From email newsletters to social media posts, GIFs can be a powerful way to enhance and bring emotion to your content. Here’s how to create an animated GIF in Photoshop.

There’s a famous saying: An image is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then depending on how many frames are in your animation, a GIF can be worth several thousand words. Somewhere between a still image and a video, the GIF hybrid file type allows you to create short image animations.

The survival of the GIF image file format is very admirable. Primarily used for ugly MySpace pages and annoying animated banner ads, animated GIFs were very popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Back then, the GIF was not a respected file type. It was a symbol of bad design and many people predicted, and even hoped, that technologies like Adobe Flash and HTML5 would kill the GIF once and for all.

Not only has this older file format survived, but it’s thrived. Animated GIFs are an excellent way to capture an online audience’s attention and bring an extra element of excitement to your content.

Creating Animated GIFs Using Adobe Photoshop Or A Photoshop Alternative

There are plenty of websites and apps that can help you make animated GIFs. Some of my favorites include GIF Brewery (Mac) and GIPHY. Many of these services will even allow you to upload a video clip and convert it into a GIF. If you aren’t familiar with Adobe Photoshop, then you should try using one of those services.

Learning Photoshop isn’t easy, but if you know your way around Adobe Photoshop and need to make an animated GIF, then this tutorial is for you. This tutorial was made using the Adobe Photoshop 2020 version of Creative Cloud. If you have a different version of Photoshop, don’t worry. The basic steps of how to create an animated GIF in Photoshop will be similar in other versions of the application.

1Build Your Layered Image In Photoshop

2Open The Timeline Window

Once your file is ready to animate, open the Timeline window. The Timeline feature in Photoshop enables you to turn layers on and off over a period of time transforming your static image into an animated GIF.

  • Window > Timeline

3Create Frame Animation

4Create A New Frame For Each Frame In Your GIF Animation

5Adjust Frame Delay Durations

6Do You Want A Looping GIF?

7Press Play And Preview Your Animated GIF

8Save Your Animated GIF Photoshop Project

If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to save your animated GIF Photoshop project. You can save your raw file as either a PSD or layered TIF file. Both of these file types will save your frame animation data.

  • File > Save

9Export Your Animated GIF

10Adjust Your GIF File Export Options

11Save Your GIF Animation