These are a few things I use/try to adhere to when making gifs. I use Photoshop to make gifs, so these tips are with Photoshop in mind.
-SPEED- If you’re using Photoshop and the “video frames to layers” tool, I suggest choosing “limit to every 2 frames”. It cuts down on unnecessary filler frames that you don’t need. If you do this, most of the time you’ll use the normal .07 speed. If you want it a bit slower, go for .08 or .09 and beyond.
-SIZE- Tumblr allows gifs up to 1mb. Keep them small by:
1.Deleting every other frame, or every third frame, or every 4th frame. (I try not to do this so much anymore because it can make your gifs choppy.) It can work and still look good though. Just eyeball it.
2.Make the dimensions of your gif smaller. I generally try to keep my gifs at least 400px wide though.
3. Choose the content of your gif wisely. Since I’ve been mindful of this, it’s a lot easier to keep the size under control.
4. Make your gif grayscale. The displaying of colors is what eats up the file size of the gif.
5. Up the “lossy” setting. Lossy gifs don’t look tooooo bad, but if you need to knock off 10kb or something it can be the extra push you need.
6. If theres a spot in your animation that doesn’t move for the entire length of the gif, select it, right-click the selection and click “layer via copy” and then drag the newly created layer to the top of the stack. Now that unmoving spot will use only one frame to display, as opposed to 20 or so. This *greatly* reduces file size. It’s like the arch nemesis of big files sizes. It’s called masking.
7. Generally, I try to keep all gifs under 20 frames. For 400 px wide gifs, 18 frames seems to be a good average amount. For 500 px wide gifs, 14 or 15 frames seems to be the average.
8. Use “Optimize To File Size” and set it to 998kb. That way, photoshop does all the fine tuning for you, and you can just decide if you like the way the gif looks before you save it. If you set it at 1mb it can tend to go over a bit and won’t display properly.
FILTER - When saving your gif, you can choose between 2 or 3 filters. I use the “pattern” filter almost exclusively because the animations look smoother. Although if your gif has a lot of smoke or dust or particles, you want to use the diffusion filter. If you have trouble keeping your gif sizes down, use diffusion. If you have mastered the size problem, use pattern. There is also the “noise” filter, which can look good in some cases. Mess around with it and see what you like.
ACTIONS - Once you get into gif making, you may find yourself performing lots of the same actions over and over. The actions tool in photoshop simplifies everything and makes life easy. For instance, if you decide you like removing even frames, open the “actions” pane and click the “new action” button. Name it “remove even frames” and then click “record”. Then select all the even frames of your animation, then delete them. Then click the stop button in the actions pane. Now, every time you want to remove even frames, you just open the actions pane, highlight “remove even frames” and click the “play” button. This is just an example, but using actions, you can automate tons of common gif-making steps and save a lot of time and tedium.
OTHER STUFF - If you’re going to make a gif from something really obscure, make it interesting. People either like something because they know about it or because it’s interesting. Throw em a frickin bone.