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Create an animated .GIF
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      Panachallenge Forum -> PanaChallenge -> Tips
 Author        Message (3 posts)
Jade O.

1070 posts
  [1 of 3]  Posted: Tue Sep 14, 2010, 07:26 (3293 days ago)

Sometimes we would like to show how we developed a photo showing the Post-Processing steps used. A series of images (step 1, step 2, step 3...) is one way to do it, but if the changes are subtle, a better way to illustrate each step is to combine the series of images into one .GIF image which then flips through each image in sequence. This is a handy way to show your work on the Challenges Forum outtakes.

Here is how to animate in .GIF using GIMP.

Suppose you have saved your series of images as a .jpg image saved in 2560x1920 pixel size taking 1.9MB of space in a desktop file folder you have labeled "Panachallenge Images". You want to reduce that .jpg image series to a more manageable file upload size.

Say you have 11 steps you want to show in a series of 11 images. 11 x 1.9MB is 20.9MB! That's a big file to upload!

Let's first reduce each of the 11 images to something that is more manageable. See the TIPS forum topic, RESIZE an entry - GIMP, for how to do that.

I'm suggesting a 400x300 size is usually sufficient though you might want to try larger. In the sample below, my 11 image .GIF is reduced to a total of only 522 kb!
A large part of that is that GIMP will reduce .GIF files to (I think) only 256 colours.

Remember, we have 11 images showing each PP step in turn stored in a desktop folder we've called "Panachallenge Images" (our desktop is what we call our visible computer screen when we turn on our computer).

First you need to search the internet and Download GIMP, a free photo editing software.
Double click your Desktop GIMP Icon to open the program.

Click <File> on menu bar.
Click <Desktop>.
Click <Open> on the drop down File menu. An "Open Image" box should appear.
Click <Panachallenge Images> folder.
Find your .jpg image on the list and Double Click Image to be edited. Your image should now appear.

Now edit that image to resize it to 400x300 and save as a .jpeg file (see TIPS forum - RESIZE an Entry - GIMP, for how to do that.) Don't forget to save each of your 11 downsized images in turn as a .jpg file with a different name so you don't overwrite the original. I usually just add "sm" to the file name for "small". You may want to number your images so you know the order of your images in the sequence you want to display (sm1, sm2, sm3, etc. to sm11) when you compile your .GIF animation.

With 11 images named sm1 to sm11 now saved as .jpg images in 400x300 size you are ready to create your animated .GIF.

Step 1.

Click <File> on menu bar.
Click <Open> on the drop down File menu. An "Open Image" box should appear.
Click <Desktop>.
Click <Panachallenge Images> folder.

Find your .jpg image, "sm1" on the list and Double Click Image on "sm1". Your image "sm1" should now appear.

Step 2

Click <File> on menu bar.
Click <Open as Layers> on the drop down File menu. Your same "Open Image" box should appear again.
Find your second in the sequence .jpg image, "sm2", on the list and Double Click on "sm2". Your image "sm2" should now appear on top of your image "sm1".
(If it didn't, you probably chose <Open> instead of <Open as Layers> on the drop down File menu. Try it again and read carefully!)
Now we want to check we have the images in Layers, the powerful GIMP processing tool. To open the Layers menu (box called Layers) it helps to know where on your image menu drop down list it is located on your version of GIMP.
Different versions of GIMP have the Layers menu (also called the Layers Dialogue) in different places. However CTRL + L should work with any version of GIMP.
Press the <CTRL> key on your keyboard and while holding that down with one finger, press the <L> key with another finger.
A new box (Menu) should appear called Layers. Inside that box you should see two small images "sm1" and "sm2".

Step 3

Repeat step 2 until you have loaded all 11 images as Layers from "sm1" to "sm11". Your Layers Menu should have 11 images in it in sequence with "sm1" at the bottom to "sm11" on the top of the list of images which appear inside the Layers menu.

Step 4

Click <Filters> on the Image Menu
Move your mouse pointer down the drop down menu until you get to <Animation> near the bottom of the drop down menu. Hold your mouse pointer on <Animation> but don't click and another drop down menu should pop out of the side of <Animation>.
Move your mouse pointer again onto <Playback> and Click.
A new box called Playback Menu should appear.
On the top of the Playback menu Click <Play> and you'll see your animation in warp speed! Now we have to slow it down.

Step 5
Click on your Layers menu.
Double Click on the image in the Layers menu called "sm1"
A new menu should open called Layer Attributes with the name "sm1" in the box.
(Note if you don't double click on the mini-image in the Layers menu you won't open the Layer Attributes menu.)
You want to change the name to add the number of milliseconds that image will be displayed before the .GIF animation moves on to the next image. Try 1000 milliseconds to start - that's one second.
Type "sm1 (1000 ms)" and Click <OK>. The Layer Attributes box should disappear and your Layers Menu should show you have renamed your first image "sm1 (1000 ms)".
Repeat Step 5 for each image in your sequence. Note you can change the time any one image in your sequence is displayed, for 2.5 seconds, use (2500 ms), etc.

Step 6

With the Layers menu showing all your images in sequence, with the appropriate number of milliseconds each image is to display, you are ready to save your file as a .GIF animation.

Click <File> on the image menu bar again.
Click <Save As> on the drop down File menu. A "Save Image" box should appear.
Click on the name of the file at the top of the Save Image box, in this example, "sm1.jpg", and change the name of the file to "sm1.gif".
Click <Save> on the bottom of the "Save Image" box.
A new box should appear called, "Export File".
In the "Export File" menu click on the button that says "Save as Animation" and leave the button already clicked which says "Convert to Indexed".
Click <Export>. A "Save as GIF" box should appear.
DO NOT check off interlace, leave GIF comment checked or unchecked, and check off <Loop forever> and leave "I don't care".
Click <Save> on the "Save as GIF" box and you're done!

Before closing out of GIMP, open your GIF image in whatever Image Viewer program you use and see how it plays. Adjust the timing of each image to suit.


1713 posts
  [2 of 3]  Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010, 08:03 (3292 days ago)

Thanks Jade. I'm going to print that out and give it a go.

Jade O.

1070 posts
  [3 of 3]  Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010, 09:53 (3292 days ago)

I should add that not every image viewer can play an animated .gif file.
If your play animation button works within GIMP (see Step 4), then your animation is probably working!
I use my friend's on-line Photobucket album to upload my images to Panachallenge forum.
You can create a Photobucket account for free (search "Photobucket" on the net). A properly created and uploaded .gif animation will play automatically in a Photobucket album when you view the album photos.

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