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How to create GIF for Instagram (free video tutorial)



If you want to impress Instagram followers, keep an eye on your content longer and increase your engagement rate, it's time to learn how to create GIF for Instagram!

If the photos are the heart of your Instagram strategy, the GIFs can help you give a little soul to your content.

The creation of cute and catchy GIFs that entice you to infinity attracts Instagram followers to stay longer on your content, helping them to digest your message before they continue to scroll.

Watch our free video tutorial with social media designer Secelia Bennett to learn how to plan, shoot and edit GIF for Instagram using Photoshop:

How to create GIF for Instagram using Photoshop:

Using GIFs as posts Instagram is an excellent way to give new life to your feed, especially if you want to add a little excitement to your regular product photos.

Adding simple design elements to make your product "mobile" is not only visually appealing, but it can also help you get more views and engagement on your posts on Instagram.

If you want to stand out on Instagram, make an impression and create content that your audience will appreciate, creating GIF for Instagram is a great strategy!

Before looking into how to create GIF for Instagram, it's important to note two things:

  • Instagram GIFs must be uploaded as videos (using formats like .mov or .mp4)
  • Your video must last at least 3 seconds or it will not be uploaded to Instagram

When you're planning to create GIF for Instagram, the most important part is the preliminary planning to ensure a uniform photo shoot and editing process.

Create a simple storyboard in advance of how you imagine each frame and create a list of necessary props. Once both are completed, it's time to talk about equipment.

Equipment You will need to create GIF for Instagram:

You do not need to have a fancy setup to create GIF for Instagram, but it helps. Whether you're shooting on your phone or on a camera, you should at least have a tripod to stabilize your shots.

Equipment you must have:

  • Tripod: for GIF flatlay, you'll need a Tripod with articulated arm OR C-Stand with adapter & monopod head so you can shoot in the head.
  • Camera / lens or cellphone
  • Computer and Adobe Photoshop
  • Photoshoot props

Equipment that is nice to have:

  • Tethering cable shoot remotely on your computer
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Two pieces of white foam core to bounce the light to illuminate the scene

How to shoot GIF for Instagram:

Now that you have your gear, it's time to shoot your GIF!

When specifically shooting a stop motion or an infinite GIF loop, you want your first and last scene to be exactly the same so as to pass without problems.

It is important not to move anything that has no movement in the GIF, it is distracting and may seem a little messy – make sure you do not touch the props or add a piece of tactical putty or museum to the bottom of the stand to stabilize it.

Organize your additional props on the side of the scene and configure camera settings: if you're using a phone, make sure that the AF lock is active so your lighting and focusing are uniform for every shot.

Now that you're ready, it's time to start shooting your GIF. Refer to the storyboard and be careful not to touch or hit anything.

Make sure the setting is correct for each frame before taking the picture and repeat the process until you have all the frames. You will need to ensure that you resume your GIF in the order in which you wish to move it, making the change a much smoother process.

Try to avoid taking too many pictures of a frame so as not to get confused when you select the photos you want to edit. Once the shot is finished, it's time for technical fun in Photoshop.

How to edit GIFs with Adobe Photoshop:

The best way to learn how to edit your GIFs using Photoshop is to watch our video above for a free step-by-step tutorial. For reference, here's what we show you in the video:

After downloading the photos to your computer, create a new file in Photoshop and go to File> Script> Upload file to new stack:

Click "Browse" and select the photos you want to use. Now that you have your levels, click Window> History.

Click the button in the middle of the timeline and click "Create frame animation" from the drop-down menu:

Your first level will appear in the lower left corner:

Create a new frame for each of your photos (I was 4 in total) by clicking on the "new frame" button that looks like a piece of paper in the lower right corner.

Now you have a level for each photo. Go to the Layers panel on the right side and make the next photo visible only by unchecking the images above it. Do this until all your frames in the timeline will not be sorted correctly as you want them:

Select all frames> click at the bottom of a frame to view speed options. I usually do "other" and type .30. Make sure that GIF is looped for "forever" in the lower left corner.

If you want to reverse the GIF as I am doing, select the middle part of the GIF (this means that it does not select the first and last frame.) Click on the new frame button to paste.

Select all the frames you just pasted. Return to the toolbar again and select "Reverse Frames".

Now you can check the GIF you just created by pressing the play button to see what it looks like!

Count to see how long your GIF is – if it is less than 3 seconds you must select all the frames to copy and paste another group of them, so that the GIF is longer. Remember that it takes at least 3 seconds to post on Instagram!

Once you have at least 3 seconds, it's time to show off your GIF and post on Instagram! Go to Image> Image Size and make sure your GIF is not too large – 2000 x 2000 is a good number of pixels.

Go to File> Export> Video Rendering. Select the folder you want to insert and make sure your video is the "document size". If it's too big, Photoshop will crop it.

Congratulations, you've created your first GIF for Instagram!

Now you can transmit the video to your phone or upload the GIF at a later time directly from the desktop, where you can then plan your Instagram post!

When you post your video on Instagram, remember to select an appealing cover photo, this will be the image that appears on your Instagram profile. If you do not select the cover photo, Instagram will choose a random slide and may not be the best solution for your feed.

Once you've mastered GIF for Instagram, you can start learning and creating more sophisticated GIFs with multiple frames to add personality and engagement to your posts on Instagram!

Written by

Secelia Bennett

Secelia is a freelance social media designer who helps create unique and engaging creatives for startups, creative agencies and Fortune 500 companies. You can find her on Instagram @secelia.


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