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Create GIF Animations With Free GIMP Image Editing Program

Everyone has seen those cute gif animations on the Web. In this article, you'll learn how to create your own gif animations using the free GIMP image editing program. There are two main types of animation, spite animation and frame animation. Sprite animation involves moving a small image around in front of a background. Frame animation involves displaying a sequence of images, each image with a little "difference" that, when the fames are displayed rapidly in sequence, appears as movement.

In this example we'll be creating a frame animation. To create a frame animation, you first need to create the sequence of images that become the animation frames. To create a gif animation, you need a series of gif images that do NOT have transparent backgrounds. For this example, I provide you with the set of images shown below.

Note: the images are shown here 1/2 actual size.

To use these images, right-click on each image, and in the popup menu that appears, select "Save Picture As...". In the "Save Picture" dialog box that appears, navigate to a folder where you want to save your animation, then click on the [save] button."

To follow this example, you'll need the GIMP image editing program installed on your computer. GIMP is a comprehensive image editing program on the level of Photoshop, in fact it looks and works pretty much the same as Photoshop, with one major exception; Photoshop costs about $800.00 while GIMP is totally free! If you don't have GIMP installed on your computer, go to the GIMP.org Web site and download the proper version for your machine.

GIMP stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program", GNU standing for GNU General Public License. The GNU General Public License is a long-winded document that gives you permission to use and redistribute the software for free. GIMP can be used to perform a wide range of image processing tasks including convert, merge, blend, align layers, and create an infinite number of interesting effects. In this example, we'll use it to create a gif animation.

Assuming that you've downloaded and installed GIMP on your computer, the next thing we need to do is plan our animation sequence. We'll create an animation of a file cabinet with several drawers opening and closing. Although there are four images used, the animation will consist of six frames, this is accomplished by repeating two of the images. The animation sequence is shown below.

To visualize the animation, just glance at each image from left-to-right, looping around to the first image when you come to the end. As you can see, in the animation a file drawer opens half way and closes. Then a second file drawer opens all the way, in two frames, and then closes in two frames.

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