! QUICK, EASY, and FREE!
Lastly, in keeping with my tips and tricks tradition, here’s a demo video showing you how to do the above steps: