Aug 25 2015

Tech Tuesday: How to Make an Animated .gif in Photoshop


If you read last week’s Tech Tuesday post, you might remember my “Ode to Adobe Color CC” that I posted in the form of an animated .gif. If you missed it, here it is again:


I could stare at these animated .gifs for hours. They are just so much fun, and the possibilities are endless! In case you are wondering what in the world an animated .gif is, let me explain. An animated .gif is a graphic image that moves. It is made by combining several static images into one .gif file. If this sounds complicated to you, do not fret! The wonderful world of Photoshop has made it very simple for anyone to create an animated .gif.

You’ll notice that the .gif I posted this week does not “jiggle” as much as last week’s. This is because I went back and edited the static images so that they were all cropped to exactly the same size. In this post, I will show you how to make a perfectly framed animated .gif.

First, you will need a series of images you want to animate. The original Adobe Color CC .gif I created was made up of thirty-two screen shots. To save time, I reduced the number of images for the revised .gif in this post to sixteen. As you can see, the fewer images you combine, the choppier your .gif will be. Adding more images will give a smoother effect to your .gif.

Once you have all of your images, your next task is to put them into one file. Open your first two images. At the bottom taskbar, click on Layout > All Column, so you can view both images simultaneously. Select the move tool, and drag one image from one window to the other.


Click on that file, and make sure you have two layers. Once you’ve confirmed this, you can close the other file. With the Move tool selected, move the layer around until you think it fits perfectly over your original image. A true test is to click the little eyeball to the left of your original layer, turning its visibility off. Then, click the little eyeball on your newest layer, turning its visibility on and off a few times. If you can see any movement on the image, then you may need to continue adjusting with the Move tool. Slight to no movement? You are ready to add more layers! Repeat the above with each image, and add each image to that original file so that you will end up with several layers in one individual file. In my case, I had sixteen layers. This is truly the most consuming part of the entire process, so if it starts to feel monotonous, hang in there! A beautiful animated .gif is right around the corner. 🙂

Once you have all of your image layers aligned, named (but Deb never names her layers), and in the right order, take a moment to congratulate yourself. Great job! Now you have to resize your file so that you can animate it later. To do this, go to Image > Resize > Image Size. In the new window, find the Width box and change this number to 800 pixels or less.


Now for the fun part! Go to File > Save as and save your file as a .psd. You never know if you will need to go back and fix some layers. Now save the file again, but this time use File > Save for Web. In the dialog box, select GIF and check the Animate box. At the bottom of the dialog box you will find Looping Options and Frame Delay. Due to the radial nature of my .gif, I chose to loop it Forever, so the colors would continually move and change. Frame Delay refers to the amount of time between each image appearing in the .gif. I chose a very short amount of time (0.2 seconds) because it gives the .gif a smoother motion.


Name your file accordingly and then click Save. To view your .gif, find the file, open it in whichever application you prefer, and celebrate your accomplishment! I took the Pixeladies “PSE Essentials II” class, and that is where I learned how to work with layers, two images at the same time, resizing, and “Save for Web.” I would not have been able to create this animated .gif had I not learned how to do that first. By the way, the Pixeladies are teaching the series again this fall. Click here for more information.

Now I must embark on a brief tangent about the correct pronunciation of the term “.gif.” Since the acronym itself stands for “Graphics Interchange Format,” many people assume that .”gif” is pronounced with a hard G, as in “gift.” After researching the matter for myself, I understand that the correct pronunciation is actually a soft G, as in “jiff” (like the peanut butter). To quote Charlie Reading on The GIF Pronunciation Page, “Choosy programmers choose “GIF.” Ultimately, the creator of the .gif, Steve Wilhite, has the final say in its pronunciation, and he insists on the soft G. If you need definitive proof to put the matter to rest once and for all, watch this video of Steve Wilhite’s acceptance speech at The Webby Awards. That really says it all, doesn’t it? 🙂


Aug 20 2015

#internkelly, Signing Off


Hello friends and followers!

Today will be my last day as an intern here at Pixeladies Studio. Although I will certainly miss “working” (if that’s what you call sitting around, laughing, and having fun) with the wonderful Deb and Kris, I look forward to taking everything I have learned here with me as I continue to pursue my creative endeavors. This internship has taught me an incredible amount about digital design and its application to fiber arts, the endless possibilities of Photoshop, the business, creative, and collaborative aspects of running a design studio, and helped me fine tune my writing and blogging abilities. The thing that will stick with me the most, however, is the way these amazing women handle their day-to-day work with great wit, artistic sensibility, mutual support and appreciation of each other, and a genuine love for what they do. I can only hope to emulate half of the talent and energy they put into their work everyday as I move forward in mine. Thank you all for your kind comments and encouraging words. This won’t be the last you see of me, as I have written the upcoming Tech Tuesday blog post and will be back to do some textile printing in the Fall, so stay tuned!

Until next time,

Intern Kelly


Aug 18 2015

Tech Tuesday: Adobe Color CC


One of my absolute favorite things the Pixeladies have shown me is the Adobe Color CC website (they teach this in their Advanced Photoshop class, but they let me work ahead a little). This site allows you to create your own unique digital color swatches online, which you can then apply to your Photoshop workspace. If you have a paid Creative Cloud membership, you can download your swatches directly from the website into Photoshop. If you have a free Creative Cloud membership (like the Pixeladies and I), you can still load swatches into Photoshop, its just not as simple. In this post, I will show you the “work around” for getting your swatches to load in Photoshop, for my fellow “freebie” lovers out there. 😉

The website (link above) opens right up to a color wheel with a menu of options to its left. Here you can choose what kind of “Color Rules” you would like your swatch to follow. Before you go any further, be sure to sign in with your Adobe ID. Anyone who owns an Adobe product has one, and anyone who doesn’t can make one for free. Once you’re signed in, you are ready to create!



Look at all the fun you can have! (I made this .gif using another free website. Next Tech Tuesday, I will show you how to make your own.)

Okay, back to Adobe Color CC! The first step is, of course, to create your swatch. Simply drag your cursor around the wheel to select a base color, then make minor adjustments using the sliding bars below the color you selected. Warning: Time flies when you are playing with the color wheel. Sometimes I start a swatch, and by the next time I look up, an hour has gone by.


Once you are happy with your swatch, click the blue “Save” button. You will be prompted to name your theme.


Kris and I are listening to Cuban music today in honor of the U.S. Embassy re-opening in Havana, and it’s making us want to go drink and dance, so this theme was inspired by “tequila.” You can choose whether or not you’d like your theme published publicly on the “Explore” page. I keep the box checked because I love browsing through other people’s work.

Now that your theme is saved, it will show up when you click the “My Themes” link. Hover over the theme you want to load into your workspace, and a few options appear.


Click on “Edit Copy,” and you will be taken back into the creative space, where you can scroll down a little to find the HEX code, circled here in white:


This is the magical code that will allow you to find your exact colors in Photoshop. Now go into your Photoshop workspace and double click the Color Picker.


A new window should pop up with a hashtag box somewhere in it. I am using Photoshop Elements 13, and mine is the last row, circled above in red. This is where you will type in your magical HEX code. It may help to adjust your windows so that you can easily navigate back and forth and see the code as you type it. Once you have your exact color selected, click OK, and then go to the “More” icon in the bottom right-hand corner, and a box will pop up. Go to the “Color Swatches” tab, then click the teeny-tiny fly-out menu icon on the upper right of the box. Now select “New Swatch…”


When you click “New Swatch,” you will be prompted to name your colors. I recommend saving numerically (i.e. tequila1, tequila2, etc.) so that they are easier to find later. Repeat this process until all five of your swatches are visible in the Color Swatches tab, always using the “New Swatch” option.


You will notice that the last five color swatches in your Color Swatch tab are the theme you created in Adobe Color CC! You can now work with your swatch in Photoshop. You can also save and share the swatch. To do this, select the first one, then while holding down your Shift key, select the other four. Once you have the five selected, let go of the Shift key and click on the teeny-tiny fly-out menu icon again. This time, go to “Save Swatches…”


… and save your swatch as an ACO file. To load a swatch file into your workspace, go to the “More” icon, “Color Swatches,” fly-out menu, and select “Load Swatches…” A window will pop up where you can select the swatch file you just created.

Swatch responsibly, friends!







Aug 13 2015

#internkelly’s 2015 SAQA Dream Collection


The art quilts I viewed for SAQA’s 2015 Benefit Auction have enchanted and impressed me in so many ways. I am struck by the intelligence and innovation behind every quilt and delighted by some of the unconventional re-purposing of materials. As I browsed the evocative body of work, I found myself pausing on a select few, wishing I could physically jump into them (à la Bert the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins) to explore the depths of my own imagination. For this reason, I have named my dream collection “Intrigue.” Let’s take a closer look at the imagination evoked by each of my dream quilts.

When I look at this quilt, I imagine myself frolicking over the face carved into these colorful mountains, running up and down the hills towards the deep center, where I would hope to find a mystical littoral cave at the end of the deep blue waterfall.

This quilt felt very nostalgic to me, because it evoked the kind of child-like excitement I feel when I pull up someplace in my car after dark and see the reflection of my wheels and headlights on the windows; a visual cue that I have arrived.

The green figure in this quilt reminds me of a grasshopper. I would like to drink some of Alice’s shrinking potion from Alice in Wonderland and then walk alongside the grasshopper into the mysterious night.

When my mind jumped into this quilt, it landed on a psychedelic subway platform in a parallel universe, where I imagined I could people watch and listen to street artists and musicians collecting change.

While looking at this quilt, I imagine myself sitting on a cliff on a silent night by the sea, watching a warm moon glimmer over peaceful waves.

I wish I could jump into this quilt, land on the moon, and jump off into the sky where I could fly between the stars and see the universe from all different perspectives.

Here is what my Dream Collection looks like as a whole:

Thanks for joining me on this adventure through my Dream Collection! Curating it has filled me with creative inspiration.

Aug 6 2015

Deb’s 2015 SAQA Dream Collection


Every year, SAQA members are invited to choose 6 quilts from the SAQA Benefit Auction they would love to own. Kris’s collection was Kind of Blue. Deb’s choices must have been inspired by the heat on the day she curated her dream collection*. It is called Riot of Color. Here’s the way I would hang the pieces:

Riot of Color Collection

Riot of Color Collection

I thought you might find it interesting to see what I started with.

Down to Sixteen**

Down to Sixteen**

I kept looking at the quilts, taking different ones out, adding them back in, taking them out…

Down to Twelve

Down to Twelve

I thought I had it…

First Collection of 6

First Collection of 6

but when I rearranged the photos I had to change them yet again. Here are the final six quilts with the artists’ names and titles.

Clicking on any image will open the slideshow of all the images, and you’ll be able to see the details better.

* Lest you think I was kidding about the heat here’s the temperature as I was driving home. It was 111 when we started.

Temperature near Folsom, California

Temperature near Folsom, California

** I really can count, you’ll see that I had opened one quilt twice. I think it was a sign. I tried to take dear Brenda’s flowers out of the collection several times, but like the Cat in the Hat, it just kept coming back.

The 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction starts September 18. We hope you take a look at all the art available at the 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction and bid on a piece or two!

Aug 4 2015

Introducing #internkelly


Hello all! My name is Kelly and I am very excited to introduce myself as the newest Pixeladies intern. I currently study Fashion Design at the local City College, and when the opportunity to work with the Pixeladies came up, I knew I had to take it! I spent the majority of my first day here broadening the Pixeladies’ social media reach by getting them set up and acclimated with an Instagram account (@pixeladies / #pixeladies). My personal goals while working here are to learn about the collaborative design and business processes, to receive hands-on experience creating my own textiles and developing my sewing technique, and to learn more about Photoshop and other software programs that are helpful to designers. I’ll keep you updated on the exciting happenings at the Pixeladies Studio! Check back soon 🙂