Create GIFs Using After Effects & Photoshop In JUST 2 Mins!

To transform an After Effects animation into a GIF, export your composition as a QuickTime video, and then utilize Photoshop to convert that video into frames. Optimize the GIF for size and visual appeal, then save and test it to confirm it matches your vision.

January 22, 2024
Create GIFs Using After Effects & Photoshop In JUST 2 Mins!
"Video editors relying on templates lack genuine skill and creativity."

What do you think? Submit your opinion to see what others have to say!

"It's Like Video Editing On Steroids!"
- Sebastian Navarro, FreeVisuals Editor
Endorsed by Adobe, Motion Array is the ULTIMATE tool for creating high-quality videos! Browse 15M+ assets for Premiere Pro, After Effects, FCPX & DaVinci!

Adobe After Effects to Photoshop GIF Tutorial

The convenience of having both After Effects and Photoshop from your creative cloud subscription opens up a plethora of creative avenues. However, the challenge often arises in how to seamlessly transition projects between these two powerhouses, especially when looking to convert dynamic animations into universally shareable GIFs.

What This Solution Offers:

  • Step-by-Step Transition: Moving from After Effects animation to Photoshop GIF without compromising on quality.
  • Optimization Techniques: Ensuring your GIF plays back smoothly while keeping file sizes manageable.
  • Finalizing and Testing: Perfecting the final touches and ensuring your GIF is ready for showcasing.

Exporting Your Animation from After Effects

Exporting is the foundational step, converting your crafted animation into a video file to transition it towards becoming a GIF. After Effects provides an array of formats and codecs for this task.

To navigate to the export option, open your project in After Effects and glance at the top menu. Locate the File tab. Within that dropdown, hover over Export to reveal another set of options. The option you’re seeking is Add to Render Queue, so go ahead and click on it.

In doing so, After Effects will shift its view to the 'Render Queue'. Here, your composition will be listed. To its side, two primary settings will catch your eye: the Output Module and the Output To. Click on the blue text next to Output Module. A dialog will pop up. For our journey, opt for the QuickTime (*.mov) format and under the codec options, zero in on the Animation codec. This codec sets the stage for our later transformation in Photoshop.

Now, address the Output To by clicking on its blue text. This is your moment to dictate where your video file will be stored. A location like your desktop or a dedicated folder will make subsequent steps more manageable.

The final touch in this stage is to render. Look towards the far right of your composition listing and hit the Render button. As the green progress bar fills up, your animation takes form as a video.

Importing the Video into Photoshop

With the video ready, the spotlight now turns to Photoshop, transforming the video into frames, the heart and soul of your GIF.

Launch Photoshop, head to the top menu, click on File, hover over Import, and select Video Frames to Layers. You’ll be presented with a dialog box to pick your video file. Journey to where you stored your video from After Effects and make your selection.

Post selection, another dialog box emerges, presenting an option to either take in the entire video or a portion. Considering we're crafting a GIF, encompassing the full video is a wise choice. Don't forget to check the 'Make Frame Animation' box.

Optimizing the GIF in Photoshop

This is the crucible where your creative choices shine. Photoshop offers the precision tools to fine-tune your GIF's appearance and size.

Commence by adjusting the size. From the top menu, pick Image, then Image Size. You'll be greeted by a dialog enabling width and height alterations. If your GIF's destiny is online sharing, keeping dimensions modest ensures fluid playback.

Subsequently, venture into color and quality tweaks. Navigate to the top menu, opt for File, sweep over Export, and then hit Save for Web (Legacy). Here, a plethora of controls beckon, balancing your GIF's visual charisma with its file size.

Finalizing and Saving the GIF

The culmination of your efforts is near! All that remains is immortalizing your creation as a GIF.

If you’re stationed within the Save for Web (Legacy) panel (from the prior step), remain there. If not, navigate back. In this domain, the preset dropdown invites you to choose the GIF format. As you finalize settings, under 'Looping Options', setting it to Forever ensures an endless loop of your GIF.

When satisfied, press the Save button. A new dialog prompts you for a saving location and name. After cementing your choices, head to your saved GIF and preview it. This step is pivotal to ensure your GIF reflects your initial vision.