How to make an animated logo with free software only
Want to create a simple GIF of e.g. your company logo?
It's really not that difficult, simply follow these 5 easy steps!
Creating a GIF from scratch
Many compare it to Photoshop, as it has a lot of the functionality, although Photoshop, of course, will still win for professional purposes, but GIMP will do just fine.
Before we start I’d like to say you can undo an action by pressing Ctrl + Z when you make a mistake. Once you get the hang of it, You can do this under 10 minutes (I timed it!).
Step 1: Getting GIMP ready
Alright, so you installed GIMP and fired it up, it will probably look similar to this.
To open GIMP in one window, you go to Windows > Single-Window Mode
Now open the image you want to animate. To open an image go to File > Open and then select your file. Alternatively, you can press CTRL + O.
Step 2: Adding and editing an object
What differentiates GIMP and Photoshop from Paint and similar programs is the ability to create layers.
Each layer can be edited individually, so you can edit parts of your image without having to touch the other one. This may sound a bit complicated but once we’re working with it, it will all become clear.
I am using this flower as an example.
Save the image. Now go to File > Open as Layers (or press Ctrl + Alt + O) and select the image.
If you choose to copy-paste it from your browser, a Floating Selection will appear. Make it editable by adding it to a new layer.
The flower will have a white square around it. To erase this we will use the Select By Color Tool.
Use it by pressing Shift + O or by going to Tools > Selection Tools > By Color Select. Make sure the layer with your flower is selected and click anywhere in the white space around the flower. A moving dotted line should appear around the flower, press delete to remove the white space.
If the flower is too big or too small, you can alter its size with Tools > Transform Tools > Scale or press Shift + T.
This is what you have now:
Step 3: Making the object move
Remember how I was talking about layers in the previous step? GIMP will see each layer as one frame of your GIF. We will be making the flower move to the right, so on each frame, we will move the flower a little bit.
The first thing we do is make sure the flower is attached to the same layer as the logo, this can be done by merging the layers. Make sure the 2 layers are on top of each other and right-click the upper one. Next select ‘Merge Down’.
Now that you only have one layer (if you still have a Background layer you can merge that one as well) it’s time to make the flower move!
Duplicate the layer by right-clicking it and select Duplicate Layer. Select your newly created layer. Press R or go to Tools > Selection Tools > Rectangle Select and select the area around the flower. To move the flower press Ctrl + Alt and drag it to the left with your mouse.
You’ll see a Floating Selection appear. Add it to your duplicated layer by right-clicking and pick Anchor Layer. You will be left with 2 flowers on your image.
To remove the previous one press R and use the Rectangle Select Tool to make a selection around the flower you want to remove. Now you can simply paint over it with the Paintbrush Tool. Make sure your color is white (or the color you want to paint in). You now have your logo with one flower.
Again a GIF for the more visual:
To add more frames to your GIF, simply rinse and repeat.
Step 4: Exporting your image
To export your file, go to File > Export As. Give your file the name you want and add .gif (very important!) at the end. Press ‘Export’. You may get a warning telling you several layers are bigger than the image’s boundaries, then select ‘Crop’.
Next, you will get a window titled ‘Export Image as GIF’. Make sure ‘As animation’ is checked, otherwise you will get a static image. You can also adjust the time you want between frames, its default values are at 100 milliseconds.
Now press ‘Export’ one more time and you are done! I added 2 more frames to mine and this is the result:
Want to share your newly animated logo with the rest of the world? Here's an easy guide on branding your survey. Congratulations, you made your GIF! Have fun gathering data!