Shop Talk

How to Create GIF Promos

Regardless of how you pronounce them, Gifs (or Jifs) are a great way to promote your work on social media. Unlike videos, Gifs are generally short and get right to action, which is ideal for catching the attention of potential fans. Let’s create a quick gif promo to show how they can help step up your promotional game.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be using Adobe Photoshop. However, any image editor that allows for the creation of gifs should have similar tools and methods.

Step 1: The first thing you want to do is decide what kind of animation you would like to have. For example, in the image above the animation is very simple. Complex animations mean more frames in the Gif, which can increase the file size quickly.

In this new gif, we’re using one of the custom promotional templates to start with. The goal is make to make the mice drop down and have text appear. In order to do this, every element should be on it’s own layer. While there are many different ways to setup and make gifs, this method will be relying heavily on layers. In the image below you will see the background, the mice on their own layer, and the folder which contains the shirt artwork.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated

Step 2: Now that all the layers are ready, it’s time to prepare the animation. Open up the Timeline editor from the “Window” menu. Once the timeline opens up, click the button that says “Create Frame Animation”. In newer versions of Photoshop you can create and edit videos, however for the purposes of making a simple animated Gif, frame animation is the way to go.

Now that the timeline is open, let’s take a look at a few key tools that will help make the animation process easier. Seen in the image below:

  1. This is the first frame, and this is where more will go depending on the length of your animation.
  2. This is the timeline toolbar, and has settings to make your gif loop once or forever, duplicate and delete frames, and tweening, which is a process that generates frames in between two selected frames to give the impression of a smooth animation.
  3. From this drop-down menu you can create, copy, paste, delete, and reverse frames.
  4. Since we’ll be moving layers to create an animation, make sure “Propagate Frame 1” is unchecked. When this is checked, any change to a layer will be made to every frame available, and we don’t want that for this animation.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated

Step 3: Now that everything is setup it’s time to animate. From the animation menu choose “Create Frame”, or you can also choose the “Duplicate Frame” from the toolbar. In order to make it look like the mice are dropping down, we need to create the first and last frame of the animation.

Next, make sure Frame 1 is selected, and then select the layer you want to move, in this case “Red Mouse”. You can use the move tool to move the layer upwards. Holding shift will make sure the layer does not move around too much, as the layer needs to go directly up. In the image below you can see the layer above the image, and in the two frames you can see the layer hidden in Frame 1 and visible in Frame 2.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated

Step 4: Now that Frame 1 and 2 is setup, acting as the first and final frame of the animation, it’s time for tweening. Select both frames by holding shift, and then click the “Tweens Animation Frames” button in the toolbar. In the popup window, you can choose how many new frames to add. As there is already 2 frames, we are going to add 3 frames. The more frames you have the smoother your animation will be, however we know we’re going to add some more frames for other effects, so 5 total frames for this animation is good.

Previewing the animation, we should see the mice drop down, and possibly very fast. In each frame you can choose how long the specific frame lasts. For this animation .2 seconds should work fine. You can always go back to each frame and make small adjustments, but for any new animation you will be tweening frames that came after these 5 frames. This makes the process easier until you become a gif making pro.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated

Step 5: Now let’s create a new layer at the very top with some text. When you add new layers to your animation, you’ll notice that the new layer is visible in every frame of your current animation. Instead of editing each frame and hiding this layer, select all of your current frames and turn the visibility of the layer off. Now you can turn the layer on in the frames we want them to be visible. To get the text to show, create a new frame and enable the layer. It will now show up once the mice drop down in the animation.

Editing frames will take a bit of getting used to, but once you have the hang of it you can do some amazing things. For example, by using a layer style on the mice we can change them to pink, and you can even change the settings of the layer style so they are different for each frame. This way you can make the mice change colors. Create some new frames, change layer style settings and have some fun.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated

Finish: Once you have your gif finished, go to File>Export>Save for Web, and make sure to choose gif from the preset drop-down. From this window you can see the current size dimensions and filesize. Since this promo is going to be used on social media, 1080px x 1080px will work quite well for Instagram, Facebook, and more. You can also optimize your gif settings, which can help lower the filesize. Before saving you can preview your gif and even change the looping options.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated

Now that your promo gif is finished you can share it on social media. If you do want to share it on Instagram, the gif will need to be turned in a video file, which is very easy if you create an account on Giphy. Gifs that you upload can also be turned into videos prepared for Instagram. Next to the gif under the “Share it” section, you can choose the Instagram icon and have the video file sent right to your email. Nice.

gifs, Hillary White, create, unicorn, pizza, animated


Gifrocket: create gifs from videos easily

Giphy: Store and share gifs to social media.

Gifx: Gif editor app for the creative mind.

Did you find the tutorial helpful? Please let us know in the comments below, and share any tips you might have.

View additional posts by Josh


Art historian, burrito enthusiast, and Email Marketing Specialist here at Redbubble.