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13.6 How to Make a GIF in After Effects

Everyone loves a good GIF, right? In this lesson, you'll learn how to make a GIF in After Effects!

Related Links

1 lesson, 00:49


2.Getting Started
5 lessons, 42:55

What Is After Effects?

Main Panels


After Effects Tools

More AE Tools

3.Compositions and Layers
3 lessons, 26:35

After Effects Composition


After Effects Layer Properties

3 lessons, 25:21

After Effects Keyframe Basics

After Effects Keyframe Easing

Spatial Interpolation

5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text
5 lessons, 45:36

Learn How to Mask in After Effects

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 1

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 2

Text in After Effects

Text Animation and More

2 lessons, 13:42

What Is 2.5D?

More 2.5D

7.Motion Tracking
4 lessons, 34:04

Motion Tracking, Camera Tracking, and 3D Text

More Motion Tracking

Camera Tracking in After Effects

3D Text in After Effects

8.Mattes and Cool Effects
4 lessons, 43:43




Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

9.Build a Lower Third
2 lessons, 21:35

How to Make a Lower Third in After Effects

Final Touches on the Lower Third

1 lesson, 09:11

Exporting From After Effects

1 lesson, 01:16


12.Bonus Lessons
4 lessons, 2:14:00

How to Make an After Effects Text Animation

How to Use After Effects Intro Templates

How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

13.Frequently Asked Questions
8 lessons, 1:34:42

FAQ Introduction

How to Export Video From After Effects

How to Export Video From After Effects Using PreRendering

How to Mask in After Effects

How to Animate Text in After Effects

How to Make a GIF in After Effects

How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

FAQ Conclusion

13.6 How to Make a GIF in After Effects

[MUSIC] In this lesson, you are going to learn how to make an animated GIF right inside of After Effects. [MUSIC] So right out of the gate, let's just get one thing off the list. I say GIF, you might say GIF. Who's right, who's to say? There are two accepted pronunciations of GIF. I say GIF because GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. And I don't pronounce graphics, jraphics. I think a jraphic is maybe an animal or something. Anyway, doesn't matter. You can pronounce it however you like. Let's talk about how to create one in After Effects. I think the first thing and maybe the most important thing is we have to have something hilarious to create a GIF of. And so what I've done here is I've downloaded a video from Envato elements, and this is a girl who's dancing. I think the video says, girl dances funny or something. I've cut it up in such a way to create a short little clip here where she does some funny moves. Boom, and gives us a little bit of smirk at the end. It seems like Internet gold. I mean, if you're gonna put money on something becoming the next big thing. Nah, I'd say this is probably not it. But let's look at the steps that I used to create a GIF. To key this footage, and this is pretty easy to key because you can see the background is pretty bright. Bonus tip here, when you are keying things, the things that key the best are things that have a very bright uniform background. When you're shooting for green screen, you should probably be shooting for about a 70% or so luminescence in the green and making sure that it's very even. And to find out why a green screen isn't keying properly, you can always pull up lumetri scopes by going to Window and then Lumetri Scopes. And if I change the waveform type to Luma, you can see that this green screen is pretty much dead on at 70%. If it's lower than this, it doesn't key as easy. If it's not as green, it doesn't key as easy. But that's just a little aside. Let's get back to it. To key this, I just put an adjustment layer above all of these clips. And on the adjustment layer, I put some color keys to get rid of most of the green. In fact I'll show you how this looks here. Color key, color key, color key, simple choker, key light set to intermediate results. And I basically didn't touch anything other than pushing the screen again up to 110. Then key cleaner, and this will hopefully plug any holes which are impossible to see right now that'll hopefully clean up any holes. I just left that on the default, it takes care of some of the chattering here. If this is a chattering, you can set it to reduce chatter, and then advanced spill suppressor. That's pretty much it. Now I put this comp inside of another comp, girl on white, where I just put a white background on it. So this is what I'm gonna use here to create my GIF. Now, if I wanted to create a GIF right from here, I could. Looking at the comp settings here by hitting CTRL+K, you can see that this is standard HD 1080p, or 1920 by 1080. 29.97 frames per second, 30p, and it's three seconds long. If we look at the amount of frames that we have by CTRL+clicking, oops that was Alt+click. By CTRL+clicking, we have 96 frames. And you can create a GIF that is this big. However, it will be probably too large for a lot of GIF applications. One of the things with GIFs is you wanna keep them pretty small so you can text them and not eat up people's data. And for something like this, we actually don't need a whole lot of this area, the screen real estate here. We also don't really need something that's big because GIFs are generally viewed smaller in context. No one looks at a GIF full screen on a 50-inch 4K monitor, so we don't have to worry so much about the resolution. So we can jump right to kind of comping this again. What I would do is I would take this and pull it down into a new comp. And I'll call this, Girl Funny, then pull it up outside my pre comps folder. And I'll double click that, make sure it's open. Okay, good. We're looking at it right here. I'm gonna turn off adaptive resolution because that drives me insane. And so for this, what we can do is a few things. One, we can change the resolution, I'm gonna hit CTRL+K again. And I'm gonna do something like, I don't know, 720 by 720. I will also change the frame rate here. We don't need all these frames, we can drop it down at least to 15, maybe less. And when we do, you're gonna notice that the playback looks different. We can also just kind of reframe this a little bit here. So it's got that kind of choppy look to it. 15 frames per second is probably the edge on what looks like smooth motion. You'll see if we drop this down to 8, which you can do. It's going to look a little stutter, it's gonna take a second to cache here. Just let this cache, cache, cache, there we go. The less frames you have, the smaller your GIF is going to be. I'm gonna go back up to 15 frames a second by just undoing that cuz I think 15 frames a second will work. And I need to trim up my comp a little bit because the frames of the original don't really line up here. So we'll just trim that one blank frame out, and we should be good to go here. Now we can't actually render a GIF inside of After Effects. What we need to do is send this over to Adobe Media Encoder. And I'd use the shortcut but with my screen recording and this keystroke viewer here, CTRL+ALT+M for some reason isn't working. So I'm just going to up to comp and send that to the render queue. So we're looking at this one here. And we can just select Animated GIF, and set to, there are no presets, there's just one. It'll make sure this is going in the right location. Super, and we'll just set that to render. It should only take a second. Boom, it's done. Let's check out what that looks like. Okay, it's looking okay. I hit spacebar thinking I could pause this, but that's not really how it works. However, you might notice it might not come through on the compression. But there are some fireflies in this, some kind of weirdness going on in the eyes here. But that's not the only way that we can do this. We can use Photoshop to get maybe a little bit better of a GIF. So right in Adobe Media Encoder, we can hit CTRL+D and duplicate this, but this time let's select a different output format. I'm gonna select quick time. And yeah, I'm gonna use GoPro CineForm YUV-10 bit, it's kind of my go to. And set to the same output, and let's just render this out. Boom, great. That took a second. Perfect, now I'm gonna jump over to Photoshop. You can see I've already tested this out here, and I'm going to open up that video. Yes, you can open up video in Photoshop, something that I forgot, but everyone should be reminded. Photoshop's got some cool tools. And yeah, so here we are, here's our video. And all we need to do is go to File > Export, there is an Export As, which does have a GIF output module. But I'm going to use Save for Web. And the reason is this has some more fine controls that will allow us to tweak the colors to get a better result. And right away if this renders like what we're seeing here in the preview, I think we're gonna be doing a lot better. Because I'm not seeing fireflies in the hair which are those little blue, little speckles. I'm not seeing a weirdness in the eyes, other than the fact that they're crossed here. So I think just the default settings here, which are 256 colors and selective color are going to give us a much better option. However, if you don't like the file size here, if you're aiming for something a little bit smaller, you have a couple of options. We can reduce image file size so we could drop this, let's say to 320, and hopefully that will reduce our file size. Yeah, we're getting a new preview. Yeah, great. So 320 is much less than half the file size. And we can change the way it's scaling. If that kind of floats your boat, not sure we can undo that in this output module, let's put it back to 720 here. We can also adjust the color. So we can change this to perceptual, let me get a different frame that's not so motion blurry. There we go. In adaptive, you'll find that some of these may have a better way of managing the colors. I'm not sure what's going to come through on the video. Well, I know that's gonna come through and that looks terrible. So I might recommend not using restrictive. But you may find that there's a difference between perceptual selective and adaptive, especially in the transitions between colors. You may notice it could be there's an important part of your image that you need to not have so much graininess in. And one of these methods may look better than the other. You may find that dropping the colors down. So if we go to 128, that's gonna reduce the file size. And depending on the colors in your GIF, if this were more of a graphic type thing where it was solid background with some text and things of that nature. You can go down to 128, maybe even 64, maybe even 32, that's gonna significantly reduce the size of your file. And it's essentially gonna look the same because if you don't have that many colors, it's really not a big deal. Even at 128, it doesn't really look that bad especially in motion. Yeah, this looks probably I would say just about the same. However, I'll kick it back up to 256 to try and retain any quality for you because this is gonna get compressed in the end. You also have dithering, and this will kind of apply almost like a smoothing kind of blurring effect. However, it does give kind of a gross look. GIFs that you find on like Giffy, those have all had the life just compressed out of them and so they have that very almost painterly sort of look. So these are pretty much just the standard settings here. And if we hit Save, and yeah, we'll just name that right there, all looks good. Boom, it's gonna save out. So let's take a look, here's the before. And hopefully you can detect some of the weird fireflies in the hair, and the weird things going on the eyes. One thing you should be able to see is this color of white here. Although depending on your monitor, you may not be able to tell is not the same white as the surrounding area here. And it should be. But if we look at this GIF here, this is already looking a lot better. No fireflies in the hair. The eyes look nice, and this color white is white which is the color that it's supposed to be. So a few extra steps involved in sending it over to Photoshop. We do have to render and then open up in Photoshop. And you don't have to tweak the settings, but you could tweak the settings. But the result is cleaner, and I think it looks better, and it is just a tiny bit bigger. We're talking about less than a megabyte in difference. And in fact, if we render this again in Photoshop, but this time, We just drop the colors down to 128. And then we save it, we'll call this GIF2. And then we'll take a look at that. I think this looks in motion essentially the same as this. Yeah, they look basically the same. There's a little more kind of graininess here in the beads happening down there. But it drops us down to lower than what you get straight out of Adobe Media Encoder. And it still looks better than this because it's less grainy in the eyes. The color of the background is right, and we don't get any speckles in the hair. So there you go. Super easy, really fast to do. And just keep those things in mind for file size and resolution, and especially frame rate. You can make them longer, but you may find that they are not gonna work for everyone once they get over a couple of hundred frames. [MUSIC] That about wraps it up for this lesson. Make sure to check out the next lesson on layer duplication. [MUSIC]

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