Make a GIF Image With Microsoft Paint

GIFs are fun and easy to make in Microsoft Paint. They’re useful because they have very small file sizes that don’t take up much disk space and are easy to email. They are considered “lossless” since all original data from a compressed GIF file can be recovered when the GIF is uncompressed.[1] GIFs can also be used to create Create an Animated Signature Using Gif Mania or short animations using other programs, such as Photoshop, Make an Animated GIF With Carpstudio, or GIMP. Although GIFs have a lower picture quality than some other file formats, they are still very effective at depicting images, text, logos, and small clips of video, especially with Microsoft Paint.


Preparing Microsoft Paint

  1. Copy first. If you’re altering a preexisting image to make your GIF, make a copy of the file first. Editing images may cause irreversible changes. So, be sure to save the original picture before editing it.
  2. Learn the basics of Microsoft Paint. Paint is a program that can be used to make original drawings on a blank page or on top of other images.[2] Paint can be used to make a GIF, which is short for Graphic Interchange Format—a small 8 bit (or 256-color) image format which is relatively fast to download on the net.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the toolbar. The toolbar includes a number of basic and familiar tools, such as erase, magnifier, and pencil. It also has select, free-form select, color pick, and color fill. Free-form select designates irregularly-shaped objects in your picture, and pick color helps you set a foreground or background color based on the color you pick.[2]
  4. Use different brushes. Paint also includes brushes of various styles, lines of various thickness, a large collection of shapes, background transparency options, and a full color palette. You can customize colors or pick a specific color using the color pick tool.
  5. Play with different image sizes. Size options can be very helpful. In Paint versions after Windows XP, you can resize images after drawing them. To enlarge and image or to view the screen in more detail, you can also use the magnifier or full-screen viewing option.[3]

Designing a GIF Image

  1. Open Paint. Microsoft Paint is usually found on your Start menu or in the accessories folder.
  2. Design your image. Begin creating the image you’d like to make into a GIF, or use the tools to manipulate an image you’re using as the base for your design. Remember the shapes, colors, brushes, lines, and resizing options at your disposal in the toolbar.
  3. Make GIFs with uniform colors. Unlike JPGs, GIFs can make flawless copies even at high compression if the image has large areas of uniform color and no more than 256 colors total.[4]
  4. Keep it simple. Keep your image simple, as GIF only allows a maximum of 256 colors. This is why it’s not great to save photos in GIF format. Since photos often contain more than 256 colors, saving a photo as a GIF might reduce image color quality. Simpler images, however, are excellent candidates for the GIF file format.[5]
    • Text and fonts. Since text and fonts tend to have a limited color palette—even just black and white—they tend to be particularly good in GIF format.
    • Logos and icons. Like text, logos and icons tend to have dense, uniform, and limited colors. These qualities make logos and icons similarly strong as GIFs.[6]
    • Line drawings and clip art. These have limited color palettes and are relatively easy to create in Paint.[6]
  5. Develop for a background. One advantage of GIFs is that, unlike JPG files, they support transparent backgrounds. This means that your GIF can blend with background colors, if necessary.[5] The same GIF then could be set against a white background or a black background, for example.[6]
    • PNG files are best for partial transparency images. Though GIFs can support transparent backgrounds, they cannot themselves be partially transparent.

Saving a GIF File

  1. Click on the File menu. Choose“Save As,” and locate the directory where you want to save the image. Type in a file name that you will remember, and save it to a folder that’s relevant to your project.
  2. Save as a GIF. Be sure to click on the “GIF” option under the “Save As Type” menu. This will give your filename a .gif extension that designates it as a GIF file.
    • If you’re not sure whether or not an image is a GIF, you can check. Just right click the image and select properties. The type of file should be the first item listed.
  3. Choose a color loss option. Remember when you read that GIF images are limited to 256 colors? That’s why you might receive this dialogue box. Choose “Yes” to save if a box appears asking you about the color quality being reduced if you save the picture in this format.
  4. Remember to backup your GIF files. Ideally, you’d create an immediate backup, either on an external hard drive or through a cloud service. This is good policy in general, but particularly good for important files or files that you’ve spent a lot of time designing.

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