Getting Started – Getting Better

General Design Info

Frame Animation: Part 3


If you haven’t already read Part 1 and Part 2, go back and read them now. This is the final part of the Frame Animation series for Photoshop.

Hopefully before you’ve gotten this far, you’ve already saved the file as a PSD file, like any other layered file. If not, do that now.

Saving Animations

Once an animation file is ready to save, how it’s saved makes a difference.

For frame animations, it must be saved as an animated GIF. However, if you select Save As from the Photoshop menu, a GIF isn’t an option.

There are technically several ways to save animated files, but I only recommend the following settings for frame animations.

Click on Save a Copy, and in the save dialogue box choose GIF from the dropdown.

Click Save, and it will go to the GIF Save Options panel.

The defaults are mostly fine – with one important change. There is a box marked Transparency and the default in Photoshop is for it to be checked. For this situation, leave it UNCHECKED, then click OK.

Remember the semitransparent Tween frames mentioned in Part 2? If you leave Transparency checked, those will actually show as semitransparent in the final file.

Can I Add or Remove Frames?

The short answer is yes, it’s possible to both add and remove frames to an animation.

Removing frames is simple. Click on the frame you want to remove and click on the Trash emblem in the lower left of the Timeframe panel.

Adding frames is a bit more tricky. Rather than attempt to add frames to an existing PSD animation, I’d recommend starting fresh. It may eventually become a separate standalone tutorial, because it’s definitely not for beginners. I managed to get it done, but not without some rather colorful language along the way.

Optimization Tools

Because Photoshop doesn’t really optimize either Frame Animations or Videos it creates, outside tools can be used to optimize the final files.

Animated files can be enormous. There are a few ways to keep file size down in Photoshop – start with an optimized JPEG, for example, saved at slightly lower quality. Keep the number of colors down. Use all the normal things you’d use to reduce file sizes on each of the respective frames, and it will help.

However, for full-color large imagery, compressing the final file can make it easier to use. One good third-party website is The site allows you to compress and/or resize an animated GIF, and does it for free, without a watermark.

Other options are available for video compression. Those will be discussed in the Video Animation segments.

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