Animated GIFs are a great way to hand off an animation as a single file that works all over the web (though notably not in a PDF).
A few great use cases for animated GIFs are
- Email newsletters (which don’t support complex content)
- Banners & ads (when HTML5 is not needed or supported)
- Social media images (e.g., for Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin timelines)
Thus far, the best way for a creative to create an animated GIF was to
- Open Adobe Animate
- Create animations using tweens
- Export as video
- Open the video in Photoshop (because Animate doesn’t do a great job with the colors)
- Export as a GIF using the Save for Web dialog
That process is okay if you’re fairly comfortable with both Animate and Photoshop, but it’s a bit convoluted even then (created the tweened animations, especially).
I recently opened Adobe Animate, which was formerly Flash Professional, to create an animated GIF. Even though I lived in Flash Pro for years, it still took me a half hour to create a simple 125 x 125 pixel ad.
Don’t get me wrong, Animate is great if you want fine control of your animation, but sometimes that’s overkill.
Why use InDesign?
In comparison, InDesign’s animation tools are superbly easy: simply apply a motion preset (adjust if needed). No keyframes, no timeline.
If you just need some simple fades and fly-ins this InDesign workflow is ideal.
The main limitation: There hadn’t been a way to export InDesign’s animation as animated GIFs, but now there is.
How to Create an Animated GIF using InDesign
Here’s a quick outline of the steps.
- Create a new file in InDesign. in5 v3.5.1 comes with a convenient Social Media Image document preset.
- Add a Motion Preset via the Animation panel (Window > Interactive > Animation). Adjust and repeat with other items if desired.
- (Optional) Adjust the sequencing of multiple animations using the Timing panel (Window > Interactive > Timing).
- Export using in5 (in5 > Easy Export Wizard).
- Open the exported content in Google Chrome and use the in5 Animated GIF Maker extension to record and save your GIF.
You can now share the file via email or via social network updates.
Check out the steps in the video below.
You can test this out using a free trial version of in5.
The in5 Animated GIF Maker extension is available for free in the Chrome Extension Store.