How to create a GIF for DRIBBBLE starting from your mobile prototype

As interaction designer, many times happen that i’ve to create a gif to show how a feature works. Most of the time this happen for Dribbble but can be that i’ve to show it to a stakeholder or that i need to include it in a fancy presentation. In this article i’ll talk about the method i use to create one for Dribbble since this can fit also a lot of others cases.

The tool we’ll use are 3, Photoshop, After Effects and Quicktime.

The starting point of course is your iPhone, the feature you want to show needs to be on your device. This means that the feature can be already live, can be on a test server or can also be a prototype you developed on Invision or Pixate.


How to record your iPhone screen.

Plug your iPhone to your Mac and start Quicktime, choose “New Movie Recording”, automatically Quicktime will choose your mac camera but if you’ll click on the dropdown menu after the recording button you’ll can choose your iPhone.

At this point you have your iPhone screen on your mac and you can start recording how you feature works, after the recording save your video.

After Effects

Edit the video and export it as a png sequence

Now you can open After Effects, create a new composition with 800px width, 600px height and 20 fps. Now you need 3 elements for your gif, first of all the video that you saved with quicktime, second you need a background, usually i use a blurred pic of the content (web page or content itself) and last you need an iPhone png, there are hundreds of iPhone mockups you can download on Dribbble.

Place your elements in the right order on the composition and add all the tap you need to let the users understand better the features (quicktime doesn’t record the tap on the screen of your iPhone). For doing that i just use a simple circle that in half a second change its opacity to 0 and its dimension to 130%, this give you a little effect of fade off.

When your animation is ready add it to the render queue, here you can choose the output as jpeg (quality 6) and the folder you’ll save everything, now press rendere and wait.

The results of this action will be a folder with the jpg sequence of your video, since Photoshop has a limit of 500 images per sequence (there are some tricks to avoid it but we want to keep it simple right?) take care that you don’t have more than this number of images in your folder. If you have more that 500 you can set a lower fps but i don’t recommend you to go under 20 or even simpler you can record a shorter video. Remember that the gif purpose is to show a single features so don’t spend too much time going around in your app.

Photoshop has a limit of 500 images per sequence.


Finally save your gif in less than 8 mb

Now you can click open on Ps and select the first image of your sequence, don’t forget to flag “image sequence” in order to tell Ps you need to import all of it.

Once you did this you just have to export the gif. Click on “save for web” or type cmd+alt+shift+S. If you are lucky enough you’ll see that your gif is already under 8mb (dribbble limit) otherwise you can set a lower number of color (128) of you can play with the dither, this really makes your gif smaller but also drop down the quality of it so use it carefully.

In case Ps show you some strange color, if the white is light blue or yellow for examples, click on the dropper on the left and select this color, you’ll select it also on the table color on the right, double click on it and adjust the color with the one you want.

If you want to see the final gif go on my Dribbble account here.

I hope this small guide will help you to create better gif, drop me a line if you have another workflow you want to share, i’ll be glad to try it.