Author’s note: This tutorial covers the basic steps I take to create and enhance my small gifs for tumblr to use in gif sets. I’m sure that there are plenty of other tutorials teaching you how to do this, and the settings will vary depending on the selected gifs. Regardless, the general steps still remain the same. I hope this helps!
1. Open Photoshop. Upload the selected gif frames through ‘File > Import > Video Frames to Layers’. Once you select your film/video, select the range to import into Photoshop though clicking ‘Selected Range Only’ and dragging the two black arrows to where you want the gif to start and stop. Click OK once you are happy. Now, since the selected range is not always accurate, feel free to delete frames through clicking once (or + holding shift for multi-select) and clicking the rubbish bin icon in the bottom left hand corner of the timeline.
2. Now that all of the frames are uploaded, it’s time to resize your gif. If you do not know the exact size you are after, find an existing gif set/template that you like and copy the image. Then, in photoshop, select ‘File > New’ to see the exact measurements of that copied image.
Now that you know what size you need, go back to your gif and select the rectangular marquee tool (x). In the options bar (above) change the ‘style’ from Normal to ‘Fixed Ratio’ and enter the same width and height of the copied image earlier. Now, when you use the rectangular marquee tool, it will be constrained to the exact size that you need. Once you are happy, crop the image through ‘Image > Crop’.
3. Whilst the imaged is cropped how we want it, it is far too big of a file to upload onto tumblr. So, now we have to resize the image. Go to Image > Image Size and enter the same measurements as you did for the fixed ratio. Once your image is resized, select the first frame in the timeline and the very top layer to prepare for the next step.
4. It’s time to get into colouring our gif through adjustment layers. The reason why we selected the first frame with the top layer is so this colouring effects all of the frames from the beginning whilst also covering all of the layers (very top and visible on all).
The first layer we are going to add is vibrance. To add vibrance, go to the menu bar and select ‘Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance’. When the box comes up, select vibrance (the upside down triangle) and drag it up to 50-75 (depending on the original dullness of your gif). The next layer we are going to add is curves. Go back to the layer > new adjustment layer in the menu bar and select ‘curves’. Click in the middle of the line and drag the curve slightly upwards (see gif below).
5. The next two layers are going to enhance the subject’s skin tone/appearance (by enhancing reds and yellows within the gif). Go to New Adjustment Layer > Selective Colour and change the settings according to what best suits your gif, if the subject is the main focus, I highly suggest you lower the magenta and increase the yellow and black in the gif. The next adjustment layer is Colour Balance. Once again, the settings vary from gif to gif, but most gifs will look better with either increased cyan or red.
6. Time for the last (and probably the most important layer), brightness and contrast. It’s important that you do this one last as it has the biggest impact on the gifs appearance. So go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast to add a new layer. Bring the brightness up high enough so you can clearly see the subject without it looking too bright. Bring the contrast to about half that amount for a regular gif or more for a dramatic effect.
Now that all of the layers have been made, select them all by holding down the shift key. In the top right hand corner of the layers tab, press this button and select ‘New Group from Layers’. Name the group and now all of your layers are in one psd to add to the other gifs in the set.
7. To further enhance the gif, we are now going to sharpen all of the layers. Please note that these steps vary from cs to cs. The way I am about to show you works for CS6 and CC.
Select all of the frames in the timeline and select only the bottom layer in the layers tab. Then, Click on this button in the top right hand corner of the timeline bar and select ‘Convert to Video Timeline’.
8. Now, without clicking on any of the video timelines, go to ‘Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen’ and adjust the sharpness of the gif accordingly. Make sure you have preview selected so you can see what it will look like and also have ‘Remove Lens Blur’ selected. As for the levels of sharpening, it varies from gif to gif, but I suggest a minimum amount of 50% to a maximum of 125%. Now save the gif progress by going to ‘File > Save for Web’. Saving the gif with particular settings is really important to ensure high quality. Refer to the specific details below.
IMPORTANT SAVE FOR WEB SETTINGS
9. Nearly done! In order of the gif to be suitable to tumblr, we’ll need to re-open the gif and fix up a few little things that changed due to the video timeline earlier. So, reopen the gif you just saved in Photoshop. Select all of the frames and adjust the delay speed to whatever you want (I changed mine to 0.03). Also change the repetition settings from ‘Once’ to ‘Forever’. Now save for web again with the exact same settings as before.
Ta da! Please like or reblog if you found this helpful :)