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Using an Animated GIF in Studio

Using an Animated GIF in Studio By gg - Last updated on Saturday, January 14, 2012
21981 Views :: 3 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 40)
Category: Studio 1-15 Tutorials / Edition  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Sunday, October 25, 2009
Created on Monday, June 15, 2009 3:20 AM
 

An animated GIF is a succession of still images that appear one after the other over a given time period and give the illusion of movement, in fact it is a video. The web literally abounds with them. It is sometimes tempting to get these small sequences to decorate a montage and add a little humor. Unfortunately, an animated Gif by itself is not usable as is in Studio. This tutorial will give you a method to circumvent this little problem. Illustration :

Step 1 -Extraction of still images in the Gif

To extract the images that constitute the GIF, we suggest using Gimp. It may be useful to read the tutorials Create transparent areas in still images with Gimp or Handling layers with Gimp to familiarize yourself with this software.

After opening the animated Gif in Gimp go to Image, Mode and make sure that RGB is selected.
In the layers window wz see that the gif is split into as many layers as the number of images that compose it. If the layers window does not appear we remind you that you can display it with Windows, Docable dialogs, Layers.

This is what happens with a 5 frame Gif :

Layers list

Simply select each layer by hiding the others :

Layer selection

Then save each layer with File, Save As, Select File Type (By extension) and Save. If a window called Export file appears select Merge visible layers then Export.
You must repeat the process for each layer keeping in mind that the lowest layer in the stack is the first that appears in the animated Gif.

Step 2 - Build a Gif movie on a green background

In this step we construct a new video from scratch with still images extracted from the Gif. This video can then be used in Studio any way you wish.

  • Place a green background on the main video track.
  • Then place all the images from the Gif on the timeline using the second video track.
    Comment : Using the green background will help us to manage transparency in Studio in order to get the Gif character by itself.
    Comment : If the Gif already has a background of another color, keep this background color on the main video track.
Still images on timeline*
  • For each image, set the time display which is often very short (here for the running cat, time=10 frames)
    Comment : images must be in rapid succession for a fluid motion.
  • To have an animation that lasts longer, the same sequence of images must be repeated several times in a row (at least 3 to 4 times).
Reglage du temps d'affichage

You can then render this video, if possible in a low compressed format (eg MPEG2 DVD quality). This rendering will then be re-used in the next step as a new video.

Step 3 - Using the Gif clip in your video - The character is fixed -

In steps 3 and 4, we will enhance our main movie with several videos compiled from the animated Gif.

  • Place your video on the main video track on the timeline.

  • Then set the "Gif" video on the second track.

Rabbit Gif integration
  • You must successively apply 2 plugins to the Gif video to remove the green background and place your character where you want it
Chroma key use
  • To remove the green background use the "Chroma keyer" plugin fromRTFX Studio Plus.
    Comment : by default, this plugin is set to remove green, but if your Gif has a different background color, you can select the color to remove with the eyedropper (first setting in this plugin).
Green background removing plugin
  • To reduce and position your character you can use the RTFX Studio Plus "2D Advanced Editor" plugin.
    In our example, the size was reduced by half (50.00) and the vertical and horizontal positioning were modified to place the rabbit in the bottom left of the video.
Character positionning plugin
Step 4 - Using the Gif clip in your video - The character is movable -

As in the previous step, we will use the same method to incorporate an animated gif in our primary video, but by adding a small improvement. Unlike the rabbit, which remains in the same place, the cat runs. We must therefore make it move forward. You will notice that the rabbit was placed on the third video 3 (normally reserved for titles) in order to include two Gif at the same time. You can refer to our tutorial Third Video Track with Pinnacle Studio to implement this trick.

  • Place the "Gif the cat" video on the second track.
  • As for the "Gif rabbit", two plugins are needed to remove the green background and set the cat on the video.
  • Refer here to review the step concerning the plugin to remove the green background
Running cat Gif
  • To reduce and position your character you use the RTFX Studio Plus "2D Advanced Editor" plugin. But this time check Use keyframes (see point 1).
  • Two keyframes are created automatically (beginning and end). By default, we are on the keyframe which bears the number 1 (see point 2).
  • You need to place the cat completely outside of the video on the left (see point 3). Horizontal parameter takes a large negative value.
  • You can then adjust the second keyframe positioning it thanks to the small triangle shown in 4.
Positionning keyframe
  • The number of the keyframe that you are editing is indicated on point 1.Here we modify the No. 2 keyframe.
  • Horizontal parameter takes a positive value. Studio will interpolate the transitions between the 2 keyframes values. The horizontal parameter will increase from-103 to 56 gradually and thus, the cat will appear to be moving forward...
Keyframe 2

The same technique is used with the vertical parameter to bring down the coyote etc ...
I thank Saby for his invaluable help in writing this tutorial, and his sound advice.

Thanks to Domie08 for giving us the tip to move the image to RGB to export with a totally transparent background.

{Thanks to saby who translated this tutorial from french to english, Loosecannon who cross-checked it}

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Comments
Gert Reitner By # Gert Reitner @ Monday, October 26, 2009 6:52 AM
Thanks for another great tutorial ! can hardly wait to try !

Etienne Kinnaer By # Etienne Kinnaer @ Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:31 AM
Thanks for this tip, I have commited it on the Dutch forum.
Anyway I have put a new link to the famous newsletter of Declic
Kind regards,
Etienne

Mauggi By # Mauggi @ Saturday, February 13, 2010 8:18 AM
Best result is, if you save the image as ".png", without saving background!

 
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