Animated pictures are a great way of representing yourself online by using them as avatars on forums and in comments. You can also use animated images to create memes, commixes and other funny things that many Internet communities are known for. But if you’ve never created an animated image before, you’re probably wondering how do you actually do it. It used to be pretty hard before, but today, there are plenty of apps and sites where you can do it automatically and for free. You can also check our post on free gif creators for animated gif .
Animated pictures are nothing more than a collection of the pictures or photos of your choosing put together in a compatible format that will be displayed as a short movie or slideshow and don’t require any special plugins to work – all browsers have the functionality built in. You have probably already heard about animated GIFs, as in files that use the GIF format and extension – these are the most popular type of animated images online, however there’s a newer, better format that you can use and that more and more forums and sites are starting to support – animated PNGs.
There is a clear difference between GIF and PNG formats when it comes to animation – the latter allows a full color spectrum (millions of colors) instead of the 256 colors limit of the GIF format, so your animated pictures look much better. You can also specify different blending modes and other options if you have the right software. Still, GIFs are the best choice when you need to create animated pictures that take a limited amount of space – PNG files will always take several hundred kilobytes at least for a small avatar, which is over the limit of many forums. A similar GIF will take less than 100 or even 50 kilobytes, so the difference is huge.
There are plenty of tools and services that let you create animated GIF and PNG files, but a lot of them are hard to use or insert a watermark on the result – not something you’d want for your new avatar or profile picture.
My favorite tool for creating GIF files is Gickr.com – it’s very easy to use, and you can have your animated image ready in less than a minute. You just select the static pictures or photos you want to animate, set an output resolution (you can make it as big as you want, but I’d recommend not setting the resolution higher than that of the smallest picture, or the quality will be inconsistent), set the frame rate and that’s it – the site will provide you with a link to download your new animated image.
The situation is a bit worse with PNG’s – there aren’t a lot (or should I say, any) online services to automate the process, but there are a few easy tools you can use on your computer. The best and easiest to use is APNG Anime Maker – you don’t even have to install it. Just download it (from Google Code or any other link), open it and select the pictures you want animated. You can order them, select the speed of the animation and the output size (a higher compression level means a smaller file size and vice versa) and you’re ready to go – just click save and select where your new animated PNG image should be saved.
After you’ve created the animated image, you can upload it to a site, send it to anyone or do anything else with it, as if it was a simple picture. You can’t view it animated with normal picture viewers – you need to use a Web browser to do it (otherwise, it just appears as a static picture). In Windows, it’s easy to do by right-clicking the image and selecting “Open With”, then choosing Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or any other browser that you have installed. That’s pretty much it – now you know how to create animated pictures!
Some of the posts you should check are:
- Free alternatives to Photoshop
- How to design a Grunge Wallpaper in Photoshop
- Best books to learn Photoshop