Saturday, May 17, 2014

Building an Animated GIF

How to: Build an animated GIF image using Paint Shop Pro (PSP) and Gickr.  Any good photo editor would work. 

Here are the steps used to build this animated GIF, and yes, I admit they are annoying.

Tools:
Any photo editor capable of saving GIF files. 
I used Paint Shop Pro X6 and
website:  www.gickr.com or www.picasion.com

Note: As of 2014.05.17, gickr.com was malfunctioning.  The Picasion.com site worked just as well and the site behaves identically to the other; they appear to be written by the same people.

Steps:

1.  Create a separate folder to hold the images.

2.  In the photo editor, create a blank image, no more than 300 pixels wide (450 if using the Gicker/Picasion's sites custom size).  In this example, 180x50px. 

With PSP, use top menu "Image, Canvas Size", set the width and height, in pixels.

3.  Draw the first frame and Save as a standard GIF (File, Save As)

Note: With Paintshop Pro, saving the GIF will fail with an error message.  On the SaveAs menu, choose Options, choose Version 89a, Non-Interlaced.  Then click Run Optimizer and accept all defaults.  Do this for each frame.

4.  Draw subsequent frames, doing a Save-As new name.  Up to 10 frames can be used.

In my example I pasted a larger image onto the small canvas and methodically moved it up and to the left, simulating motion.  For the effect, I added color shifting from light grey to black. 


Ideally, the last frames blends back into the first, making for a smoother loop.  I may revisit this in the future.In this example, 10 frames, at approximately 2K each, makes for a fairly-large image.  I have noted page-load speeds on this posting are slightly slower than normal.


5.  Once all frames are saved, go to www.Gickr.com  or www.picasion.com (both free sites) and assemble the final GIF; Paint Shop Pro X cannot build an animated GIF, but Corel's other product, VideoStudio can.., but there is no need for special tools with this site. 

Upload each frame, adding more pictures, as needed.  Illustrated Gickr.
Set the size to "Custom," matching the width of your original frame (e.g. 180px)
Speed "Fast" or "Faster", depending on which the site offers.

GICKR (nearly un-spellable); click image for a larger view; "X" to return

In the lower left corner, click Continue. 
It assembles the GIF, which can be then downloaded.

Of interest, Gickr can also grab video frames from YouTube, etc.

DC-3 Image: (C) BestVector IllustrationsOf.Com/209582