How to Make an Animated GIF in GIMP?

By Jody S. Ginther Copyright © 2016 - All Rights Reserved

animated winking blinking girl

In this tutorial you will learn how to make 2D animated images or GIF animations to use on the web. We are using GIMP because it is free and just as good as expensive photo editing software. You can create an animated image by using a series of images or by creating your own image sequence, making each frame yourself. In this GIF tutorial you will learn how to make each animated frame in GIMP yourself. Let's make a simple animated eye that blinks. First, get GIMP here or open your favorite graphics program.

Next we create a simple winking eye from a png file. Our first example shows a girl winking and blinking, but to simplify it we will just make a single eye wink. You will understand the process and can add to it as you please.

girl eyes.png

1. You can download the girl-eyes.png still image by right clicking and choosing save as.
2. Open the file with GIMP.
3. Hold the Shift key and hit the + key to zoom in or use the View drop down menu to zoom.
4. You can click and drag the toolbar on the tool windows to move them.

5. Open the Layers window by going to Windows->Dockable Dialogues->Layers.

Gimp Layers Panel Converting image to RGB in Gimp when edit and paint are not working

6. Often when you open a file in GIMP the pencil or brush tool don't work to edit the image because it opens in Indexed color mode. To solve this problem change the Image color mode by going to->Image->Mode->RGB before you begin to paint on the image.

7. Left click the existing layer in the Layers toolbox.
Gimp Select Layer

8. Now Right Click and choose Duplicate Layer. Gimp Duplicate Layer

9. Double click the name of the bottom layer to rename it, "1" and the layer above to rename "2".

10. Now select layer 2 by left clicking on it.

11. Go to the Toolbox panel and make sure black is selected in the color box at the bottom. If not double click to open the color selection panel and click on the color you want.

12. In the same toolbox select the Pencil tool Gimp Pencil tool

13. You can change the size and other aspects of the pencil tool in the Tool Options panel

14. With layer 2 selected use the GIMP pencil tool to thicken the top eyelid line on the green eye. making an animated eye lid in gimp

15. Right click layer two and duplicate the layer.

16. Double click the name to rename the layer to the number "3".

17. Right click layer three, duplicate the layer and draw to cover half of the eye.

18. Double click the name to rename the layer to the number "4". Draw on layer 4 to close the eye.

20. Go to File->Export as->change the file name to have a .gif extension and click the export button

21. Check the "As animation" checkbox. Change the speed to 200 and make sure the loop forever box is checked. Then hit the export button and test your animation. exporting gif animation in gimp Your result should look like this: animated girl winking

Finally you can go back and adjust the speed if you don't like it by changing the settings in the export panel or adjust individual frame speed in Gimp by indicating the number of milliseconds that frame should be held. You do this by double clicking on the name and adding your speed in this format without the quotation markes; "1 (80ms)" where "1" is the name of the frame and "80ms" is the speed. single frame timing in gimp

I hope you enjoyed this 2D animation tutorial on making animated gif files with GIMP. You can add to this animation by adding blinking movements of both eyes like in the first animated image on this page or use your imagination to make this animation more interesting. Now you have the basic skills to create great 2d animated gif images in GIMP. The same general principles apply to other photo editing software. Remember to check out our 3D tutorials and support this page if you would like to see more tutorials on 2D animation.

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