Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Make a Youtube Video Into an Animated GIF - How-To Geek

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You’ve likely seen webpages and picdumps everywhere, with goofy, ridiculous, and funny animated GIFs. Here’s how you can have some fun by making your own in a matter of minutes, using your favorite Youtube videos and Photoshop.

While animated GIFs may be pretty useless, they can be funny and fun to make. See what you can do with your favorite Youtube videos and Photoshop, and a surprisingly little time.

Downloading and Converting a Youtube Video


Youtube video converters are freely available online. Find an appropriate video on Youtube and take note of the URL in your browser’s location bar.


Zamzar.com is a decent online-only tool for video conversion. Simply input your Youtube video URL, and you can have your file emailed to you. You will have to give your email and agree to Zamzar’s terms of service. If you don’t like this, there are a number of ways to download and convert Youtube videos, including conversion apps for Windows, like SUPER, or WinFF. Zamzar.com is the simplest way, however, to ensure you get your video in the correct filetype.


Navigate to the ”Download Videos” tab, and paste in your URL for your Youtube video. Make sure your video file is MOV. Other filetypes can cause problems with this process. Input your email address, and click convert. Zamzar will email you a download link for your converted file.

Importing Converted Videos into Photoshop


Open Photoshop, likely the best tool for importing video frames and exporting them as a GIF.

Edit: GIMP users rejoice! Commenters have pointed out there are animation plugins capable of doing this sort of work. Check out the Gimp Animation Plugin (GAP) tutorial, and check out the plug-in here. Keep reading to see how Photoshop tackles this problem!


For 64 bit operating system users, you will likely encounter this frustrating error if you have the 64 bit version of Photoshop CS5 installed. If you are using an older 32 bit version of Photoshop or have the current one installed on your 32 bit operating system, you’ll not encounter this frustrating problem.


In your 32 bit version of Photoshop, navigate to File > Import > Video Frames to Layers.


Open your converted file in the subsequent dialog box. If you have more than one version, remember that MOV files are one of the best to use for this import.


You should see a preview of your video. Pick “Selected Range Only” to pick selected areas of the footage you wish to use for your animation. Move the cursor on the preview video and shift+drag to pick the piece of video you want to import. Importing large videos is not recommended, and Photoshop also has an upper limit of 500 frames.

Make sure that “Make Frame Animation” is checked on, and click OK.

Creating and Editing Animation from Your Imported Video


Your file may appear as a simple Photoshop document, but check in your layers.


Every frame in your selected region has been exported to a layer, complete with animation information. Let’s check that info out next.


Navigate to Window > Animation to open the Animation panel.


This panel is a simple window, noting every frame in the movie and how long each frame delays for. Since we imported from a movie the way we did, most of the work is done for us already. If you don’t see your frames already keyed up, it is far quicker to reimport than create an animation with 100 frames.


Chances are you’ve imported far more frames than you want to use for your animation. Locate the first frame you want to use in the Animation panel, and pick the frame before it.


Navigate back to the first frame, hold down shift, and pick that first frame, selecing all the frames you wish to trim out.


Click the trash icon to delete the selected frames from the animation. Click “Yes” to proceed.


Do the same for all frames you don’t want, including those that are included after your intended final frame.


The sshot-348 will allow you to test your animation in Photoshop. It may run slowly, as Photoshop can struggle to animate video well on some computers. Don’t let this discourage you, as your GIF will run better once it is rendered and in a browser.


Navigate to File > Save for Web & Devices.


Here, you’ll get the program that will allow you to export the frames to your animated GIF. It automatically builds your color table, and does all the hard work for you of creating individual frames.

Make sure that you set your “Looping Options” to “Forever,” then click “Save” to save your image wherever you care to leave it.


Your result will be a glorious GIF movie ripped from practically any video Youtube hosts.

Have questions or comments concerning Graphics, Photos, Filetypes, or Photoshop? Send your questions to ericgoodnight@howtogeek.com, and they may be featured in a future How-To Geek Graphics article.

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