|This REALLY needs to be updated!|
The first step to creating your GIF is to think about the different layers or "slides" you want to have in it. I've narrowed the different styles down to three options:
1. Animation style
These are the stop-motion GIFs that are more commonly seen. Here's an example of one I made of my sister:
|This isn't the smoothest GIF, but you get the idea.|
|Images used in the GIF above.|
This GIF was made up of aprox. twenty pictures that I took one after the other as she walked across. You don't necessarily need as many pictures as I used, especially if you're just doing a simple hand-waving animation; that might only require two or three pictures. If your camera doesn't shoot in rapid bursts, you can just have you subject move very slowly or pause the action while the camera gets set up for another shot. To get a smoother animation try to keep the framing the same. I moved my camera to follow my sister in my GIF above which is why it looks a bit choppy.
This type of GIF is fairly easy to make, since it doesn't require any post-production work. You just have to plan out the photos when you're taking them with your camera.
2. Slideshow style
This style is essentially a speed-up, automatic slideshow. Here's an example of one I made for a book haul last year:
|Images used in the GIF above.|
This method is perfect if you have a lot of pictures to share and don't want to clog up your post with them. I tend to lean towards this type of GIF if I don't want each individual picture to be studied. When making this type of GIF you need to make sure that all your photo dimensions are the same (e.g. all shot landscape or portrait style). I also like to have similar looking photos, but you can experiment with what photos look good together.
Again, this is a super easy method of GIF making since you only have to pick the pictures then upload them to the GIF making software.
3. Single Picture Development Style
I know that name is a mouthful, but I was struggling to come up with something, tehe.This is the most involved way of making a GIF, but has some very neat results. It's perfect for banners. The basic idea is that you have one picture as your base and then in each layer you add text or graphics. Here's a example of one that I made for a blog series I do with my sister:
|Images used in the GIF above (but in reverse order).|
I used picmonkey.com to edit these pictures. I recommend creating a rough draft of what you want the final "slide" to look like, so you can make sure all the pieces will fit properly.
First, start with your base picture and add the first word. Save the picture, duplicate it and open the duplicated file and add the next word; keep doing this until you have everything you want in your final picture. It's important that you make sure to use the duplicate file to add the next word, so that everything stays lined up and gives the illusion that you're just adding another word and not an entirely new "slide".
Assembling your GIF:
Now you know how to structure a GIF, you have to make it into an actual GIF. There's lots of different websites that will do this, but I had the best luck with gifmaker.me. It was user-friendly and didn't require me to make an account. You can use the sliders to change the speed of the animation and the size of the file. Experiment with different speeds until you find what works best for your GIF. Fair warning, the GIF downloads with a funky name, but you can easily change that.
Here's a graphic that explains how to use this website:
Let me know in the comments what your experience is with GIF making and GIFs in general. I'm really curious to know if people like them or hate them. Feel free to let loose about all the GIF related topics!
Reading: The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Listening: Grammy nominees from 2013 and 2014
Watching: Person of Interest
Previously on A Splash of Photography: My Grandmother's Floral