My workflow to make animated screenshots
Animated GIFs are all the rage these days especially since they become bigger and longer thanks to better Internet bandwidth overall.
Between memes and reaction gif to convey more meaning than a smiley, there is another category that is rising as well: animated screenshots for games.
Indeed, if you look at the front page of the wonderful indie-friendly store itch.io, you’ll see plenty of animated GIFs describing efficiently what the game is about and gives a more dynamic communication about your work.
So I decided to give it a shot and do 1 animated screenshots for every piece of game I made until then in order to give more boost to my web page.
At first I was looking to generate those GIFs using code as I do it to create traditional screenshots at runtime, from the game itself (more on that in a later article). Unfortunately I could find anything easy and quick to implement (but I might get back to it another day).
So I decided to do it the more straightforward way, using (free) tools available online. I tried GifCam, I tried LiceCAP but neither of them were satisfactory enough in terms of smoothness of the animation. To be clear, I’m not sure it’s because of the apps themselves but probably more about the fact that I run the Windows games on a Mac using Parallels and I think it’s making things difficult for the apps to capture good enough GIFs.
So, I continued to look for a solution and found this person describing its workflow using Screenflow as an animation tool and I thought: « Well I can still capture video footages of my games and make something out of them! ».
Then that’s it:
Record gameplay using Screenflow (or any screen capture software you have).
Edit, chop and then export to a video file.
In Photoshop, File > Import > Import the video frames as layer.
Open the Animation window to adjust the timings or remove duplicate frames if you need to get a smaller file size.
Save for Web and adjust the palette (personal preference for Adaptive palette with diffusion and usually 128 colors are enough).
I think there is still room for improvement but it’s already a good start!
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