GIF tutorial! (Goes over- making a gif, editing, saving while squeezing it into 500 KB and freezing)

I’ve had a few people ask me how I make my gifs, and here it is! Hopefully it is not so confusing. I’ll go over actually making the gif, editing, saving, squeezing it into 500KB, and making parts of the gif ‘freeze’, and general tips and such. It took me forever to figure this out, so hopefully I can lessen the pain of learning to make gifs for someone out there. 

This is long. You don’t have to read the whole thing! Just the parts that you need. 

Also as the tutorial goes on, I quickly become delirious and start making jokes that don’t make sense. You can tell when this starts happening. 


MAKING A GIF WITH KMPLAYER. ————————————————————

First off, I use Photoshop CS3 (although I’m sure any photoshop in the CS family will do) and KMPlayer. KMPlayer is a free, safe, program that will allow you to autoscreenshot, but more on that later. Download KMPlayer here. KMPlayer will play pretty much any format, so no need to worry about converting! 

Try to find the highest quality download of the movie/tv show/whatever you are making gifs from. It makes a HUGE difference in your gifs. If you can find a blueray version, get that one. 

Once on KMPlayer, click Open (It’s on the bottom right) and open your movie. 

Go to the part of the movie you want to gif, and pause it as CLOSE to the beginning of your desired gif-ing portion as possible, just to make it easier on you during editing.

At this moment, make a folder named ‘gif files’. In the gif files folder, make another folder named something related to your gif (I’m naming mine Hermione). The gif files folder is very handy when making photosets, so MAKE ONE!

Go back to KMPlayer, and right click. You should see something like this: 

Hover over Capture, and then click on ‘Frame: Extract’. It should be near the bottom.

Now you will come to this scary loking window, but don’t fear! You only need to tweak a few things. 

There’s only two things you need to worry about on this page. First, go to Frames to Extract, and set it to around 3 to 5 Every # frame.

Then, go to the top and change Extract to to your designated folder that you have just created (you can change this by clicking the little folder button on the right). Not the gif files folder, but in my case I would Extract to 

\Gif files\hermione\

The reason you want the gif files folder is to keep all of your folders in one place. You can be dealing with several folders at once when making photosets or just dealing with several gifs. Each folder = one gif.

Then click start. Play the video until the part you want to gif is done. Then click stop

What KMPlayer did is auto screenshot every 3 to 5 frames (depending on your settings) and put all the images into your designated folder.

Your folder should look something like this after finishing.

If it doesn’t, you probably accidentally extracted to a different folder. Just try again.

Next, you’ll need to download one more thing, a script for photoshop. This script will put all of your screenshots into one image. It’s safe and free and takes seconds to download. 

Clickity clack.

Now go into photoshop and head this way:

File> Show All Menu Items > Scripts > Browse > Import Folder as Layers

Now click on import folder. You’ll come to a window where it lets you choose your folder.

Now photoshop will spazz the fuck out for a second. Depending on how many screenshots you have, this weird ass screen flickering will last from a couple seconds to a couple minutes. Don’t click anything or freak out.

After the script is done running, you should have an image like so: 

Notice all of the layers on the side? That means you’re DOING IT RIGHT! Congrats, man. 

IMPORTANT tip: make sure you clean out your gif files folder regularly. I clean mine out every day. If you leave all of those screenshots in there, it’ll really pile up and take up a lot space on your computer. 

Now click Window > Animation and this bar will pop up on the bottom of your screen:

Click the weird ass lines under the x on the top right and select ‘Make Frames from Layers

Your empty womb of an animation is now filled with the beautiful frames of your gif. 

First off, you should slow the gif down. If you play it now it’ll look like someone shot up your gif with heroine.

Click the first frame, hold down shift, and scroll down to the last frame. Click the little hipster triangle next to 0 sec. and click ‘other’.

I would recommend putting in anywhere from 0.08 to 0.13 seconds per frame for a smooth gif. Play it to make sure you like the speed.

Now here comes the sad part. Cutting out frames. A gif that is around 500 pixels wide will only hold about 15 frames with decent quality. There are many ways to get your gif looking fucking magical under 500KB, I promise! 

Shave off the frames in the beginning and end. If you’re lucky, you honestly won’t notice that much of a change in your gif.

To check how many KBs your gif is, go under File > Save for Web and Devices. 

Check out the number in the bottom right. 

K stands for KB. So for now my gif is over Tumblr’s limit. We’ll go over how to reduce your gif to 500KB later.



This is the funnest part. Without editing, this is my gif. 

With editing, here it is again.

It only took two minutes to do.

Your new best friend is Layer > New Adjustment Layer. Me and New Adjustment Layer are basically fuck buddies at this point.

Make sure your Adjustment Layers are on top of ALL of your other layers. The layers will only do their thing on the layers UNDER them.

I really don’t have much of a tutorial for you here. Basically, play around with it! They’re very easy to do.

The ones I use most are: 

Brightness/Contrast- You will ALWAYS ALWAYS use this one. I generally keep the brightness higher than the contrast. This layer will make your gif look amazing, and sometimes it’s all I use.

Hue/Saturation- Be stingy with the saturation. There’s nothing worse than a overly saturated gif. NEVER EVER use the hue. 

Color Adjustment- Use this instead of hue. I’ve used about +50 Cyan on the gif above. 

Levels- Honestly, just play around with all of them until you like the way it looks. I generally only mess the the middle and left sliders on input. 

Other editing stuff-

Resizing- If you have photoshop and don’t know how to resize I feel sorry for you. Image > Image size.

A tip- many tumblr blogs tend to automatically resize images to 500 pixels wide. I generally try to make my gifs this size.

Overlay/Soft Light/Hard light/ect- Another best friend. Add a new layer ABOVE your adjustment layers and add a nice shade of orange (or any color really. A nice orange overlay looks good on almost every gif). Set it to Overlay, Soft light, hard light, ect (whatever looks best) and set to your desired opacity. I’ve used this on the gif above. Make it subtle.  

Once you’ve gotten the hang of editing a gif, it’ll come naturally and will only take a minute or so. It’ll quickly become your favorite part. 



Alright, here it goes. Saving the gif. Go back to ‘Save for web and devices’ Keep an eye on the KB on the bottom. 

To get the gif to fit, you must lower the colors and dithering on the side. 

As a general rule, don’t go under 60 colors and don’t go under 70 percent dithering. The gif above is saved at 123 colors and 93 percent dither.

Dithering is VERY important. As you change the dithering and colors, you will definitely notice the gif becomes less and less quality as you lessen the dither. Try to cut back on colors before you lower the dithering.  

Not to say colors aren’t important either. Try to find a balance between the dithering and colors while keeping under 500KBs. If you cannot keep your gif looking good under the limit, go back and shave off a few frames, resize or freeze a part of the gif (more on that next) 

Once you’ve managed to squeeze that damn thing into 500KBs and you are satisfied, save it.


Unless you want to learn how to freeze gifs. Then you’re still not done. Bummer.



This skill is pretty much impossible to find a tutorial on. I had to learn on my own, and I think this is the way other gif makers do it. I may be wrong, but it sure works for me!

First of all, ONLY freeze a gif when you can get away with it. Make sure there’s little to no movement in the background.

In my example gif, I would never freeze the background. There’s too many people and it’d look horrid. However for this tutorial, I will. Mostly just because I am one lazy mother fucker. 

Many people think gif makers freeze gifs for no reason. Not true! Freezing parts of a gif can reduce the size of a gif drastically. It’s a life saver.

To do this, make sure you have both the bottom layer (This will be the only layer apart from your editing layers visible) and first frame selected. Then whip out your rectangle marquee tool (with a feather of about 3 px. You can change the feathering on top right) and select the part of the background you want. MAKE SURE you’re on the bottom layer.


Here comes the difficult to explain part.

Get out your eraser tool, and select frame two. Then select the second layer from the bottom. (It’ll have the eye next to the layer)

Erase over the image, and it will only erase the part you’ve selected.

It should now look like this

Go through and do this will every layer. Move one to the left on every frame, and move one up on every layer.

Once you’re done, deselect the marquee and go back through every frame and make the bottom layer (the only layer without an erased part) visible. 

Your gif will now look something like this. (only more subtle and less gross)

I forgot to feather the marquee, but blahh it’s fine. Make sure you feather your marquee though.

Notice how the right side it frozen? I saved about 150KB JUST by freezing that one side. Cool, huh? 

ANNND this tutorial is over!

I hope I helped some of you out! Have fun making your gifs! Don’t forget to follow HPgifsforyourlife for more Harry Potter gifs.


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