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How to Create a GIF from a Video using Photoshop CC

Have you ever wondered how the long gifs you see on sites like Imgur are created? Often times, creators will shoot videos, convert everything to an animated GIF, and then overlay text to make it interesting.

This post won’t teach you how to create these fancy GIFs from start to finish, but it will teach you how to shoot a video and at least convert it to an animated GIF. I’ll write another post on how you can add text and graphics to your GIF.

In this tutorial, I’ll be using Photoshop CC because it allows you to have better control over the final product in terms of size, quality, borders, and more.

Convert the video before import

Before you start, you may need to convert your video to a file format that Adobe Photoshop will support. For example, I took a video from my iPhone and downloaded it to my computer. Then I tried to import the video into Photoshop, but I got the following error:

The From Video Frames To Layers command failed because there are no video frames in the file.

The video was a MOV file, but the codec that Apple uses is not supported in Photoshop. To fix this problem, you need to download a program like HandBrake to convert your video.

HandBrake is very easy to use. Just click File – Select Source and select a video file. At this point, all you really need to do is click the “Start Coding” button. By default, it will use the Fast 1080p30 preset you see in the list on the right. They have a lot of presets, so pick the one that works for you. Note that you can later downsize the GIF in Photoshop so you don’t have to do this in HandBrake

After converting to MP4 file using H.264 video codec, we can import it into Photoshop.

Import video and create GIF in Photoshop

Open Photoshop CC and click File, then Import, and then Video Frames To Layers.

Select a video file and click Open. A dialog box will open with a small video preview and a couple of options.

Now, if you want the entire video to be an animated GIF, leave the switch in the Start to End position. If you only want a portion, choose Selected Range Only, and then use the crop controls below the video to select a range.

In addition, to reduce the size of the final GIF as much as possible, you can also limit the number of frames. For example, if you check this box and leave it at 2 frames, that means Photoshop will remove all other frames from the video.

Finally, you need to make sure the Make Frame Animation checkbox is checked. Click OK and your video should be imported into Photoshop as a set of frames. If the program crashes, you may need to lower the video quality even further before trying to import.

Now all we need to do is save the frames as an animated GIF. To do this in Photoshop CC, you need to click File – Export – Save For Web (Legacy). Please note that before saving as GIF, you can edit and delete frames as you see fit.

There are several options in this dialog box that you’ll have to play with. Most of these will affect the GIF quality, which you can see in the preview area on the left. The right panel is where you will make most of the settings.

At the top, you will see a dropdown box titled Preset. You can click on it and select one of the presets or customize the values ??yourself. Selecting one of the presets will lower the GIF quality, but also reduce its size. Make sure GIF is selected from the drop-down list under the Set heading.

At the bottom of the Image Size section, you can adjust the final output resolution for your GIF. So if your video was 1920 × 1080 or 4K, you probably want to scale it down significantly here. In the Animation section, you can choose Forever, Once, or Custom for the looping options. By default, the GIF will loop continuously. You can use the controls at the bottom to play the GIF and see how it looks.

Click “Save” and choose a location to save the GIF. That’s all. Photoshop makes it easy to create animated GIFs from videos and lets you adjust the settings to get the look you want. Also read my posts on how to create animated GIFs from images using Photoshop. Enjoy!

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