Sunday, April 14, 2013

GIFS in GIMP; how to

Oh, yes. Im intentionally targeting the search motors by using very simple language in the title. Clever. When people want to learn how to make Gifs, they dont google for "GREAT MANUAL OF GIFBOOKING" or, god, "GIMP user manual", or something awkward like that, no, people use searchwords like "How to", or TUTORIAL (Im intentionally writing this word here, just for you, google!), along with whatever they're trying to achieve. Hopefully, the happy googlers will be trafficked right here, to my little blog.

I noticed my RAW vs JPEG entry, an old one, way in the dark part of the blog, is one of my most read ones, and I guess that can be attributed to its title, which is so... Plain. It's something one might write into google search, yahoo, bing or whatevers.



TO THE JUICY PART (Also the part that is totally not interesting for any of my regular readers, dis for de googlers...)

Someone recently asked me how I go on about making all these GIF animations. Well, this one is for you. I use Gimp. This how-to requires you to have some prior knowledge of how Gimp looks and functions. It's similar to Photoshop in many ways, but it's free and stuff. I like it.

Anyway, the first thing you need to do is open Gimp, and when making a GIF, the smart thing to do is to go to File -> Open as Layers. Here, you select ALL the e.g. JPG's or PNG's you want in your animation, and press the red button (It's not actually red, but red buttons are much more dramatic.).

Alternatively, you would create all the layers separately. If thats the case, then just make the layers as you would make layers in a regular XCF file. Make sure all the layers are at 100% alpha all through, so no funky stuff happens. Generally, though, one uses premade pictures in GIFs, or atleast I do.

Now you have all your separate images as imported layers. The order goes as follows; The bottom-most layer, is the first layer that will appear in the animation. Thus, the topmost layer is the last. This is the order.

After having sequenced all the layers correctly, theres something else we need to do. We need to figure out the timings. How it works, is, every layer has a number in milliseconds, for which it will show, before the GIF  moves on to the next picture. This number is specified by adding a suffix of e.g. (100ms) to the layer name. If no number is specified, then a general value which you enter when saving the GIF will be used instead

So. Example.

These are my layers. I deducted that 250ms standard erh... showtime... would be suitable. As I wanted the first layer of the gif, ("FIRST(500ms)") to be longer than the rest, I gave it a 500ms suffix. I could also have duplicated the layer, in essence, making it be treated as 2 separate, but equal layers, to double the time which it will be showed in the animation. This, however, makes the file bigger. A (500ms) suffix doesnt.

Similarly, I also changed the timings for the blank layers.

The layers were created by just making a white layer, with a text layer over it. I merged those, then I hid the layer completely, and went on to the next frame. Simple stuff.

To see it in action before you save your gif, you can go to Filters -> Animation -> Playback. Its intuitive enough, I have faith in your figuring it out. (<- not a grammar mistake, just poetic license. Dont harp.)

And there it is. Beautiful. To save it, you go to File -> Export, and then, as a filename, enter filenamehere.gif. Hit export. This triggers a dialog. First, you may be told the picture has to be cropped. Press ok. Then, another window is sure to pop up. Fill in whatever you must, mark the "Save as Animation" box, make it "Loop forever", too. You'll also be prompted to write in a number in ms, as I wrote earlier. If you dont know what number is good, just go with something, and go view the result, then simply overwrite it with another, more appropriate value.

Gifs! You now know how I make them! It's probably not the most comfortable way to do it, but it gives me enough invoice into the process to satisfy my megalomanic needs for control.

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