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 A Tutorial on Making Animated GIFs v1.1

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PostSubject: A Tutorial on Making Animated GIFs v1.1   Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:23 am

A Tutorial on Making Animated GIFs

Okay so I promised some of you that I would write a tutorial on how to make animated GIFs, so here it is.
Before we start, make sure you tick off this list of prerequisites before moving forward:

• Anime — You obviously need an episode to work with.
• CCCP — I’m assuming most of you would already use this to play most of your files already, so this part should be easy however what we really need are two components that come bundled with it (MPC-HC and ffdshow).
• Image editing software – You could choose from a wide range of programs for this one e.g. IrfanView (the one I’ll be using for this tutorial) or Adobe Fireworks/Photoshop. It doesn't really matter which one you decide to use, what we really need is a program with batch image editing support.
• UnFREEz — You’re gonna be needing this to make your animated GIFs.

Step 1 – Configuring your media player to take screenshots

Open up MPC-HC and go to View -> Options -> External Filters

Select Add filters and choose ffdshow Video Decoder from the pop-up window.

Click ok and set to prefer.

After that, click apply and ok. Exit and reopen MPC-HC and check the settings are in effect.

Step 2 – Pick your desired scene

Pick an anime episode of your choice and use the seek bar to fast-forward to the scene you want to make a GIF out of, while noting down the approximate starting and ending times.

When you’ve jotted down the rough estimates of the starting and ending interval, we then need to fine-tune that by getting the exact frame numbers of that start and end. Use the shortcut Ctrl+Left/Right Arrow to step through the video frame by frame to reach the exact frame upon which the scene starts and ends. Use the shortcut Ctrl+G bring up a pop-up window and note down the frame number.

This process can take a bit of time so it’s recommended to simply seek to a few seconds before and after the scene starts and take down the frame numbers that way so you can just remove the unnecessary frames after you’re done taking the screenshots which is the next step.

Repeat this for the ending.

Step 3 – Taking those Screenshots!

Now while the video is playing and you’ve taken down the frame numbers, either right click on the video and select Filters -> ffdshow Video Decoder -> Properties

Or go to the windows system tray and double click on the ffdshow icon.

Either way, a window will pop up that will look something like this:

Now scroll all the way down to grab

You then need to configure several settings. Tick grab, input the starting and ending frames in range, designate the output directory in path, and you can choose which format the screenshots are taken in but I recommend PNG because it’s lossless for better quality. You can also opt to change the "Grab every x frame" option and input a number of your choice (around 3-5). This allows you to bump down the size of the resulting gif.

After that’s done, seek to a few seconds before the scene in question starts, and when it hits the frame range that you’ve inputted above, the video will start to lag like crazy but that’s an indicator that it’s working. Once it resumes playing in normal speed, this means that it’s done taking the screenshots.

NOTE: Once you’re finished taking the screenshots, untick grab or else every time you play a video it will take start taking screenshots again.

Step 4: Converting screenshots into .GIF

Now head over to the output directory for the screenshots you’ve selected above and as you can see, there will be a bunch of screenshots in the folder. The files will also be quite large and are PNG files. In order to make an animated GIF we need to convert every single one of these into GIF files.

To do so, open up IrfanView (or any other substitute image editor) and select File -> Batch Conversion/Rename. You will then enter into this window. Select GIF – Compuserve GIF from the Output format drop down menu then select Advanced.

Tick Resize -> Select new size -> Set one or both sides to. In the Width and Height section, enter in your desired size. GIFs tend to be small in order to save space, so I recommend a Width of 360 or smaller. You only need to enter one size if you have also ticked Preserve aspect ratio (proportional) which is important otherwise your video will look squished and out-of-proportion if you mess up the width and height. After that, press ok.

Back to this screen again. As before, set your output directory. Select your screenshots and click Add and finally, click Start Batch.

You will get a progress window pop up and it should take no longer than a few minutes for that to finish.

The resulting GIF files should be many times smaller compared to the original PNG files.

Step 5: Compiling the animated GIF

This last step is by far the easiest. Simply run UnFREEz and drag and drop all the GIF files in the window (make sure when you’re dragging, select the first file of the series otherwise the sequence will turn full-retard).

The last thing you need to do is to tick Loop animation to make the GIF play on repeat, set the Frame delay to either 3, 4 or 5cs (experiment with this a little, but for most anime episodes, 4 cs should be fine). If you've decided to use the "Grab every x frame" option, then you will most likely need to double the frame delay and, as always, fiddle around with it until you're happy with the speed of the gif. Once you’re done with that, click Make Animated GIF and voilà you have your own animated GIF!

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