18 Replies Latest reply on Apr 11, 2016 9:32 AM by JJMack

    Add a file icon to an Animated GIF

    sambul31 Level 1

      When creating or editing animated GIFs in Photoshop, is it possible to select one of its frames as the GIF file icon, visible in File Managers like Windows Explorer? If not, pls explain why, are there any workarounds? What image editing or other packages allow to assign & scale down if needed one of animated GIF frames as its file icon? If that requires adding a resource section to an animated GIF file to keep the icon in it, what software allows it? Ideally, it should be accomplished in Photoshop or its plugin when creating animated GIFs.

       

      Why its required? Because when Windows Explorer creates an icon for an animated GIF file, it picks its 1st frame and scales down as the file icon, stored in a hidden system icons folder. If you have a folder full of animated GIFs that all have the same 1st frame (its typical for webcam motion triggered image collections were each image in a series must start from the same background frame - like an empty bird nest) then all animated GIFs in that folder will have the same icon and a time stamp as the file name. To find the right file, one needs to play hundreds of them which is very labor intensive task, stupid and completely unnecessary if there was a feature to auto or manually assign the most distinct frame (with largest number of different pixels compare to background image) as the file icon for each animated GIF at creating it.

        • 1. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
          JJMack Most Valuable Participant

          The doctor said if it hurts when you do it don't do it.  If the Icon displayed for an Animated GIF is the first frame then do not make all you Animated GIF files have the same frame if seeing unique icons is what you want.  You control what the first frame is the your Animated GIF are.  You can make whatever first frame that you want..

           

          I do not believe that Windows Explorer or Photoshop randomly picks a frame as the gif 's preview image. Why would a Programmer think random chance would be a good frame to use. The preview is most likely stored in the file by the program that created the animated gif. I do not think your webcam creates  your animated gif files some program does. What Program do you use. If you observe that icon is the First fame and you use Photoshop Save for Web I would be more inclined to believe they are always the first frame.  If its important to you test out if its always the first frame test the program the you use to create the animated gif. You also control what is in front or the webcam when you start recording use a clapboard like the pros do. You control the first frame make it the most distinctive frame set it duration to the minimum value.. If it the same clapboard(or in your case same motion)  address it in the application that creates the animated gif. Generate unique first frame for a sequence.

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          • 2. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
            sambul31 Level 1

            @ JJMack

             

            My question was: "When creating or editing animated GIFs in Photoshop, is it possible to select one of its frames as the GIF file icon, visible in File Managers like Windows Explorer?"
            Your answer doesn't address my question at all, but instead attempts to substitute it with irrelevant comments about 3rd party programs and cam techniques.

             

            Yes, animated GIFs are created automatically - in this case by ContaCam, and they MUST start from exact same background frame. Its a standard approach with any webcam software generated GIFs triggered by motion detection. They usually add a few background frames at the start and end of motion detected series of images before saving them as an animated GIF - to show more clearly when detected motion starts and ends. Its not possible and also irrational to manually interfere with the process. Such animated GIFs however can be later EDITED in Photoshop, and at that point it would be very handy to have such feature - pick a frame and assign it as the file icon. Currently Photoshop doesn't save any icon at all with animated GIFs, this functionality is missing (empty code).

             

            The above use case is just an example. Instead of elaborating what can be done with cams etc, why don't concentrate on how to add such feature to Photoshop via a plugin or core function, since a variety of situations can be shown when that feature is desired. A typical one: you have multiple series of image files, and need to create an animated GIF from each series, while they all must start with the same background frame. This is totally abstract case, not linked to any cams or 3rd party packages, and... you simply can't do it in Photoshop now in a manner that would make each such file visibly distinct in a folder where all animated GIFs are saved.

             

            Indeed, there're exactly NONE packages I know of allowing to create an animated GIF and manually or automatically assign its most distinct frame as the file icon stored in its Resource. NONE means ZERO. Can you prove otherwise? This would be a great help, if Photoshop as the most popular image editor will add such functionality, possibly via a plugin.

            • 3. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

              You cannot have what the file format doesn't support. GIFs ever only play in one direction and that's how their internal decoding works - all frames after the start image are data only containing the differences, further optimized and compressed by the RLE encoding and color table lookup. Thus it's impossible to have a poster frame other than the first frame in the file, which in an ideal scenario would be the only frame containing a full image, anyway.

               

              Mylenium

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              • 4. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                sambul31 Level 1

                Mylenium

                 

                Your description of GIF file format doesn't match format details described in the GIF Wiki. In particular, GIF files usually have a header, logical screen descriptor, and extension block(s). The though must be put into how to use these features to add a 1st frame (or the last one), which won't be playable, can be of different scale, and will be used as a file icon when File Managers auto generate such icons.

                • 5. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                  JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                  I read your link GIF - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and when I read it. Its seems like what Mylenium described.  The First frame would need to be a complete image that may contain empty pixels from then on frames may only contain areas to change in the previous frame.  It may be all areas or just a few pixels in the frame area. The way I read it only the first frame always needs to be a complete image.

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                  • 6. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                    sambul31 Level 1

                    If you read GIF Standard, the Extension Blocks may alter how GIF playback algorithm works. GIF Wiki gives an example of such new Extension Block, introduced by Mozilla to support continuous loopback in anim GIFs that was later adapted by other browser and app GIF decoders. Nothing seems to stop Adobe from adding similar Extension Block instructing the GIF code to start GIF playback from the 2nd frame, while 1st frame will be used by File Managers to generate GIF file icon. That's the exact purpose of Extension Blocks - to enable further evolution and adding new functionality to animated GIFs. Arguments like "it doesn't exist now, and therefore can't be added in the future" aren't valid, since nothing tends to exist until its created by someone (or something). .

                    • 7. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                      JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                      You could request or susgest such an extention to Adobe and Contaware . For adobe you would do that at Photoshop Family Customer Community use  Idea there.

                       

                       

                      However if that frame was not a full frame it may not look good and the first frame would still  be used for the icon.

                       

                      MP4 is a better choice GIF color suppots  255 or 256 mapped colors,  MP4 has full color support + Audio.....

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                      • 8. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                        sambul31 Level 1

                        Adobe is a large company, its products support is broadly adapted by browser and app developers community. Introducing such extensions only makes sense for large industry players. While modern web technologies also support animation, the existing animated GIFs world database is huge, and this format will still be used in the years to come. Besides, can MP4 movie based animations be played all at once on one browser page like anim GIFs? On top, with GIFV incoming format, are we facing the same problem as with anim GIFs: can't set a selected frame as the file icon visible in Win Explorer? 

                         

                        Future of Animated GIFs

                        • 9. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                          Silkrooster Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          I don't get your point about large companies. Anyone can post a feature request in the proper forum.

                          Because most programs use the first frame for the thumbnail, you can put any image there. When playing the animation most viewers won't know it is there because of how fast it goes by. If you were watching for it, you might see a bleep but would not be able to recognize it.

                          As for mp4 the entire video will play in the browser as long as that browser recognizes it. Which should be most newer versions now. That is the recommended format for large animations or videos

                           

                          Photoshop Family Customer Community

                           

                          Link to Photoshop feedback.

                          • 10. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                            sambul31 Level 1

                            @ Silkrooster

                             

                            Generating GIFVs from animated GIFs according to Imgur site makes sense once GIF file size exceeds 5-10 MB. For smaller files they don't perform any conversion at uploading GIFs. Its unclear how they combine WebM and MP4 formats to perform the conversion.  Hope, web browsers can auto play several GIFV files at once in small frames. Detected Motion Events are often brief resulting in small files, so for most using animated GIF format will suffice.

                             

                            Re larger companies, if a small company introduces changes to an old established standard like GIF, chances are slim these changes will be supported by major browsers due to limited user base. Adobe is much better positioned to introduce such changes. Your suggestion to use the distinct 1st frame may in fact work, will try it out, but of course such approach needs to be automated at generating GIFs by specialized packages. In manual GIF editing in Photoshop its not the most intuitive approach for users.

                             

                            In fact, placing the most distinct frame as 1st instead of background frame may result in smaller GIF size, since the 1st frame will contain most pixels info required making it possible to better optimize other frames sizes in the GIF.

                            • 11. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                              sambul31 Level 1

                              JJMack

                               

                              I posted my suggestion in Photoshop Feedback as you originally hinted.

                              • 12. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                                JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                                Even if big companies like Adobe try to do something on their own unless the result is outstanding so the industry see a demand it will not be adopted. A prime example is Adobe DNG RAW format.  It was tried in a couple of Camera makers and dropped.  Some that want to use ACR and perpetual Photoshop are more or less forced to use DNG and others  because ACR Merge to HDR and Merge to Panorama saves to DNG files. There are those that use it hoping beyond hope that some day it will become the standard format for RAW.  Then there are the converts if its Adobe its got to be good..

                                 

                                What company needs extra work if it does not help their bottom line.

                                • 13. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                                  sambul31 Level 1

                                  A standard by definition is something introduced or adapted by a recognized body or group. So Adobe can talk to main browser makers - and there are only 3 - to jointly adapt GIF standard extension, since the need is obvious: no way to add a file icon to an animated GIF now, while anim GIFs popularity is ever growing. In fact, the Extensions are already part of that standard, its only required to define the new parameter in existing Extension as an example. Once these 3 browser makers adapt it, everyone else will have to. Its much simpler than introducing a brand new file format.

                                  • 14. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                                    sambul31 Level 1

                                    Silkrooster

                                     

                                    I tested your suggestion to add the most representative frame as 1st with 0 delay. At playback in Photoshop, that frame is not visible at all, but when viewing the same GIF in IE, the same frame is clearly visible, and obviously doesn't match nearby frames content. I don't think this solution is acceptable for professional software like Photoshop. It can probably be used as a very rough workaround at manual editing, while waiting for some quality solution from Adobe, not indefinitely long though.

                                    • 15. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                                      JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                                      sambul31 wrote:

                                       

                                      I don't think this solution is acceptable for professional software like Photoshop. It can probably be used as a very rough workaround at manual editing, while waiting for some quality solution from Adobe, not indefinitely long though.

                                      I believe you will find your wait will be a long one.  I reported a bug that Adobe introduced in CS4 when CS5 came out.  Adobe accepted it was a bug and wrote they may fix  it in some future release. Two years later I was contacted by an Adobe employee that he was assigned to fix that bug. Well that was some years ago.  The bug has not been fixed it still in CC 2015.  Some bugs I have reported after the CS4 bug have been fixed other have not.  You want a new feature. All I was is the current bugs to be fixed.

                                       

                                      Photoshop is still the most versatile Image Editor I can find I have learned to work around Bugs and address other things using Photoshop scripting And keep old versions of Photoshop installed and handy.

                                      • 16. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                                        Silkrooster Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        In a way, it makes sense. Gif files are at the mercy of the browsers as they dictate the frames per second.

                                        • 17. Re: Add a file icon to an Animated GIF
                                          sambul31 Level 1

                                          JJMack

                                           

                                          Since you mentioned Photoshop Scripting,  are there any links explaining it with regards to creating animated GIFs? In particular, can you suggest or point to a script example that would allow to open an anim GIF,  unify layer visibility for all timeline frames based on the 1st image in the list, automatically select the most distinct frame other than the 1st one, copy it and move to the 1st frame, change its playback delay to 0 sec, and "save to web" the anim GIF? Ideally, it should be applicable via a batch file to a folder with anim GIFs for fast batch processing.