Maybe it’s the impeding headless ds106 course coming next month, or maybe it’s just the phases of the moon, but I felt the rekindled urge to experimenting once again with making animated GIFs from a sequence of still photos. This happens in two ways: (1) I anticipate an action sequence, and deliberately take a series of multiple exposures; or (2) I happen to take 2 or more photos where the subject moves a slight bit, and in looking at them in Aperture, I flick back and forth between them until it says… “GIF”


Here was a clear case of #2- when my pal Jonah visited, we stopped at a viewpoint of Mormon Lake, and I took 2 self photos of us with my iPhone, and it was just fun to make this simplest 2 frame GIF.

Now I know my pal Sandy Jensen Brown has an aversion to GIFs, but to me this captures a fun moment in a way that feels more alive then the images.

The method is the same as I have written up since the first one I tried using Photoshop (CS5.5- I had a hard time trying to show Mikhail how to do this in 6, the menu items have changed).

  1. Use Files -> Scripts -> Load Files into Stack.. This places each image in its own layer. I chose the option to “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images” if it is something that does not move much, this can help reduce the jitter.
  2. This creates a file with all the image sin layers, to get them on the timeline, open the Animation window, and from the right side, select “Make Frames from Layers”. This puts each layer in as an animation frame.
  3. Fiddle. I sometimes have to revers the sequence, and then go through frame by frame and adjust the cropping. I also adjust the interframe delay.
  4. Save for Web/Devices- make sure the format is GIF, then resize to save disk size (usually 500px wide for my blog theme). I also reduce the colors to try and make the file smaller. Under 1 Mb is good, under 500k is judo master.

Here is one where I took a series of photos intentionally for this, documenting two guys in Jerome Arizona who were walking a rope above a concrete landing below. This guy fell but landed gracefully:


So yes, I could have shot a video and recorded it all, but that’s easy. As a repeated series of images allows the viewer to see the motion broken down into steps. Hmm not sure why the uploaded GIF is showing a ghosting artifact on that last frame.

Last, a series of photos again not meant for GIFing, but when I see them, it says this might make an animated progression, my kayaking through a stretch that kind of makes it look like I know what I am doing (not).


As I recall reading before, this type of media sits in an interesting (at least to me) zone between a photo and a video.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. The GIF of every moment is there, you just have to tease it out 🙂

    Loved visiting Jerome many moons ago! Tuzigoot was peaceful, the mining waste around it was depressing, but driving up into Jerome was breath-taking! You live in a magical land, Alan.

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