On this tutorial you will learn how to make a simple gif on photoshop.

First of all, the programs I use are: Photoshop CS5 and KMPlayer. I use KMPlayer to make the screen captures (frames) and photoshop to make the gifs. That’s it. This tutorial also works on Photoshop CS3 and CS4 but I’m not sure about CS6 since I never worked with it before.

You can download KMPlayer here and search for a Photoshop download here or here!

  • KMPlayer has some sort of problem with screen capturing from DVDs. I have no idea why, but I get an error when I try. I looked up for the solution on google and found a few, but none of them seemed to work for me (but to be honest, I didn’t even try that hard since I never gif from DVDs). So, I’m sorry but I don’t know the solution for that.  
  • You can use other programs to make the screen caps. Like VLC, which also screen caps automatically like KMPlayer. There are a few tutorials out there of how to screen cap on VLC, but in my opinion, it’s way too complicated.
  • If you’re having other problems with KMPlayer or Photoshop, please don’t ask me about it. I’m not an expert, so I probably won’t know how to help you. You have to search for a solution on google.

So, if you have the same programs as me, here’s what you have to do. If you know how to use KMPlayer, skip to step 3. (Click on the miniatures below to enlarge)

1. Open the video you want to gif on KMPlayer. Right click on the screen, “Capture" and then "Frame:extract”. (If the “Capture” option doesn’t show for you, then click on Options - Advanced Menu and it will show up after that.)

2. Then this window will pop up. You can drag it around so if you need to go back to the video to pause/play you don’t have to close the window.

Most of the settings on that window are important. First of all, you need to choose the folder where you want to extract your caps. The default folder is “Capture” and you can find it on your Documents. You can leave it like that or you can create a new folder somewhere else. Your choice.

Then we have the image format. If you want to have the best quality possible on your caps, select PNG, but keep in mind that it will take some time to capture. I usually choose JPEG but when I want to make a larger gif I choose PNG. Again, your choice.

On the numbers and size to extract make sure it’s set as “continuously” and “original size”.

And finally the frames. I always use the option “every frame”. It will give you a lot of frames but I like to choose the best ones for my gif, so I always end up deleting at least half of them. If you don’t want to do that, you can choose the other options too. Just play around with the settings and see which one is better for you.

Now you’re ready to start screen capturing. You just need to click on “start” and it will start taking caps. Don’t forget you have to click play on the video on the part you want it to cap, it won’t do it on pause. Once you’re finished capturing, click on “stop”.

3. Now that you have your frames, open Photoshop. And follow these steps:

4. This little window will come up, and on the drop-down menu, choose “folder” and then click “browse”. You have to search for the folder where your screen caps are (don’t forget the folder can only have the caps and nothing else on it, otherwise photoshop will open every file on that folder). Once you find it, open it and your screen caps will load:

Click OK and wait until all the caps open to Photoshop. It may take a while, depending how many caps you have, how large they are and how fast your computer is. 

5. Once you have all of your caps loaded, go to Window and click on Animation and a little bar will show up on the bottom. You should have something like this now:

6. Then on the Animation bar, do this:

The frames will show up on the bar, but they are backwards so then click on “Reverse frames” (on the same menu above).

7. Now this is the hardest part. If you want to have a pretty gif, you have to edit it.  

If you’re not sure how to edit it, just play around with the levels, curves and brightness/contrast. You can search for psds on tumblr to help you have an idea of how to use each tool. See also this script to learn how to sharpen all of your frames (layers) with just a couple of clicks. Very useful!

8. After you’re done editing, you save your gif.

9. Now that tumblr increased the photo size limit to 1MB, it’s a lot easier to make bigger gifs with better image quality. You just have to change the settings until your gif is under 1MB.

I usually choose the option “pattern” but when the gif size is too big, I go with “diffusion” and lower the “dither” percentage and the colors until the gif gets under of 1MB. But sometimes the only way to make it smaller without losing all its quality, is to go back and delete a couple of frames or change something on the editing.


(I only used brightness, contrast and levels on this.)