How to Make a GIF

by eHow Contributor

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). An animated gif is an image made with multiple bitmap images, which are shown in a rapid sequence, making it appear as if the image is animated. It's kind of like those old cartoon flip books.

Making a gif is really easy, and you don't need to purchase any software. You can create an animated gif easily by using GIMP, a freeware image editor with all the functionality of Photoshop.

Download and install Gimp. You can get it at http://www.gimp.org . GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It's free software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. In addition to language support, it works on many operating systems and platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Unix.

Create your images. You need images that may be displayed in 256 color format, or else you can expect some distortion, since your images in a GIF will be converted to 256 colors. GIMP supports a variety of image formats, but for best results when making a GIF, use bitmaps. You need enough images to create a good animation. The best effect is achieved if you make subtle changes to each image, giving the effect of natural movement. Your images should all be the same size and resolution. You may also optimize your image in gimp, as shown in the illustration.

Open the first image. Select FILE > OPEN and select the first image in your GIF.

Layer the other images. You need to add subsequent images as layers. To do this, select FILE > OPEN AS LAYERS. Select the images you wish to add.

Proceed until you've added all the images needed as layers. The number of layers in your image will be shown on the top.

Save as a gif Select FILE > SAVE AS. Type in the name of the file + .gif. Ex. Fairy.gif

Select animation and convert. A prompt will appear, asking you to make a few choices about your image. For an animated color gif, choose "save as animation" and "covert to indexed using default settings." Click EXPORT.

Save as a gif. Lastly, you will be shown another prompt. You can enter a comment in the "gif comment field" if you prefer. You can also decide if you want the image to loop (repeat itself) or not by clicking the "loop forver" box. You can also adjust the millisecond delay between frames (default is 100, but this can be adjusted lower to make the animation faster, or higher to make the animation slower). When finished, click SAVE.

You're done. That's it! Now click the image to view the nearly created gif.

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