GIF Photo Animation Tutorial

If a picture says more than 1,000 words, how much does a photo animation have to tell? Especially in the age of digitalization, when almost every picture material – whether photo or video – is available digitally and is post-processed on the computer, animated photos or short video clips are moving more and more into focus – and not only for elaborate web presences.

Every computer and Internet user can access image programs that make photo animation suitable for the masses. A gif animation, no matter if drawn comic, noble cinemagraph or DSLR photo gallery for a presentation can be created and exported comparatively fast in a few simple steps which can also be seen in Animation studio in Singapore.


But first an excursion into photo animation. What is photo animation and what can you do with animated photos? By definition, a photo animation is an image technique in which several individual images are combined to form an entire moving image.

The original material can be drawn, generated on the computer or even photographed. Put more simply, a gif animation is a kind of digital flip-book that ideally plays with 24 images (also frames) per second and thus suggests a fluid movement.


So where is the significant difference between photo animation and video material? Both consist of single images, which are assembled and reproduced according to certain guidelines, which are partly determined by our eyes and the processing ability of our brain.

The distinguishing feature of a modern photo animation, however, is that it usually contains only a few seconds of material and usually repeats itself in an endless loop.

Moreover, unlike a video, it is of course not set to music. A special technique is the cinemagraph, which can basically be seen as the intersection between video and gif photo animation.


As already mentioned, basically anyone can create their own animation, assuming the necessary photography or drawing technique and the animation program. Since photo animation is a digital gif file, the most important distribution channel is of course the computer and the Internet. There are accordingly many areas and application areas for gif animation.

Advertising banners and eye-catchers
Digital Art
Caricature and photo manipulation
Resource-saving medium for the presentation of information


A photo animation is based on the right animation software. In addition to dedicated gif software, which is explicitly designed for animated photos (e.g. Ulead GIF Animator), most users use an image editing program to create their own animation.


Adobe Photoshop is the measure of all things and in most cases the reference product, especially in the field of hobby photography and image editing on the computer. The same of course applies to the photo animation to a gif file. In this short tutorial we explain how to create a simple gif animation in Photoshop.


The first step, as in Photoshop in general, is to create a new layer. On this layer the first frame of the final photo animation can be integrated. Whether the content is a photo or just text depends entirely on the user.

This first layer is now duplicated and filled with the content of the next frame. This step is repeated until all frames have been created and filled. Finally, all layers except the first are deactivated.

Tip: If you want to edit video material for a photo animation, you can select during import that each frame is created as a single layer.


After creating a separate layer for each frame, activate the animation window under Window > Animations. Here you can create a continuous photo animation from individual layers.

In the animation window for the gif animation the first frame is already integrated. A new frame can now be added in the menu in the upper right corner. The new frame is selected and the second layer is activated in the layers palette.

This step is repeated until all layers have their own frame in the gif animation window. Below the individual frames you can see an indication of the time interval, which can be adjusted. The shorter the interval, the faster and smoother the final photo animation will look.


A second method to create a photo animation in gif format is called tweening. The special thing about this function is that only the first and the last frame are integrated. The intermediate frames are generated by the animation software itself. Alternatively, the technique can also be used to make transitions between frames more fluid.

You insert both layers as a frame into the animation window and mark the second frame. By clicking on the Tweening button in the next window you can define how many frames should be generated. This way you can create a smooth photo animation from only two layers.


The last step if you want to create your own animation is to save and export it. Select “gif” as the file type and then specify whether the finished file should be played in an endless loop or just a few times.

To open the gif animation you can either drag it into an empty browser window or open it with a right click in the browser.

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