Karolina | 94 liner
TUTORIAL: HD GIFS
Hello, about a month ago a few people asked me for a tutorial on how I make koala tea gifs. So I thought why not. Just let me say I’m not a professional. I’m just an amateur editor who once had found the “import video frames to layers” option in Photoshop and from that day forth began the gif’ing. So this isn’t THE way of making gifs HD, this is jut my way.
I admit I’ve never made a tutorial in my life so I checked out some other tutorials to get the idea of how they’re usually made. One thing I noticed is that none of the gif tutorials I came across showed how to make a psd. It was only mentioned that they just drag the old ones which they had made
Tools used for this tutorial:
Step 1 - The video
This is gonna be specifically about korean videos, just because I’m experienced the most with these. Doesn’t mean it’s completely different with other types of videos though.
Okay, the first thing you have to know is that hq videos are a must. You have to download a video that is at least 720p (I still recommend 1080p though). Sometimes if I can’t find a video that is hq I don’t make gifs at all but that’s just me. Because if you use a video which isn’t high quality, your dreams of making HD gifs go pretty much down the drain before you even start making them, I’m not even kidding it is a big deal. Basically the videos that have the highest quality are usually:
You shouldn’t have any problems with these two. Usually stage performance videos are the tricky ones because they have all the factors that can make your gif look terrible. For example: different lighting, weird colors and also the camera moves around a lot which makes the videos noisy. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t happen all the time and the gifs can still come out flawless.
If you want to make an HD gif of a stage performance, then don’t download an mp4 video from youtube, take your time and search for a .tp or a .ts format instead and then convert it to HD mp4. You need a good converter so the quality remains high. Personally, I use Aiseesoft Total Video Converter but I guess any converter is fine as long as it converts .ts or .tp videos.
Sometimes you may download a performance video with a .tp or a .ts format but you’ll find that the quality still isn’t all that flawless. Again I recommend not to gif it unless you absolutely have to. But if you do it, it would require more Topaz Denoise and you’ll probably need to add more Photoshop adjustments till it looks decent enough to save.
I think I’ve mentioned everything you need to know about videos. Let’s move on.
Step 2 - Importing to Photoshop and improving the quality
Okay so we converted our video it’s time to import it to Photoshop.* File>import>video frames to layers. Choose the scenes you want and click ok.
I’ve chosen one of Miss A’s performances which has a dark background.
So we’ve chosen our scene, now we need to resize the gif. I’m going to make it the usual small size 245x155 since the smaller the gif the better quality it has or at least looks like it does.
Before sharpening and cleaning the gif, delete all the frames you don’t need. The frames should be up to 35-40 frames at most, depending on the video so don’t use any more than that. So if there are too many, delete some from the beginning or ending not from the middle! After that we need to sharpen the gif and clean it up a bit. Of course you probably don’t want to add those filters manually to each frame, luckily I’ve recorded two actions, here they are, all you need to do is load the action to Photoshop
and press play. It will do all the magic for you guys. Always use Detail first, Denoise comes second. Though you can always create your own actions if you want~
!!IMPORTANT!! Apparently the action doesn’t work on the newest versions of Topaz. So you should either create your own action or use an older version of Topaz. The version used here is: Topaz Detail 2.0.5; Topaz DeNoise 5.01.
If anyone wants to know the settings I use for Topaz Detail and Denoise here they are:
Detail is on the left, Denoise is on the right.
If you’re going to use my actions, the Topaz Bundle is a must have.
So after you use both of these actions the quality should improve somewhat like this:
*Tip. Don’t delete every second or third or whichever frame. Because the more frames there are the better the movement of the gif looks. And that also makes the noise less visible after you save it. Since the limit is now 1mb, sacrificing half of the frames isn’t necessary. Though if you really want to gif a scene that has more than 40 frames I suggest splitting it into or more two gifs.
I know there are exceptions but the more you avoid doing that, the better ^^
Step 3 - Creating a .psd
So we‘ve sharpened and cleaned our gif and the result looks pretty satisfying, even without a psd. Like I mentioned before, this is because the video is high quality. But if your video isn’t as quality as say the video I’m using, then don’t worry, you can make an HD gif of that video but you’ll have to compensate the video quality by creating a psd that would make that gif look HD.
In this case a psd isn’t necessary but a lot of other gifs require a psd. You might notice that after you save a gif it becomes all noisy and unattractive to look at. This is because of the video quality OR because the video has too many colors. So you would need to create a psd which would make all the colors match.
And that’s the hard part – figuring out what adjustments you should use. It’s easier for people who have been using Photoshop for awhile and know all the adjustments. But if you don’t know much about adjustments I suggest you also check out other tutorials about them on Tumblr or anywhere else, I’m sure there will be plenty of tutorials out there. I’m not going to describe every adjustment in detail, this is not that kind of a tutorial.
I hope you understand that every gif is different and every gif from a different video requires a different psd. One psd could look flawless on one gif but it can look terrible on another one. Of course it’s a good reference at first to get you started, but later on you should start making your own psds. The more gifs you make, the sooner you’ll start seeing what kind of a psd you should create. I’m just going to make you 1 gif today and show you 1 example of how I make psds. And I’ll create a download link where you’ll be able to download the psd. Basically, I can only show you one of the ways, you’ll have to figure out the rest yourself.
If the gif is 250px wide or less, never ever ever ever ever sacrifice color for the sake of the limit. We’re making HD gifs here, so always try to make it look as best as you can. If you’re worried about the limit then delete a few frames before saving.
Make sure you DO NOT mixup the order of the adjustment layers when you’re following this tutorial!
1. First thing you have to do is make sure you’re adding adjustments above all the layers.
2. Now go to Windows>Adjustments and select Gradient Map. The colors are d78400 and 4f3630. Click Ok. And then make sure reverse is ticked and dither isn’t.
Change the opacity to 32% and switch the Blending mode to Screen. Duplicate this layer. Change the opacity of the duplicate to 80%.
I know this doesn’t look very well right now but trust me, it helps to reduce the noise after saving. I use this gradient for all of my gifs.
3. Below the Gradient Map layers create another 2 Gradient Fill layers. Only this time go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient Click ok. Change the settings:
Change the fill to 75% and duplicate this layer. I always use this when I want to focus on the subject I’m gif’ing, and also this helps the background look so much better when the gif is finished.
4. Now in between the layers gradient fill and gradient fill copy insert brightness and contrast from the adjustments menu. Change the contrast to -50. Lowering contrast makes the gif look a little more 3D.
5. Above all the layers create 3 selective color layers from the adjustments menu.
6. We‘re starting to add different colors to the gif. Choose Selective color 1 and change the settings to:
Neutrals: +16, +13, -27, -1
Blacks: 0, 0, 0, +100
Choose Selective Color 2 and change the settings to:
Neutrals: +12, +2, -7, 0
Blacks: 0, 0, 0, +48
Choose Selective Color 3 and change the settings to:
Reds: 0, 0, 0, +55
Yellows: +81, -17, -100, +12
Blues: 0, 0, 0, -100, 0
Neutrals: +36, +24, -9, +15
Blacks: 0, 0, 0, +100
The final result should look something like this:
Why did I use multiple selective color adjustment layers? Well it is difficult for me to explain this but it was all necessary. When the color is changed once, it’s hard to change it to a different color in the same selective color adjustment without ruining the entire look of the gif. You may notice this when you experiment with selective color.
7. We need to lighten up the gif. I don’t trust the Brightness adjustment so I use also Gradient Map for lightening up. Duplicate Gradient Map 1 and drag it above all layers.
8. Create selective color once again with these settings:
Reds: -49, +35, +46, +19
Blues: -26, +76, +100, 0
Magentas: 0, 0, +100, 0
9. We’ll give the colors more “liveliness”. Select Vibrance from the adjustments menu and change the vibrance settings to +43, leave the saturation 0.
10. Last step. It’s always nice when the red pops out a bit more than the other colors. And we also need to remove the yellow. So create another selective color but this time below all of the adjustment layers.
And change the settings to:
Reds: 0, +23, +54, 0
Whites: 0, 0, -100, 0
And we’re done.
Step 4 - Saving
File>Save For Web & Devices
The settings are default except for the colors. Make sure they’re always set to 256. As you can see my gif is already below 1mb. If yours is above then delete a few frames and save it.
Well that’s it. I hope this tutorial helps you eve a little bit. Sorry for any grammar mistakes, and for any explanations that weren’t clear enough. English isn’t really my primary language. If you have any more questions, then don’t hesitate, my ask is always available.