Flash Exports Bad Quality Animated Gif’s? A Workaround.

The Problem

You may be here because you have made an animation in Flash (in this example it is CS6) and you want to export it into an animated gif.

The problem is that Flash, even when set to 256 colours in the export dialogue window, generates animated gif’s that look like this:

warren_ani_gplus_2

Hey, what’s up with those dots?

The Workaround

To generate a better quality gif you will need a copy of Photoshop. If you don’t have a licensed copy, head over to Adobe and get yourself a trial copy.

Step 1.

With your animation ready, go to Flash and

Click File->Export->Export Movie…
step1_th

Step 2.

Instead of exporting to an animated gif select JPEG Sequence.

Warning: This is going to generate a JPG for each and every frame of your animation, so make sure you create a new folder for your save destination.

Leave all the options to default and set quality to 100.

exportdialog

Click ‘OK

Your JPG frames are generated.

Step 3.

Now, with a folder full of JPG’s, head over to Photoshop and create a new document, make sure it has the same dimensions as your flash movie.

photoshop_new

In Photoshop, with your new empty document open,

Click File->Scripts->Load Files into Stack
step3_th

 

Click ‘Browse‘ in the ‘Load Files into Stack‘ Dialogue, locate your folder and Ctrl-A / ⌘-A to select all your JPG frames, click ‘open‘, click ‘OK‘.

If your animation is long, you may want to brew a coffee now, because Photoshop will now proceed to create a separate layer for each frame.

Step 4.

In Photoshop, once all your layers have been generated,

Click Window->Timeline (this used to be called ‘Animation’ in previous editions of Photoshop)

Click ‘Create Frame Animation
step4_th

 

Now, in the top right corner of the timeline window, click the icon icon,  click ‘Make Frames From Layers‘.

step4_3_th

In theory your animated gif is now ready to go, but you may wish to check two things.

1. Your animation may be in reverse

If this is the case, highlight all your frames in your timeline and simply click icon in the top right of the timeline, click ‘Reverse Frames

2. Your animated gif may play too slow or quickly.

If this is the case, adjust the frame delay values.You may wish to experiment with the values. but if your flash movie is 20fps, set each frame to 0.02, if it is 30fps, set them to 0.03 and so on.

to change the time delay for all frames, Shift select all your frames, click the down arrow on your first frame and click ‘Other..‘, set your value and click ‘OK‘.

Now all your frames have the desired time delay.

The Final Step

To export your new, shiny animated GIF with all the glorious quality options that Photoshop can provide, click File->Save for Web

Select the GIF option in the drop-down menu at the top of this dialogue window.

For the highest quality GIF, adjust your settings as shown below.
finalstep_th

Bye Bye!

warren_ani_gplus_3

 

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