How to use Toon Boom to Create an Animated Gif

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I know what you’re thinking. Why would I want to know how to make an animated gif? Didn’t that stop being cool in 1998? Absolutely. However, when used properly an animated gif can be a useful and entertaining tool in your Toon Boom arsenal. In addition, animated gifs are actually recognized by Google and Yahoo. Links inside SWF files continue to elude the search engines.

This Toon Boom tutorial is also provided as a free video lesson. (10 minutes)
Click here to watch it now.

Overview

The plan for creating an animated gif from Toon Boom is:

  1. Identify the frames in Toon Boom to be exported.
  2. Export those frames as individual images.
  3. Import those images into ImageReady.
  4. Cleanup, crop and resize the images.
  5. Export as an animated gif.

Getting Started

To complete this tutorial you will need:

  • Toon Boom Studio (download free trial)
  • Adobe ImageReady

Identify the Frames to Export

Locate the frames in Toon Boom that you plan on exporting to ImageReady. You need to limit the playback to just these frames, so make sure Free Playback is selected by going to:

Play > Playback Range > Free

Select the first frame to be exported then go to:

Play > Playback Range > Change Playback Start Frame

Make sure that the frame number entered in the box is the correct frame, then hit ok. Now you can select the last frame to be exported then go to:

Play > Playback Range > Change Playback End Frame

Once again, ensure that the frame number entered is correct then hit ok again. Now if you hit play you should only see those chosen frames appear in your animation.

Export Frames as Images

Now you can export the chosen frames as individual images by going to:

File > Export Movie

Tip: The animated gif will be easier to create later if you create a new folder to export the images to.

You’ll see a utility box come up, with several options. First, select the location to export the images. Next, make sure “Image Sequence” is selected from the Export Format dropdown menu. Export Type should have “Timeline Current Scene” selected, and Export Range should have “Free Playback Range” selected. Hit ok, and the images will begin exporting.

Import the Images into ImageReady

Open ImageReady and go to:

File > Import > Folder as Frames

Navigate to the directory where you saved your images and select ok. ImageReady will now import all of the images in that directory, in order by name. Fortunately for you, Toon Boom was smart enough to put the frames in numerical order.

Cleanup the Images

If there are any flaws in the images now is the time to correct them. Cropping and resizing to your needed dimensions is a good idea to keep the final animated gif at a reasonable file size.

Tip: If two of your frames are identical, make sure the frame is displaying one image twice instead of two images once. Limiting the number of unique images will help keep the file size small.

Export the Animated Gif

Go to:

File > Save Optimized As

Use the dialog window to select a location for your animated gif, then hit “Save”.

You now know how to create an animated gif! Be sure to use this power for good. If you must use it for evil, please let me know so I can blog about it here.

Toon Boom Tutorial: Create Animated Gif


15 Responses to “How to use Toon Boom to Create an Animated Gif”

  1. Ugo Says:

    Nice and very clear tutorial. I’m sure lot of people will take use of this tutorial for I saw this kind of request pretty often.

    Going to point out people here if I ever get the question again.

    Thank you for the nice material you put on here.

    Ugo

  2. Will Says:

    Thanks Ugo. I’m trying to get the tutorials that we hear about all the time out of the way before moving on to the really cool stuff! Next up is lip syncing and rotoscoping.

    From there I hope to move on to special effects and character templates.

  3. chizi Says:

    i just bought a copy of toon boom and i need to get or have details on how to use toon boom to its fullest capacity.

  4. Will Says:

    That’s a big request Chizi, and a bit vague. Is there something in particular I can help you learn?

  5. ah-noh-no-muss Says:

    It should be an option to Export it as a GIF file. Maybe in a newer version?

  6. Will Says:

    I agree that it should be an option. However, they’re about to release version 4.5 and I don’t think this is going to be in there. It’s just not a priority for the development team.

  7. Jess Says:

    the newer versions of Photoshop got rid of Image ready. Is there another way of doing this?

  8. Will Says:

    @Jess, Actually, the newer versions of Photoshop integrated this ability. This video does a great job of walking you through that process:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWrwlg7N36I

  9. Karthik Says:

    Thank u 4 the good material u put on here. Nice keep it up……. i need some camera view tutorials…..??????????

  10. Robere Says:

    This is very detailed. Thx! :)

  11. cody morgan Says:

    is there any way i can do this without image ready? i have adobe photoshop cs5 and it didnt come with image ready D:

  12. Mike Says:

    It’s no longer called Imageready in CS 4 or 5, I believe it’s called “Fireworks”.

  13. felipe Says:

    caralho que legal porra

  14. Kathy Says:

    Thank you for the tut on creating an animated gif.

    Will the export method work to create an animated gif with a transparent background?

    ie….just the main character I am animating without any background images. As if each frame was a transparent png file.

    Tnx

  15. arglebargle Says:

    thank you for the help.

    It still makes me kind of mad to have to export over 100 images at a time to make a gif when the program should be doing that it’s self. D: