Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

Let's Make Some Gifs!!

by Lena Groeger

This tutorial will teach you how to:

  1. Make a multiple-photo or series gif in Photoshop.
  2. Make a video or screensharing gif using Photoshop & Quicktime.
  3. Make a gif from the command line
  4. Other resources

Animated Gifs: Multiple Photo Animation

  1. Let's say you want to do more than animate between 2 photos, you want to show a progression of many photos, like this example from the Wall Street Journal.

  2. Let's try it! Download this folder and open one of the images from the Ukraine folder in Photoshop.

  3. Drag and drop your other images onto the stage. This will bring them into your file as separate layers.

  4. Select Window > Timeline from the toolbar to open up a new panel in Photoshop.

  5. From the Timeline panel, click on "Create Frame Animation".

  6. From the dropdown in the upper right of the Timeline window, select "Make Frames from Layers"

  7. Make sure your frames are in the correct sequence, then set the duration for which you'd like each to display, and the number of times you'd like the animation to loop (Forever, obvs!).

  8. Select File > Save for Web

  9. Select Gif as your save format.

  10. Save and you're done. 🎉

Animated Gifs: Video Animation

  1. Sometimes you want to convert a short segment of a video to a gif, whether that's a YouTube clip or a screen recording. You can do this easily with QuickTime + Photoshop. Let's try it out on this Guardian interactive on measles.

  2. Open up QuickTime, and select "New Screen Recording."

  3. A little popup box will appear, click on the Red Record button to start recording.

  4. But that doesn't actually start the recording, you have to select a viewport for your recording. Go ahead and do that. Then click "Start Recording."

  5. After some seconds, hit the very difficult to find "Stop" button at the top of your screen.

  6. Now save that movie recording to your Desktop.

  7. Open up Photoshop, select Import > Video Frames to Layers.

  8. You'll get a little slider where you can select precisely the seconds of video you want for your gif (smaller is better for loading times).

  9. You should end up with this:

  10. See all those layers? Those are all the frames of your little gif!

  11. Ok, let's save this thing. Go to File > Save for Web

  12. Make sure you have "Gif" as the format type, and that Looping Options are set to Forever. Save it!

  13. Now, open up that gif in a browser. Happy giffing!

##Animated Gifs: Command Line ##

  1. We can also use ImageMagick to create gifs from a folder of images right on the command line.

  1. We're going to take a bunch of SVG's from a project I worked on called Lost Cause, and convert a bunch of historical maps into a gif.

  1. First install ImageMagick. I use brew install ImageMagick, but take your pick.

  2. Then you can start using their command line tools.

  3. I like using the convert command for making gifs. Navigate to a folder full of images, in this case I have a folder called lost_cause_svgs on my Desktop.

  4. The command is as simple as convert *.svg lost_cause.gif, which goes through every .svg file in my folder and combines them all into a gif called lost_cause.gif.

  1. Magick! If I want to slow down the gif, I can add a delay. convert *.svg -set delay 50 lost_cause_slow.gif.

  2. Once you have your gif, you can then always bring it into Photoshop and tweak it, we ended up adding a header and using this gif for our social promotion of the graphic.

  1. That's a pretty basic usage of ImageMagick's convert, but go check out all the other options to customize your gif.

Animated Gifs: Other Resources

There may be times when Photoshop, Quicktime or the Command Line just don't do it for you. In that case, I'd check out Noah Veltman's big list of gif-making resources for alternatives. In particular, these include a bunch of ways to go directly from SVGs to GIFs.

Also check out Eleanor Lutz's amazing guide to making gifs.

And if you need more gif-inspiration, check out these two Pinterest collections:

Data Gifs, by Jeremy Singer-Vine.

Explanatory Gifs, by Noah Veltman and myself.


Make data gifs in a variety of ways






No releases published


No packages published