How to make a custom GIF in Photoshop to share in texts and on social media

Daniel Constante/ShutterstockYou can make a GIF in Photoshop using a few images.


When words are not enough, GIFs are a perfect way to convey big emotions, like outrage, shock, and joy.

But have you ever felt limited by the selection available? Perhaps you have a series of photos that would look spectacular as a GIF, if only you knew how to make one. Or perhaps you want to elevate the content you post on social media with sleek, artistic-looking animations.

While GIF-making may look like a difficult feat, if you follow these steps in Adobe Photoshop CC 2020, you’ll be well on your way to cranking out custom GIFs in minutes.

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How to make a GIF in Photoshop

You’ll just need a batch of images to start. Using a tripod is great if you want to stage a stop-motion style animation, or you can use grab frames from a video to capture movement.

Once you have your images ready, grab your PC or Mac computer and open Adobe Photoshop CC 2020.

1. Go to “Window,” a tab on the main task bar, and select 
”Timeline.” When selected, a checkmark will appear on the left.


2. Then click “File,” from the same upper task bar, and scroll down to “Scripts.”

3. Select “Load Files into Stack…”

4. In the new window that has popped up, titled “Load Layers,” click “Browse…”

How to make a GIF in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderDon’t sweat the order your files are uploaded in. You can change that later.

5. Select the images – again, there should be several – that you’d like to use to create your animated GIF. Hold the “shift” key to select multiple images. Then click “Open.”

6. If you didn’t have a tripod handy when staging your GIFable shots, tap “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images” before exiting “Load Layers” by clicking “OK.”


7.Photoshop will begin the process of creating a Layer for each image that you uploaded. You can find them in the Layers panel in the bottom right corner.

How to make a GIF in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderMake sure you’ve selected ‘Timeline’ under ‘Window,’ per the first step, or you won’t be able to access the panel needed.

8. The next step is adding the newly-created Layers into the “Timeline” panel, at the bottom. Start by clicking “Create Frame Animation,” located in the centre of the Timeline panel. One of your frames will appear inside the panel.

9. Next, you’ll expand what is called the Timeline panel’s “flyout menu.” The menu is four horizontal lines, and you’ll find it in the top right of the panel. Click the menu, and select “Make Frames From Layers.” All the layers you uploaded will now appear inside the Timeline panel.

How to make a GIF in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderYou just need one image — it doesn’t matter which one — to appear in the Timeline in order to make frames for all of the layers.

10. Make sure the frames – formerly referred to as “layers” – are in the order you want them to be in when the GIF is played. Simply drag and drop the icons in your preferred order.

11. When you’re happy with the order of the frames, select all the frames by holding the shift key and tapping the first and the last of the frames.

12. With all the frames now highlighted, go to any frame and click on the v-shaped symbol at the bottom. You will see “0 sec.” to its left. Select 0.1 seconds from the menu. If you want a longer pause on each frame of your GIF as it plays, select an amount greater than 0.1 seconds.

How to make a GIF in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderI prefer a GIF with a short lag time between frames, so opted for 0.1 seconds, the fastest available.

13. You can set the looping cycle of the GIF to “Forever,” or limit the animation to play a certain number of times. You’ll see these options just below the frames in the bottom toolbar.

14. Your GIF is now ready to preview. The words “Plays animation” will pop up when you toggle the cursor over the play button in the bottom toolbar.

15. Once you’re happy with how your GIF looks, save it. Click “File” in the top menu bar, “Export” from the pop-up menu, and then “Save for Web (Legacy).”

16. Resize if needed then click “Save…” and name your GIF. Tap “Save” again.


How to make a GIF in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderWhile they are fairly efficient, GIFs take up significantly more space once created, not just because they’re multiple images, but because the render of the animation adds heaps of data.

You may need to resize your GIF – a maximum of 500 pixels for the height and width is a good ballpark range – in order to make it compatible across different platforms.

A GIF that’s too big will be condemned to stay on your computer’s harddrive, rather than in your texts and on social media, where GIFs belong.

How to make a GIF in PhotoshopPlay GIFEmma Witman/Business InsiderA short animation. The oft-whimsical look of house plants endeared me to the idea of putting them in an animated GIF format.

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