You Can .GIF Using GIMP - It's Easy!

Updated on January 16, 2018
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MsMillar has been a writer on HubPages for five plus years. She enjoys the freedom Hubpages allows for her to explore her creative side.

Avid Fan Of GIMP

I am an avid fan of GIMP. GIMP is an image manipulation program, a lot like Photoshop. There is one major difference, GIMP is free! Totally and absolutely free. This is the download link to the GIMP download page.

I turn to GIMP for everything I want to create. I can make .jpg, .png and .gif files (.gif are animated files) with it. I've created animations, sent them to my phone, then sent them to friends in a text message. I've made holiday greetings, Valentine greetings, and phone emoticons! All with this free program.

I may be making GIMP sound awesome, and it is, but I didn't feel that way at first. There are so many options in the program that it can be extremely confusing. My very first frustration with GIMP, I clearly remember, was drawing a straight line! Yep, it's true. I could not figure out how to just draw a simple straight line! I had to ask one of my kids how. Yeah, mom can't draw a line. I still hear that one from them occasionally.

Hubpages brings my two favs together for me; writing content and creating stuff with GIMP. Everything I post on my hubs is created through GIMP. I play with the .gif file creation option a lot. I create it on my computer with GIMP, then I upload my .gif to my Youtube account, then I copy the code and paste it in a hubpages video capsule. It's very rewarding to post your own creation, and it actually looks good!

Does creating .gif objects sound like something you would be interested in? Follow along and I'll show you how to get it done!

Short Sample Of GIMP .GIF

An Animation

As you can see in the video above; A .gif is an animation file. Your final animation won't be choppy like the one above. I had to do some fancy editing to get it onto hubpages, and it separated each frame causing it to look choppy. My apologies.

There's a lot to be written for creating a .gif, but don't let the length of this hub deter you. Many of the steps are minor, and repeated. Minor as in open a file, make it whatever by whatever size and click enter. Stuff like that.

Let's get started. I will assume you have GIMP downloaded already. If not, I'll wait here while you go download it. There's a link in the first paragraph if you like. I'll meet you back here once you have it installed. :)

Open New And Layers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start a New project. Click File -> NewThis option window appears.  Choose the size of your project (I made this one 250 x 250)Click OK.The Floating Layers Box and the Duplicate Layer button.Create your first frame and re-name it by clicking on the name "background" that gimp gave it, replacing it with your own.Create a duplicate.Create your second frame.
Start a New project. Click File -> New
Start a New project. Click File -> New | Source
This option window appears.  Choose the size of your project (I made this one 250 x 250)Click OK.
This option window appears. Choose the size of your project (I made this one 250 x 250)Click OK.
The Floating Layers Box and the Duplicate Layer button.
The Floating Layers Box and the Duplicate Layer button. | Source
Create your first frame and re-name it by clicking on the name "background" that gimp gave it, replacing it with your own.
Create your first frame and re-name it by clicking on the name "background" that gimp gave it, replacing it with your own.
Create a duplicate.
Create a duplicate.
Create your second frame.
Create your second frame.

Step-By-Step Instructions For A GIMP .GIF

  • Locate where you put GIMP and start the program.
  • Open a new project. File -> New -> Pop-Up Box
  • In the Pop-Up Box indicate what size you want your project to be. The default is 640 x 400. You can use the drop-down menu to choose, or enter your own dimensions. For this article I used 200 x 200 px.

In the blank project that opens there should be a palette of tools on the left, and another Layers palette on the right, with your canvas in the middle. If these palettes are not showing click: Windows -> Toolbox or Ctrl + b. This will bring up the tools palette and: Windows -> Dockable Dialogs -> Layers will bring up the Layers menu.

  • On the canvas area create the first frame of your .gif . This can be done with drag-n-drop, paste, or your own creation with the tools palette.
  • When you finish the first frame go to the Layers palette. At the bottom of the palette is a Duplicate layer icon, Click it. Now you should have 2 layers in your Layer palette. One named Background and the other is Background (copy 1) .

Now, we are going to change the name of the layers to something that makes sense to you. It can be anything, for example: frame1, layer1, first, etc. To do this:

  • Double click on the word Background. The word should light up in blue. Click Delete. The word should be gone now and you can type in your own title.
  • Then click Enter.
  • Do the same thing to the other layer. Every time you make a new layer change the name.

As you create new layers, the old layer scrolls down, and the new layer is placed above it. So, looking at your layers box, the layer on top is the new one.

Now your going to create the second frame of your .gif. To do this:

  • Click the eyeball on the bottom (first frame). Then, click the top frame (the one just created) so it is highlighted in blue.

What this does is allows you to erase what is on the screen without affecting your first frame. Highlighting the top one in blue tells GIMP this is the one I am working on.

  • Go ahead and create your second frame.
  • When you are done, rename it, click on duplicate layer, when the new layer appears at the top, turn off the eyeball on the one below it, and highlight it in blue, and create your third frame. And so on, until you have created all the frames you want for your .gif.

Preview Playback

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Duplicate icon.Here is where you change the name and enter the desired frame speed in milliseconds.My Layers box with the name I chose and the frame time in milliseconds.Where the playback button is located.Pop-up preview window. Press Play.
Duplicate icon.
Duplicate icon. | Source
Here is where you change the name and enter the desired frame speed in milliseconds.
Here is where you change the name and enter the desired frame speed in milliseconds.
My Layers box with the name I chose and the frame time in milliseconds.
My Layers box with the name I chose and the frame time in milliseconds.
Where the playback button is located.
Where the playback button is located.
Pop-up preview window. Press Play.
Pop-up preview window. Press Play.

Play It And Save It

Now that you have all your frames complete you are going to want to preview the .gif before saving it:

  • Click Filters -> Animation -> Playback. Your .gif will appear in a pop-up window. Push Play.


Is it ridiculously fast? You can change that! GIMP counts frames in the milliseconds. So, if you want your frames to go slower we have to add a little message in the Layers box. The message will use milliseconds for the speed. If you want the frame to last 1 second, put 1000ms. If you want it to last 2 seconds, put 2000ms. And so on. Like this:

  • Close the pop-up window.
  • Go to your layers menu and double click on the name you created in the top frame. Then click one more time so your cursor is in the word for editing.
  • Arrow left, or right, to reach the end of name you created. Right after the name add the milliseconds plus ms in parenthesis. Like this: (1000ms) or (3000ms) or (5000ms) whatever you want for the speed.
  • Hit enter. The time is now set for that frame.

Do this to every frame. Every frame does not have to be the same speed. Some can be faster, some can be slower, it's up to your liking.

  • Now, play it again: Filters -> Animation -> Playback


Is it playing at a speed you like now? If not, go back and raise, or lower, the number on the frame you want to change. Do this until it is how you want it.

Save As .gif

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Select File -> Export As...Select where you want GIMP to store the file on your computer and make sure the file extension is .gif!Put a check mark in the box AS ANIMATION.
Select File -> Export As...
Select File -> Export As...
Select where you want GIMP to store the file on your computer and make sure the file extension is .gif!
Select where you want GIMP to store the file on your computer and make sure the file extension is .gif!
Put a check mark in the box AS ANIMATION.
Put a check mark in the box AS ANIMATION.

Save It!

When you have the frames playing at the speed you want, and all the frames are edited to your liking, it is time to save it!

Saving any file, that is not a GIMP file, must be exported:

  • Click file -> click export as.

The window that pops-up is important. This is where you name your .gif and select where you want GIMP to store it for you.

In the name field, type the name AND .gif after. The default extension is usually .jpg, or .png. These are both still photo extensions. You need to delete that from the filename field and enter the name you choose and .gif (with the dot) to tell GIMP this is an animation.

  • Now click on export. (Export is at the bottom right).

Another screen will pop-up. GIMP needs to verify if this is indeed a .gif file. Put a check mark in the box As Animation. Click Export. Nothing else in that pop-up needs to be changed because you have already set the speed in your .gif.

Now it's time to play it for real! Locate where you saved the .gif on your computer. Double click on it and it will play in the default player.

You can send it to friends in email, in a message, to a phone!

You did it! Congratulations!


Step-By-Step .gif Creation in GIMP

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