In one of our recent Tech Lolz series, we had a really good laugh about a guy who tried to make an animated GIF using a single picture and Paint. But to create any kind of animation, you need at least two different images, so that when you render them one after the other you get an animated sequence. Today, we thought it would be a good idea to show you an easy way of creating your own animated GIF file, with your own pictures, using a free application called GIMP. Let's dive in:
What is GIMP and Where to Get It
After you download it, run the installer.
How To Create An Animated GIF File, Using Your Own Pictures
Before we proceed, the first thing you should do is select the pictures you want to use for creating your animated GIF file. For an easier process, we recommend that you copy all of them in a separate folder. For our example, we're going to use two pictures, and we copied them in a folder on the Desktop, which we called GIF Project.
Then, to make things as simple as possible, we also recommend that you rename all the pictures with incrementing numbers. For each picture use the number corresponding to the place it will have in your animation. For example, the first picture in your GIF will be named 1, the second one will be named 2, the third one will be named 3 and so on.
Now open GIMP. On your Desktop, you should see a few windows appearing, similar to the ones below.
In the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) main window, open the File menu and select Open.
This action will launch the Open Image dialog. Browse to the folder where you stored your pictures. Then, select the first image you'll use for the animated GIF. In our case, that would be picture 1.png from our GIF Project folder. After you selected the first picture, click or tap Open.
GIMP will open the selected picture.
Next, you'll need to do the same thing for all the other pictures that will be a part of your animated GIF file. In the window displaying your first picture, open the File menu. Then, click or tap on Open as Layers.
Browse to the folder where you stored the pictures and open the second picture you want to use for the animated GIF file.
If you have more pictures to add to the GIF file, repeat the last step: open the File menu, click or tap on Open as Layers and select the next picture in your sequence.
When all the pictures are added, in order to get a preview of how your animated GIF file will look, open the Filters menu, go to Animation, and click or tap on Playback.
In the newly opened window, click or tap on Play in order to preview your animated GIF file.
To end the preview, simply close the Animation Playback window.
All there is left to do in order to get fully create your own animated GIF file is to save it. Open File again, and click or tap on Export As...
In the Export Image window, select the location where you want to save your GIF file, type a name for it and (very important) make sure you specify the .gif extension at its end. Then, click or tap Export.
GIMP will open a new dialog, called Export Image as GIF. The only essential thing to do here is to make sure you check the option called As animation.
If you want to, you can also set the delay used between the frames of your animation and whether the GIF animation will loop forever or not. When you've chosen all the settings that you wanted, click or tap Export.
Depending on how many pictures you used and their sizes, you'll have to wait for a couple of moments for GIMP to save your animated GIF.
Your animated GIF file is now saved and ready to use wherever you want to.
As you can see, creating animated GIF files with your own pictures is a very easy thing to do. All you need to do is make a few clicks or taps with a good image editing software like GIMP. If you have any questions or issues, don't hesitate to let us know in the comments below. And… have fun creating your own animated GIFs!