Animation using GIMP layers

  • Open GIMP
  • Open your first picture
  • From the file pull down "open" the first of your gif images.
  • Add a new layer to your picture
    When you see your picture, chose "layer" from the top menu bar and then "create new layer" - give the new layer a name (“frame2” would be good) make sure you have the "Layers and Channels" window open (if you're not sure you can see it, click ctrl + L)
  • To open your second image and add it as a new layer to the first image:
  • Open your second GIF - when it's visible chose "edit" and then "copy" from the top menu bar.
  • Go to your image 1, then chose “edit” and then "paste", now you will see in your “layer and channels” window something called "Floating selection (Pasted layer)" click on it and then right click your mouse or hold ctrl to see the pop-up menu and chose "anchor layer". This means that your floating selection becomes frame 2. Now you have an image with two layers. At this point it might be a good idea to rename your first layer, which is called "background " by default. How about “frame1” - why not?
  • Add more and more frames!
    Now we have two layers - called frame1 and frame2. Let's add other images in the same way. First add a layer to your first pictures.
  • Remember - "layers" then "new layer". Then give it a name: 'frame 3. Open your third GIF picture and again “edit” and then “copy”, move to your picture one and "paste" it - then from a pop-up menu chose "anchor layers". And so on.
  • Repeat the process as many times you have images. If it's your first animated GIF start with four or five frames to get the feel of the technique.
  • Export your work into Animated GIF format
    When you have all your images placed as layers under picture one, it's time to save them as an animated GIF! Go to "file" and "save as". When the dialogue box opens, give your file a new name and then select the "file type" - chose GIF, then click "save" - you will see another dialogue box where you can chose between two options "flatten image" and "save as animation" - of course chose "save as animation". There are other parameters that you can alter, but let's not bother with them yet.
  • Check if it works!
    To check if your animation works open your file either with any browser you are using or chose from the GIMP "filters" then "animation" and finally "playback". After seeing how it works you might want to adjust some of the features. The display time can be set the same for all the frames or varied for each single image to make the animation smoother or more realistic.
  • Adjusting the display time
    This can be done very simply by adding a comment to the name of each of your layers. Double click on the layer name, for example "frame1 "of your animated GIF, and add a line to it "(1200ms)". Now the name of your layer will look like this: "frame1 (1200ms)". Test it and adjust if it necessary. (1200milliseconds is just an example value, you can set each frame to any duration)
  • Adjusting the size
    If your animated GIF is too big there is a very easy way of optimising its size. Go to "filters" then "animation" and then chose "optimise (for GIF)". This will create a new GIF image with all the layers optimised. The file gets much smaller.