okay i actually put this under a cut because it turned out a lot longer than i first expected
first of all, thank you so much for asking me! it’s pretty flattering tbh so i appreciate it
i’m gonna answer this as if i’m answering about gifs more than anything else because i’m better at gifs than graphics (oh god i still have a lot of work to do on those)
gifs are simpler, in my opinion, because they require less …. …. mmmh— i don’t know, just less! at least, for me.
so to improve your gifmaking skills, remember that patience is key. it takes time and if you look at my first gifs compared to now, you’ll see the results. so here is my list of tips!
- DO NOT CUT CORNERS!!! programs that easily import your frames are sometimes not the best, being too lazy to sharpen each frame is going to make the quality less fantastic and trying to use the same PSD on every set you make will eventually leave you running into problems (like color issues). so all in all, take your time
- LOOK AT EXAMPLES. look at the gifs that people make that you really like— if they’re simple scenes, or if they have text on them, look at the techniques they use. how do they present their gifs? do they set up the set in a way that has a flow or is it just a scene in sequence? remember these things as you’re making the set and imagine how you’re going to lay it out on tumblr. it gives your final product a flow!
- USE GOOD PROGRAMS. there are several points to make about this. aside from using photoshop, there are programs you can use to help you with making gifs. most are free, or available free somewhere. programs like avidemux (good for lower quality videos) and KMplayer (good for HQ videos) are good for helping you capture frames (though one is much easier to use than the other). you can also directly import into photoshop, but only if the file type is right. if not, the other programs help tremendously and let you avoid converting (which sometimes doesn’t work right.) programs that help you download directly from youtube, like the ultimate youtube downloader (this is great for finding HQ videos with the scenes you want, or interviews and clips). if you use something like avidemux, you’ll end up having to capture frame-by-frame using screenshots. if you’re using a mac, the screens go directly to your desktop (though you might end up with a LOT), but if you’re using a PC this can be difficult. i use a program called greenshot to help me capture all of the screenies i need and put them directly into a folder for use on photoshop later.
- ACTIONS!!!! using the actions tool on photoshop will save your life and so much of your time and probably prevent carpal tunnel and mania.
- LOOK FOR HQ IF YOU CAN. the higher the quality of the clips you’re using, the easier your gifs or stills are going to be to make. i can’t stress how much it’s helped me lately. your gifs /graphics will come out crisper and cleaner without doing much.
- DO NOT OVERUSE TOPAZ CLEAN. please. (if you use it at all, that is.)
- S H A R P E N. if you can’t find HQ, sharpen but don’t overdo it. nothing is worse than a dull image! that being said, avoid .jpg/.jpeg if you’re doing screenshots and shoot for higher quality images like .png for each frame
- USE TEMPLATES AND TUTORIALS! photosets can be tricky when you’re trying to get the right size. i ALWAYS resize my work within photoshop (change the canvas size to the tumblr dimensions) so that they fit neatly and show exactly the way i want them to. using tumblr pages such as welovetemplates and fyeahtutorial are big helps. resources are also saviors. ask friends for more and look for the #resource, #reference, or #tutorial tags of your favorite blogs!
- PSDs CAN HELP YOU LEARN. but do not depend on them forever. PSDs are great for helping you get a feel of what certain features do— like vibrance or selective coloring and are great tools to help you balance out the colors on your gif. eventually, you’ll be able to figure out how to do these things on your own. look at different PSDs and see what the creator did to get the colors just right. if you like using PSDs, feel free to use them as long as you’re comfortable, but make sure to ‘like’ or reblog the original post if the author asks! (it’s just a nice gesture)
- MASKING WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE. masking is really hard for me, so tammy has a really good little tutorial on how to do masking and reduce the size of the gif to meet tumblr’s standard. remember, under 1MB is gold.
- BE AWARE OF TUMBLR’S LIMITS. she can’t handle you. this way you don’t end up with odd-looking sets.
- THE SMALLER YOUR GIF, THE MORE FRAMES YOU CAN HAVE. and likewise, the larger the gif, the fewer frames tumblr can handle. keep this in mind. i usually keep large gifs between 12-18 frames and smaller gifs can go anywhere between 20-40 depending (smaller gifs are great for scenes or lots of text art)
- DOWNLOAD AND HOARDE. gather all of the fonts and textures that your computer can handle. sometimes you’ll have “go-to” resources and sometimes you’ll stumble upon one that’s EXACTLY what you’re looking for. follow people that make PSDs, fonts and textures because they will save your life.
- ASK QUESTIONS. if you like something someone did, ask them how they did it or if they are willing to share. if you’re confused, curious or what-have-you, just message people. most people are really happy to answer your questions and help you out to the best of their ability. i haven’t come across anyone so stubborn that they don’t want to help out on basics.
- WATERMARKS. if you use them, keep them small and out-of-the-way. nothing ruins a graphic or gif more than an obnoxious watermark.
- DON’T CRY IF SOMEONE REPOSTS YOU. report them (even if you use missing-e or xkit, you can report a tumblr user for stealing your work). that’s it. and be a little flattered that they liked your stuff enough to try stealing it.
- REBLOG YOURSELF IF YOU WANT. but be courteous of your dash. you deserve to promote your hard work if you want to.
- HAVE FUCKING FUN. do not stress yourself out. do not feel like you’re OBLIGATED to make gifs/graphics/anything, because you are not. enjoy what you’re making, enjoy the process and feel satisfied with the final product.
- DO NOT STRESS ABOUT NOTES. they are not important. they do not matter.
okay i think that’s all i can think of for now
again, thank you so much for asking and feel free to hit me up again if you’d like!! i am by no means an expert, this is all based on my own personal experience.