Sep 27, 2016

How to Create a Before/After GIF in Photoshop

How to Create a Before/After Animated GIF

Before/After images are a great way to show off your editing work. Learn how to create a simple Animated Gif from any image in Photoshop!

How to Make Before and After Layers

The first step to creating an Animated Gif is to get the “Before” and “After” images. In many cases, the “Before” image will be an unedited photo. This will most likely be the Background layer of any Photoshop file.

Each change you make to an image should be on a New Layer, allowing for changes to be undone at any time. After adding many layers and Adjustments to an image, you are left with the “After” version. You will need all these changes to be visible on a single layer to make the “After” Layer.

Create a New Layer on the top of the document and navigate to ‘Image – Apply Image’. Choose “Merged”, “Multiply”, and make sure “Invert” is not checked. This will place a copy of your image onto one layer.

This is the “After” Layer.

Duplicate Layers to New Document

After creating the “After” layer, it is time to duplicate the “Before” and “After” layers onto a new document.

Create a new document sized for the Web. Image resolution will depend on where this image will live. For instance, if you want this image on Instagram, try a resolution of 1000x1000px.

After creating a new document, select both the “Before” and “After” layers from the original image and Click+Drag them to the new document. Be sure to select both layers when making any Adjustments, as you need them to be in the same place.

It is a good idea to turn both the “Before” and “After” layers into Smart Objects before transforming them in the new document. This will allow you to change Image Size without affecting quality. To turn the layers into Smart Objects, Right-Click on each layer and go to “Convert To Smart Object”.

Select Both layers and Transform them into place.

How to Create a Before & After Animation

Now that both the “Before” and “After” layers are sized correctly on the new document, it is time to create a simple Animation. Go to “Window – Timeline” to open the animation Timeline and click on “Create New Frame Animation”.

Use the “New Frame” icon to make Frames from the “Before” and “After” layers. Choose the Frame duration and how many times the Animation will repeat. In this example, we choose “3 Seconds” and “Forever”.

Be sure to hit the “Play” button to view the animation in the timeline.

Exporting for the Web

After the Animation is playing well, it is time to export it to the Web. Go to ‘File – Export – Save for Web’ and choose GIF from the drop-down menu.

Be sure to check the animation on the right side of the export panel to see if it is still playing well. When you are satisfied with all the export settings, click the “Export” button and choose a destination folder.

To view the final “Before & AfterAnimated GIF online, upload it to the desired website or open the image in Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox.

You are ready to show your work off to the world!



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  • user image

    Is it a Jiff or a GIF – That is the question.

    Also, when saving, you may need to experiment between the Dither types

    And certainly turn off transparency

  • David

    This is an awesome tutorial and PHLEARN is an awesome find. I have just recently changed careers and found out about PHLEARN from a photography friend. I have been a regular follower of all things Photoshop and Photography and the teaching aspects of Aaron and Phlearn are amazing. I have learned so much from watching your videos. I tell everyone I can about PHLEARN.COM and can’t wait to get the Photoshop 101-301 package. Keep up the great work, I know I appreciate it…definitely.

  • user image
    Quintin Gerber

    Fantastic tutorial!!! I never knew you could even do that in PSD.
    Thanks again for the wonderful and extremely simple explanation.

    You da man! haha

  • user image
    Justin Arrington

    Hi Aaron,

    I learned this a few years ago, and used an image I did 3 years ago to create a before and after. What do you think? Thanks for the great videos.

    Photoshop Tutorials: How to Create a Before/After GIF in Photoshop

  • user image
    Bert van Dorp

    Why do you do the resizing part? As I see it, you could also work from your original PS document and resize on saving the document as a GIF. Or does that result in quality loss?

  • Jay

    Great tutorial! Now you’ve got me wondering about Photoshop’s ability to ‘tween’ between my Before and After. Would that work here to see the more subtle shift from one image to the other?

    Can you do a tutorial demonstrating how to morph one image into another, where the images are of different people? I’m not sure PS can do that, but if so, I’d love to learn how!

  • user image
    Dawn Cunnane

    This is a very useful video for me as I re-touch vintage images and often show both pictures but not in GIF form, Thank you very much 🙂

  • user image
    Don Funderburg

    Great idea except for me I’m not getting the images into the time line. If I attempt to delete the either one of the layers in the time line it also erases the layer in photoshop under layers. I need help.

  • user image

    I followed your instructions step by stop, including the preview, but I can’t get it to play on my desktop or in Google Chrome. It only plays in Photoshop.

  • user image

    Also, after creating the new blank layer, the only image I can apply is the current image. It won’t allow me to change the source.

  • user image

    This is nice, but I was wondering how to do a before\after with a moving vertical line that reveals the AFTER frame gradually.

  • vfxsameer4

    Thanks Dear Aaron Nace To Make This Beautiful Photoshop Tutorial With Us. We Wants More From You. Go Ahead Phlearn

    Photoshop Tutorials: How to Create a Before/After GIF in Photoshop