Ever seen those fancy pants animated GIFs on Google+ pages (e.g. Red Bull’s Page: http://bit.ly/rEG9bj)? Ever wanted to do one yourself? Me too.
Thus I tried. I failed. I tried again. I succeeded! Here is how I did it:
Start a new Flash Document
Modify the document dimensions to match 827px x 150px (at 24 Frames Per Second).
Make your animation
Remember the animation needs to loop, and the elements need to stay low in file size. To make your animation effective, conceptualise something that plays on the idea of having 5 windows.
Export your movie
Once you have completed your movie, export it is a Quicktime movie (.mov) by going to Export > Movie…
Import it into Photoshop
Now go into Photoshop (Windows Users IMPORTANT: you have to have 32bit Photoshop for the next bit!) and go to File > Import > Video Frames To Layers. When the dialogue box pops up, ensure the frame animation tick-box is checked.
Hoorah. You’re flash movie should now be separated by keyframe as individual layers. What a godsend! Now, test the animation in the animation pane (Window > Animation) and see if its as you want it. Play around with the pause times between layers if you choose (Hold shift on the animation frames if you want to modify them together).
Set guides on your document
Next, we separate our document into 150px X 150px boxes (they have to be these exact dimensions for the GIFs to work in Google) . To do this, click the selection tool, and change the style in the top toolbar to ‘Fixed Size’. Set the size to 150px x 150px. Click on the end of the document for the selection to appear.
Ensure your Guides and Rulers are on and drag a guide to the end of your box.
Crop your document
Now you have all your guides in place, you can simply click a fixed sized selection box (150px X 150px again) and crop the document (Image > Crop) to the size.
Save your cropped GIF
Next, go to ‘Save for Web and Devices’ or Ctrl + Alt/Cmd + Shift + S.
Save your cropped image as an Animated GIF, go back to your Photoshop image and immediately Undo (Ctrl + Z) to get to the stage before your previous crop.
Repeat the process
Repeat the process with the other boxes until your get 5 separate gifs. Try and ensure all of your gif file sizes are relatively the same (this will determine the likeliness of them loading in sync on the Google page).
Import to you Google+ Page
Go to your page in Google and edit your profile. Add your photos in chronological order (Far left being 1, Far right being 5). Save and refresh your page.
Your all done! Refresh again if your gifs aren’t yet in sync, sometimes it takes a few page loads for the browser to catch up on itself.
Have a look at our Google Page as an example: http://bit.ly/w0YFMh