can anyone guess what might be happening here?
Probably not. You are not providing any relevant info or screenshots.
I don't see why the GIF export thinks there's only 3 frames but, as a workaround, try converting a duplicate of the document to Frame Animation and seeing if that'll create all frames and then export them all.
I am able to swtich to frame animation but then the fade effect goes away and i have to do it through the frame animation window but it's just not as smooth a transition; I'll keep playing with that though since it just will not save my frames any other way.
I've re-started the program, re-created the document multiple times, once i got it to save a couple more frames but not all of them :/ i just have no clue what i may be doing wrong and therefore not sure what kind of information would be relevant/helpful for someone trying to help.
thanks for your suggestion!