Importing animated GIF files into Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended
Posted by John Dangerbrooks
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended is a major upgrade over its predecessor. This version of Photoshop is able to do everything Photoshop CS2 and ImageReady CS2 could do combined… even importing animated GIF files, which Adobe officially says “is impossible”.
In Photoshop CS3, if you try to open an animated GIF file using File menu, Open… command, you will only get the first frame. Similarly, you cannot use File menu, Save… command to save your animation as an animated GIF file: You will only be saving the first frame. Officially, you can save your animations using File menu Save For Web and Devices… command. However, there is no official way of opening an animated GIF file in Photoshop CS3. Adobe’s official recommendation is to use the Fireworks which ships with Photoshop CS3.
When I was working with Photoshop CS3 Extended, I realized that it uses QuickTime API to access video. It is not the best solution on Windows, but it is a cross-platform solution. Fortunately, QuickTime recognizes animated GIF as a valid video format. So, all you have to do to import an animated GIF file into Photoshop is:
- Open Photoshop CS3 Extended
- From File menu, choose Import, Video Frames to Layers…
The Load dialog box will appear, asking you to select a file.
- Navigate to the folder that contains your animated GIF file.
The Load dialog box will not show any of your animated GIF files… yet.
- Type *.gif in File Name field and press Enter key on your keyboard.
The Load dialog box will show your GIF files, including animated GIF files.
- Select and open the animated GIF file you wish to import.
Import Video to Layers dialog box will appear.
- Make sure Make Frame Animation box is checked.
- Set the Range To Import settings according to your needs. You might like to select From The Beginning To End and do all your trimmings in Photoshop.
- Click OK button whenever you are ready to import.
Photoshop will now process you animated GIF file and will import it as a frame animation.
Now, you can edit the imported animation via Animation palette. If you wish to suspend editing temporarily and resume later, save your work as a Photoshop PSD file. Once you have completed editing your animation, you can export it to an animated GIF file using Save For Web and Devices… command in File menu.