How to Create Your Own Instagram GIFs for Your Stories

Have you ever wanted to know how to create your own animated GIF? Well, we’re spilling our secrets in this mini tutorial that will walk you through every step you’ll need to know to get started.

Before we dive into the tutorial, let’s quickly talk about GIFs and why they’re a perfect addition to your marketing strategy for Instagram. While having a perfectly curated Instagram feed is incredibly appealing if your feed consists of only photographs you might run the risk of having your followers becoming uninterested in your content regardless of how great it might be. We suggest introducing some well-designed graphics into your feed to break things up and add some visual variety. GIFs are a perfect way to add some creative graphics since they’re easy to create (we promise you’ll get the hang of it in no time) and you can even incorporate your GIF creating knowledge that you gain from this post to change up your Instagram Story graphics.

Now, onto the tutorial. For this mini tutorial, you’re going to need access to a computer and Photoshop.

Step 1: Create a graphic you want to animate. This can be an illustration that you to bring to life a bit or simple text that you want to utilize to promote a sale for your shop. For this tutorial, we’re keeping things super simple to get you familiar with the process. Our graphic for this example is “Sale” graphic that would be perfect for just about any shop. We will be referencing elements of this specific graphic so you can follow along easily and recreate it if you wish. Below are the exact dimensions of our graphic:

  • 1080×1080 pixels at 300 dpi (RGB)
  • Background Color: #c1c5ed
  • Font: Futura – Medium
  • Font Size: 105
  • Letter Spacing: 100

For this tutorial, the way we want to animate this graphic is by having the ‘SALE’ text flash starting from the top ‘SALE’ and moving all the way down to the last ‘SALE.’

“GIFs are a perfect
way to add some creative
graphics since they’re
easy to create.”


Tweet this.

Step 2: Once you have your graphics ready you’re going to want to make you take a look at your layers, make sure each section that you want to animate is its own layer. For example, each “SALE” for our graphic is its own layer, and we made sure to label each layer accordingly (Sale 1, Sale 2, etc.) that way we know exactly which layer is which.

Step 3: When your layers are organized, you’re going to want to switch your workspace in Photoshop. To do this click on Windows > Workspace > Motion at the very top of your screen as shown in the image below.

Step 4: At the bottom of your screen, you should see a section labeled “Timeline” this is where we will be animating our graphic by creating frames.

Frame 1: For the very first frame, we’re going to select all of our ‘Font layers,’ and we’re going to edit the opacity of the text by setting it to 25%. You can edit the opacity in your layers window. If for some reason you can’t see your layers window, simply click on Windows > Layers to access it.

Step 5: For our second frame, we’re going to select the top ‘SALE’ layer (in our case this layer is labeled Sale 1) and bring the opacity back up to 100% as shown in the image below.

Step 6: Now, bring the opacity of the layer labeled ‘Sale 1’ back down to 24% and you’re going to want to increase the opacity of the layer labeled ‘Sale 2’ up to 100%.

Follow the same steps for frame 3 for the rest of the layers for your graphic. You should end up with a total of 6 frames at this point.

Step 7: Once you’ve created all of your frames for your graphic (again for this example we have six frames within our Timeline) you’re going to want to edit the duration of each frame. For this example, we’re going to set the duration of each frame to .5 seconds. To edit the duration time, click on the arrow next to the duration time shown below each frame and select the time you would like. If the exact duration time you would like for your frame isn’t shown, you can always click on ‘Other’ and add the specific time you would like.

Step 8: In order to make your GIF long enough to meet the minimum duration length of any GIF or video for Instagram, we’re going to double our frame length to 12 frames instead of six. To do this, click on your very first frame under your Timeline and press your ‘Shift’ button (this is for mac keyboards) then click on your last frame. Once all of your frames are selected, click on the little paper icon at the bottom of your screen as shown in the image below.

Step 9: Test our your GIF before saving. In your Timeline, click on the play button to test our how your GIF looks.

Step 10: When you’re ready to save your GIF, click on File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy). A new window should appear like the one below.

For this GIF our settings are set to:

  • GIF
  • Selective
  • Diffusion
  • Color: 256
  • Transparency is checked
  • Convert to sRGB is checked
  • Looping options: Forever

Click Save and then select where you would like your GIF to be saved on your computer, and you’re all set!

And that’s it! We know this mini-tutorial was super simple, but we wanted to share the very basics about how to create an animated GIF. Now you can get really creative with the information you learned from this post and customize your animated GIFs even more by adding a patterned background, changing up the font colors for each frame, or change up the text for each frame. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to GIFs, but we hope you found this mini-tutorial useful.