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How do you insert an animated GIF into a PSD and preserve animation?

May 19, 2013 5:20 PM

Tags: #help #animation #photoshop_cs6

Hi all,


I have an animated GIF that I'd like to insert into a regular PSD file that I'm using as the background. The GIF is a foreground object. Another way to phrase my task is that I'm trying to add a static background to an animated GIF. How should I do this in order to  preserve the animation?


What I've tried to do is insert the animated GIF into a smart object in the PSD file but I can't get it to preserve the animation, even after making sure all the frames are copied.




  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 19, 2013 5:28 PM   in reply to daffodilian

    My guess is you're going to have to place a copy of your PSD behind evey single frame of your animated GIF and blend the two layers for each frame, or use a proper video or animation application instead of Photoshop.


    Don't take my post seriously because I don't really have a clue , I'm just marking the thread.  I'll be checking here to see what progress you make. 

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    May 20, 2013 4:24 AM   in reply to daffodilian

    You don't say which version of Ps. Here's a way to do it in CS6:


    Open the animated GIF into Photoshop. You'll have a document with one layer per frame. Place/paste/drag the desired background image, move it to the bottom of the stack and if it's bigger than the GIF then do Image > Reveal All. Optionally convert it to an actual Background layer. Ensure the bottom layer is still targeted then, in the Timeline (animation) panel's menu, pick Match Layers Across Frames and click OK. Now the bottom layer will be displayed behind each frame.


    Edit: There is an option named "New Layers Visible in All Frames" in the Timeline panel. If that's enabled before you put the background into the animation document then the background will be automatically made to appear behind each frame.

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    May 20, 2013 2:01 PM   in reply to daffodilian

    You should have one layer per frame of the animation regardless of where the GIF was created.


    Are you opening the GIF, as I instructed, or are you using Place command or dragging it into an already open document?




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  • JJMack
    6,010 posts
    Jan 9, 2006
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    May 20, 2013 2:44 PM   in reply to daffodilian

    daffodilian wrote:


    I should probably add that the GIF I'm trying to insert is not one that I created with CS6, but rather one that I created from an imported .mov file, so there aren't any layers - each frame is flattened.

    You can drop a .mov on to CS6 or open a .mov file trim it and make frames. You can also import a .mov import Video Frames to Layers.  So you can get or make frame layers.  However these layer as far as I know will not have any transparency they will be 100% opaque.  You may be able to blend a layer into these frames, or partly overlay the frames or add a layer mask to the Frames to alow a lower frame layer show. 


    You also seem to be going at it backwards in you mine trying to insert and animated gif into a psd.   And Animation document can be saved as a psd to preserve your work.  However web browsers do not support PSD animation files.   What you seem to be wanting to do is to insert a layer into all frames in an animation.  An animation can be saved as an animated gif, I believe a sequences of image files and rendered as a video.


    So I believe you want to be working in the timeline palette in frame animation mode.... You may also be able to blend a layer into a video. I have only played a little with CS6 video


    Message was edited by: JJMack

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    May 20, 2013 2:47 PM   in reply to daffodilian

    daffodilian wrote:


    I mentioned I have Timeline which means I have CS6


    Yep, I noticed and deleted my sentence about you still not stating which version of Ps.



    I actually figured out how to add a static background layer to an animated GIF, but this is probably not the optimal method. I just place the image I want and then go to Layer --> Create Background From Layer and then it gets applied across all the other frames.



    That's as good a way as any and will work when the Timeline is in Frame Animation mode if the option "New Layers Visible in All Frames" is enabled. I'm now suspecting that you have the Timeline in Video mode, though, because...


    I did open the GIF as you instructed and then pasted the static image in as you instructed, but the options you said to select didn't appear in the Timeline menu. Any idea why?



    The menu items I mentioned should be in the Timeline panel menu if the Timeline is in Frame Animation mode, as it should be when a GIF has been opened.


    If the Timeline is in Video mode, such as when a video file has been opened, then the panel menu is different and doesn't contain the items I mentioned.


    Were you opening an actual GIF, i.e. a file with .gif extension, or a video file which you've been referring to as a GIF for some reason?

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