How to Make a GIF Animation for a Screensaver

Image Credit: Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images

Screensavers are those animated images that appear on computer monitors after they have sat idle for a given period. They serve the purpose of protecting the screen from pixel burn (an after image you can get on monitors) as well as being decorative. Many people use the screensavers that come supplied with their computer, while others like to download and install screensavers they buy or get for free online. But if you want to create a screensaver that is uniquely yours, you will want to make your own. You might have thought that this would require the services of a graphics artist, but you can create your own GIF screensaver using Photoshop or GIMP, a free program.

Step 1

Decide what you want your animated GIF to look like. You could have shapes flying across the screen, bars that rise and fall or falling snow. On favorite type is the photo slide show. To create one, load the images you want to use onto your computer by transferring them from a digital source or scan them in from printed photographs.

Step 2

Right-click on a clear area of your desktop, and from the options, select "Properties." In the dialog that opens, click on the "Settings" tab. At the bottom, you will see the numerical settings for your screen size (such as 1366x768 or 1024x768). Change nothing and close this dialog.

Step 3

Open Photoshop. Select "File" and click "New." In the new document dialog that opens, enter the width and height of your screen in pixels. Name this document "Screensaver 1," and click "OK."

Step 4

Select "File" and click "Open." In the dialog box, locate the images you loaded in step 1 and open them. Use the "Copy" and "Paste" functions under "Edit" to place the images in the "Screensaver 1" document.

Step 5

Select "Edit," then "Transform" and use the "Scale" to resize all the images so they completely fill the canvas. Some cropping will probably occur.

Step 6

Select "Windows" from the menu and click "Animation." A time line will appear at the bottom of the interface. Click on the little drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the time line and select "Make Frames from Layers."

Step 7

Click at the bottom of each frame in the time line to set the "Duration" that it will appear on the screen.

Step 8

Select "File" and click "Save for Web or Devices." In the dialog that opens, choose GIF as the file type. Then hit "Save" and save the file to a folder with nothing else in it.

Step 9

Right-click on your desktop and select "Properties." In the dialog, select the "Screensaver" tab and click on the drop-down menu. Choose "My Picture Show." Then click on "Settings." In the next dialog set the length set "How Often Should Picture Change?" to 3 minutes and the "How Big Should Pictures Be?" to 100 percent.

Step 10

Click on the "Browse" button and open the folder you saved the GIF to. Click "OK," then "Apply" and "OK" again.

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