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HowTo: Use the Gimp to make an Animated Gif

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Stomfi

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Posted: 5 Nov 2004

StomfiLearning to use Linux at Home and Work
Welcome to my ongoing series of HowTo articles designed to help Linux newbies get comfortable with Linux. Before trying any of these HowTos, take a few minutes to study the prerequisites so you can hit the ground running.

This HowTo shows the user how to use the Gimp to create an animated gif graphic. Although the animation can be used anywhere suitable, the next part of the Poems project will insert some into the poetry reader. See last week's article for directory zipping functions.

Graphic1 You will usually find the Gimp in your main menu under graphics. The icon is a dog with a paint brush in its mouth.


Gimp stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. When you start the program you will see the following:

The Gimp window has lots of tools which are used for creating and manipulating graphics.


Click the File drop down menu and you will see Acquire:

In the side menu will be Screen Shot. We are going to use this to acquire a picture which we will use to make our animated gif. First we have to find a good picture. I like making pictures from Xscreensaver hacks. You probably will have seen the screen saver on your computer. Each one is a separate program that can be run inside a window. The programs are usually stored in “/usr/X11R6/lib/xscreensaver”

There are lots of them. The one I am going to use is called “drift”. To start it running you can either start a terminal or use the Run command on the main window menu. Type in the following:


You will see the following:


Now use the Gimp – Acquire – Screen Shot to grab it.

Set the delay to suit. Click OK A cross will appear on the window. Click when you like the picture. Save it.

Exit the screen saver window by clicking the right hand x on the top bar. Now we will open the screen shot in the Gimp. Use File – Open and select the file you saved. This will be your window.


It is much too big for what we want as it is going to used to add some fancy multi media to the Poems project.

Under the top bar you will see a menu. Click on Image and select Scale Image. Set the Ratio to 0.25 as shown.


The picture will shrink. You can resize the window but this will disappear some of the menu. Not a problem with the Gimp. You can create a tear off menu by right clicking and left clicking on the dotted line at the top. Thus:



The menu becomes a window and you can move it to any where convenient you like.

Next we are going to use a Script-Fu tool for animation. Click on Script-Fu and select Animators – Waves. Go with the defaults and click OK. The script will run and the result opens a new window. We test the animation with Filters – Animation – Playback. If you think the results are a bit tame you can x the animation result window and try again, changing the defaults until you are satisfied.

Mine looks like this:


And the playback screen looks likes this.

When you like what you've done save the file as a gif by changing the extension. Eg myanim.gif


As soon as you press OK the following screen will appear.

Click on Save as Animation otherwise it will combine all your pictures into one. Click Export.


The next screen allows you to change the comment, change the delay time, and make it run one time or loop forever. I am going to accept the defaults.


Now you have made an animated gif.

You can try out the other animation types in Script-Fu. Animated Gifs will run inside web pages like this one done with rippling.


The next HowTo in the Poem project will display an animation for each poem so make sure you've created a few.

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