How to Improve the Quality of a GIF File

By Daniel Ketchum

There are many types and formats of graphics file. The particular type used depends on the nature of the project. For example, if you want to create a quality copy of an image to print on your home printer, a JPEG is a good choice. An image that will be printed on T-shirts must be saved in format such as PNG that preserves transparency. If you are creating a simple animation based on images, use a GIF format. To improve the quality of a GIF animation file, consider how you will use the file and adjust the settings accordingly.

Things You'll Need

  • Animation software

Step 1

Load the images you want to use onto your computer, saving them all to a single folder. Copy the images directly from a digital camera or a storage device such as a flash drive or CD. If you scan them in, the quality will be reduced. Number the images in the sequence you want for the animation.

Step 2

Open the program you are using (such as Photoshop or GIMP) to compile your animation. Load the images in the sequence you selected.

Step 3

Adjust the output settings for the GIF animation. Choose GIF as the output type and select a size and resolution for the animation. Generally, animated GIFs are fairly small, at about 100 by 100 pixels or less. Most things that go on the web should be at 72 pixels per inch. As you preview the different resolution settings, you will notice that you can often make significant reductions in resolution without a noticeable effect on the appearance of the images. But there will be a point beyond which they degrade. The exact numbers will depend on your needs and the particular images you use.

Step 4

Choose the number of colors you want for you animation. This is where many people make a mistake in making GIF images or animation. You might think that by using an uncompressed GIF file with the full range of colors available in the GIF palette, you would get better quality. But by using a lower number (128, for example), you can achieve much better results in your GIF file while also reducing the size of the file. When you have made your selections, save your work as a GIF.