Written by: Derek Watterson
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Photoshop is an incredibly powerful tool that is capable of doing many things, but the trick is figuring out how to get it to do what it does. Editing an animated GIF in Photoshop CS4 is easy… when you know the steps to take. With these steps you can edit an animated GIF using Photoshop CS3 or CS4 using a Mac or a PC.
Edited Animated GIF in Photoshop Home Architects animated GIF

To open an animated .gif on mac cs4, click open, select your GIF, then in the bottom left corner of the open file dialogue box select Quicktime Movie as the format, then open your GIF.
edit GIF animation in Photosohp
You’ll need to open your animations window by going to window then clicking on “animation”. This will bring up a time line that you’ll have to get familiar with.

Open Animated GIF CS4 If you want to have all of the frames broken up into layers, click the options in the animation window, and select Flatten Frames into Layers. This will give you access to all the frames as layers and you can now edit the GIF as though it was a movie.

In my case, I didn’t need the last step.  I had an animated GIF where the animation was perfect.  I just wanted to edit the static parts of the GIF. So rather than editing each frame or the layer for each frame, I created a new layer on top of them all and entered new text and home architect’s logo.

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23 Responses to “Editing an Animated GIF in Photoshop CS4”

  1. This helped a lot
    Cheers!

  2. This article saved my life today! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Roo du Jardin on April 16th, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Yes, same here. Been scanning sites for some time looking for animated gif info. No luck until I found this post. Cheers.

  4. thankies this is very helpful =D

  5. There is no Quicktime selection in the dropdown. Do I need an update or plugin?

  6. CS4 on a mac you shouldn’t need a plugin. Did you make your open dialog box look just like the picture with all formats selected?

  7. It was so easy i don’t know why they just don’t let you open them normally to begin with.

  8. So, CS can work as ImageReady now? Thanks for this!

  9. There is no Quicktime selection for me on mac as well. Why could this be?

  10. Thanks for the feedback everyone! @Joseph Adobe software is really powerful, but often very quirky. @cb & maribel Make sure the enable drop down is set to “All Documents” then you should be able to see QuickTime Movie under Format.

  11. you said mac OR pc. How to open in pc??

  12. go to Window/Workspace/Video this will set all the interface for “video-editing”

  13. Make sure you go to File -> “Open as…” and not just “Open” for anyone who is not seeing the option.

  14. yeah… none of this works. I have CS3 on a mac and there is no “Quicktime Movie” format. I tried “open” & “Open as” I had it set to “all documents” & “all readable documents”. I tried renaming the.gif extension as .mov. I tried Import -> video frames to layers, it doesn’t open .gifs. I tried Import -> video frames to layers, after renaming the .gif as a .mov this actually opened it but it is still one flat image – no layers or frames. What’s up with crappy CS3?

  15. thanks, works perfect in cs4 on pc. I used “Open as…” … “Quicktime Movie” and workspace for video (Window/Workspace/Video)

  16. Thank you. I used oliverpecha’s suggestion to change the window/workspace/video interface to “video-editing” so I could edit frame-by-frame. To save my edited file I clicked Save for Web & Devices, made sure the settings were correct (save as GIF, check lower right corner to make sure it was looping since I needed that) and clicked OK. Worked great!

  17. After doing the above, with no changes made, when I save as a .gif, it is no longer animated. How would I accomplish the goal?

  18. May help to save it for web & devices (from the file menu). In the save screen you’ll also have the option to preview the gif to make sure it’s animated.

  19. Thank you Sooooo much!
    This worked as you noted above … makes using Pshop with animated GIFs a workable solution… where I thought I might have to bail and go use Gimp! You Rock!

  20. Mac/CS4 – no option for Quicktime, yes I tried both “open” and “open as smart object” no option just for “open as” … no option for QT? (pouting)

  21. Christine, Make sure you have the latest version of Quicktime. It may be something that just Photoshop Extended can do?

  22. Great! I had an animated GIF where the animation was fine, but I needed to crop out a part of the image. I followed the steps as above and then used File – Save for Web and Devices to re-save the file. On that screen, on the right-hand side under the Color Table you can confirm or change the animation settings (“Looping Options”) and you can also preview the individual layers in the GIF. Gracias!

  23. The difference in opening files and file formats could be in the fact that Design Premium ships with programs for Web. I have Design Standard and I do not have the (extra) file formats for opening the GIFs.I looked in the extensions and plug ins, file formats folders and cannot find anything I could copy over from Design Premium photoshop to Design Standard. Do I just need an update? CS4 on a mac.

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