The Making of a Book GIF


Just to preface this post, I did not create a GIF of an entire book (but that would be a cool, if slightly useless, thing to do). Rather, I’m making some book-related GIFs today. I’m a sucker for a great GIF, and after I downloaded the Rapid Burst Camera app on my phone today, the obvious thing to do was make a GIF.

So I grabbed the closest book (The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen), and went to town. Not bad, eh?

turn a page

Just as the name suggests, Rapid Burst Camera takes a bunch of pictures really quickly, which gives you all the raw material you need to make a GIF. From here, there are a couple of options for creating your GIF.

Making a GIF with Rapid Burst Camera
The quickest option is to use the GIF animator that’s built into the Rapid Burst app. There are number of limited options including size and frames per second. Select what you want, wait while the app processes the photos, and out comes your animation.
Pros: Quick, easy, no fancy software needed.
Cons: No fine-tuning or control over the size of the GIF. If your file is larger than 500k, many websites including Tumblr and Facebook will only display a still image, not the animation.

Making a GIF with Photoshop
I used this method to make the GIF above. Start by downloading the photos to your computer. Then open a new Photoshop file, and drag all the photos you want to use into the new file. Each will appear as a separate layer. At this point, you’ll want to adjust the image size (Image -> Image Size). I reduced the resolution to 72 dpi and the size to 500 pixels wide. Using the animation panel (Window -> Animation), you can then create a slide per photo and adjust the amount of time per slide. To further reduce the file size, I deleted a few frames here and there. To save the GIF, go to File -> Save for Web & Devices. You’ll get a window with more options on how you want to save the file. I chose GIF 64 Dither under Presets, then reduced the dither a little more to bring the final file size below 500k. Gizmodo has good a tutorial on making a GIF from a video file.
Pros: More control, better outcome.
Cons: More steps, takes longer.

I hope to see more book-related GIFs on the web as soon as you all read this post!

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Author: Hannah Johnson

When I first came to New York City, I almost ran over Liza Minelli with my suitcase. Then I got a job in book publishing.

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