How to Slow Down a GIF on Tumblr

By Ashley Poland

The speed of an animated GIF image is defined by how long each frame is set to display; the longer each frame is set to, the slower the overall animation. If you want to take a GIF and slow it down, you will have to save the file to your computer and use some sort of application or program to take it apart and it put it back together -- easier than it sounds. GIF Ninja is a quick but less detailed way to handle this application online. But if you want more control, the free image-editing software GIMP handles basic GIF animation easily enough.

Using GIMP

Step 1

Download and install GIMP to your computer, if you don't have a version already. While GIMP is built for Linux, you can download Windows and OS X installation files from the GIMP.org website as well.

Step 2

Save the GIF you want to modify from Tumblr. Save two copies in case you decide you want to revert back to the original.

Step 3

Open the GIF file in GIMP. GIMP will automatically load each frame as a layer, which is how it handles animation. The first layer is on the bottom, the last layer is on the top. Each layer also has the speed defined in milliseconds, in parenthesis, e.g. "Frame 2 (100ms)". Open the Filters menu and go to "Animation" and then "Playback" to get a feel for how fast the animation is currently.

Step 4

Change the frame rate in milliseconds in the title of each layer. For instance, if you wanted to make an image with (100ms) for each half the speed, you would change each instance of (100ms) to (200ms). Test your speed in the Playback windows again. Once you're pleased with the new speed, save the file.

Step 5

Choose "Save as Animation" when prompted by the save menu.

GIF Ninja

Step 1

Right-click on the GIF you want to modify and save it to your computer.

Step 2

Go to GIFNinja.com and go to "Split an Animated GIF." Click the "Select Files" button and select the GIF you saved from Tumblr. The website will take a moment to separate and select each frame, and will offer you a ZIP file with each image; the button will be located at the very bottom, below the last frame.

Step 3

Open and extract the images from the original GIF, and then go to "Create an Animated GIF." Select the images you just extracted to rebuild the GIF. Once it's rebuilt, GIF Ninja will display an animated preview in the upper right corner of your screen.

Step 4

Scroll down below the frames to find the slider bar that changes the speed of your animation. Drag it further to the left to slow it down. Once you're pleased with the speed, title your animation and click "Looks Good, Build It!" Once it's built, you can choose to download the GIF to your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use GIMP to make other modifications to your images, such as changes in saturation and hue.
  • Do not modify a GIF image and pass it off as your own; the original creator undoubtedly spent a long time on the original image as is. If possible, contact the creator to see if he will approve you working with and picking apart his image.
  • GIF images that have been heavily optimized may not render correctly when using GIF Ninja, as optimization makes identical elements in every layer after the first one transparent, to reduce file size.