How to Recolor a Moving GIF
By Darrin Koltow
Recolor a moving GIF by using the coloring and layering tools of a 2-D image-manipulation program. Some programs, such as Ulead GIF Animator, are dedicated just to editing animated GIFs. If you don't need to color or perform other edits on other graphic files, such as JPEGs or BMPs, use such a program. It will have features that optimize your GIF for the Web, which means it will minimize GIF file sizes. This enables the pages hosting your GIFs to load quickly into Web browsers.
Click the "File" menu of your image-editing software, and then click the "Open" item. Navigate to and double-click the animated GIF file you want to recolor. Your program will load the file for you to edit.
Click the GIF frame or layer you want to recolor. This frame is in the "Layers" panel if you're using GIMP or Photoshop. If you're using Ulead GIF Animator, click the frame you want from the panel at the bottom of the screen, then click the same frame from the panel at the right of the screen.
Click your program's button for opening the color-selection window. On most imaging programs, this bottom looks like a colored square or swatch. In GIMP, Ulead GIF Animator and Photoshop, you'll find this square at the bottom of the "Tools" panel.
Click the color from the color palette that you want to use to color a shape in the animated GIF you loaded. For example, if you loaded an animated GIF showing a red apple and want to color the apple green, click a green color from the color-selection window. This instruction applies to GIMP, Ulead GIF Animator, Photoshop and similar painting or image-manipulation programs.
Click your program's tool for painting. For GIMP, Ulead GIF Animator, Photoshop and other apps, this tool's icon is a paintbrush, which is located on the "Tools" panel. Drag your mouse cursor over the shape you want to recolor to apply the new color you chose. If you need to erase some imagery, click your "Tools" panel's "Eraser" icon to enter erasing mode, then drag over a region to erase it.
Use the paintbrush tool to recolor the other shapes in the GIF, then select the next frame in the GIF and recolor its shapes. Save your recolored GIF by clicking the "File" menu's "Save" command, if you're using Ulead GIF Animator or GIMP. If you're using Photoshop, click the "File" menu's "Save for Web and Devices" command.
Click the "File" menu's "Open" command in your Web browser, then navigate to and double-click the animated GIF you saved. Your browser will play the animation with the new colors.
- GIMP User Manual; GIMP Documentation Team
- Photoshop CS5 Bible; Lisa Dayley and Brad Dayley
Darrin Koltow wrote about computer software until graphics programs reawakened his lifelong passion of becoming a master designer and draftsman. He has now committed to acquiring the training for a position designing characters, creatures and environments for video games, movies and other entertainment media.