How I Compress GIFs for Medium — Part 2

Compressing GIFs using Adobe Photoshop

Let’s get those GIFs down to 5 MB!

However, this tutorial will be focused on using Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is a paid program but does offer a free trial for anyone who doesn’t have it already, and after some practice the interface is very intuitive. With the focus of this tutorial being the compression of GIFs as opposed to simply making GIFs, Photoshop is a perfect tool for the job.

Open Photoshop

I’ll be using a GIF I recently posted to LinkedIn, declaring my job search after graduating from Flatiron School, as an example and show you the full process I go through.

Compression Methods

Trim Your Video

Lower The Frame Rate

The trade off with this option is that your video can look choppy if the motion is too fast, but for many applications like screen captures for software tutorials it can look perfectly fine. However in the next few steps we’ll look at some other options to compress GIFs that allow you to keep the original framerate.

Open With “Save For Web”

This process might take a minute or two as it processes your GIF with the default settings. Once it loads up you’ll have a window that looks like this.

The main window on the left shows you what your GIF will look like when exported, lets your zoom in and out, and compare it to the original. Most importantly this will show you the approximate size of your final file. In my case here my GIF will be 134.1 MB so looks like I’ve got some work to do to get it down to the 5MB limit for Medium.

Lower The Resolution

Adjust Color Values

Try Different Color Reduction Options

After that I’ll select a dither option. Dithering admittedly will add to the size of the GIF but it really helps maintain some quality in the image. The Diffusion option at about 80% is as much as I’m willing to go in my case to retain some quality.

Fine Tuning

After that my GIF is now 7.31 MB, on a few more MB left! I could try and reduce the color values again, but I’m already pushing it with the quality so I think I’m going to lower the resolution slightly until I get to about 5MB.

After lowering the width to 500px the GIF is now under 5MB, and I’m able to push the dither amount up to 94% to gain a little quality back as well. Now I’ll make sure that the GIF will loop infinitely by choosing “Forever” from Looping Options and save the GIF by hitting “Save.” Make sure not to hit “Done” or the window will simply close out and you might lose the settings you just chose.

The Final Product

Thanks for reading and I hope you were able to learn something about compressing GIFs in Adobe Photoshop!

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Arthur Wilton

Arthur Wilton

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Software Developer and Video/Post Production Professional. Recent graduate of Flatiron School.