Creating an Animated GIF Using GIMP 2.8

1. If you have not already done so, download and install GIMP. As of this writing, the latest version is 2.8, and it is available at the URL

2. Create the frames of your animation as image files, in any file format that GIMP recognizes (for example, .gif, .jpg, or .png). Place all the images in a single directory, and name each file with a common prefix and a numeric suffix so that they sort in the correct order (for example, “Frame01.png”, “Frame02.png”, “Frame03.png” and so on).

3. Start GIMP, and wait for it to finish loading. If desired, enable single-window mode by selecting the item “Windows – Single-Window Mode” from the main menu bar.

3.5. Due to a bug within later versions of GIMP 2.8, the next step will no longer work correctly without a workaround.  See the comments of the post for details.  To work around this bug, within GIMP, select the item “File – New” from the main menu, specify the appropriate image size (64 x 64 for the images included with this tutorial), and then click the OK button.  This creates a “dummy” layer, which will later be removed, that prevents the bug I mentioned from happening.

4. In GIMP, select the item “File – Open as Layers” from the main menu. In the “Open Image” dialog that appears, navigate to the directory that contains the image files for the animation’s frames. If necessary, click the “Name” column header on the list box to sort the files in the correct order. [In the original version of this post, the user was instructed to sort the files in descending order, but it now appears that this advice might have been incorrect.]  Then select all the image files in the list box and and click the “Open” button. The Open Image dialog will disappear, control will return to the main GIMP window, and each loaded image file will be displayed as a layer in the “Layers” pane.

4.5. Delete the dummy layer created in step 3.5 by right-clicking it in the “Layers” pane and selecting the item “Delete Layer” from the context menu that appears.

5. Select the item “Filters – Animation – Optimize (for GIF)” from the main menu. The layers in the Layers pane will be renamed and prepared for export as an animated GIF.

6. Select the item “Image – Mode – Indexed” from the main menu. In the “Indexed Color Conversion” dialog that appears, click the “Generate optimum palette” radio button, enter the value “255” in the “Maximum number of colors” box, and select the value “None” in the “Color dithering” box. Then click the “Convert” button. The dialog will disappear and control will return to the main window.

7. Select the item “File – Export…” from the main menu. On the “Export Image” dialog that appears, select the value “GIF image (*.gif)” in the file format select box. Enter the desired name in the “Name” box, making sure to change the file name so that it ends with the extension “.gif”. Click the “Export” button. Another dialog will appear, this one titled “Export Image as GIF”. Activate the “As animation” check box, modify any other settings as desired, then click the “Export” button. The images will be saved as frames of an animated GIF file.

Frame1 Frame2 Frame3 Frame4 Frame5 Frame6


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20 Responses to Creating an Animated GIF Using GIMP 2.8

  1. Eye Mœba says:

    excellent thanks.

  2. Vickie B says:

    Saved me hours of trouble on a project. Thanks for the clear and accurate instructions.

  3. Jello Repani says:

    i opened it in chrome its not doing anything

    • Likely this problem is happening because the .gif file is on your local filesystem, and Chrome has some sort of security in place designed to prevent local files from doing anything that might conceivably help hackers to gain access to your system. They’re pretty paranoid about these things. I have just created a sample animated .gif using these instructions and attached it at the end of this post. If you can see my gif running here, then yes, it’s something Chrome is doing to suppress local files.

      I’m not sure what to suggest as a workaround, except maybe to just open it in Firefox instead. That still seems to work.

  4. Much thanks! ❤ Recently switched over to GIMP from Photoshop and still adjusting.

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  6. Andy says:

    Thanks for these remarkably clear instructions! I’d been wasting my time trying to get gimp-gap to work on gimp 2.8.10 until I found this.

  7. panoramix47 says:

    I’m not so familiar with this kind of sw so to familiarize I’ve downloaded the 1-2-3-4-5-6 image. But as soon as I opened the files, all images except “1” are awful (greyed), and the gif frames 2-3-4-5-6 become afwul as well. What wrong?

    • Did you download a single animated image, or 6 static images? You should have downloaded the 6 static images. The animated image is included only to prove that the process works. If you used it as one of the frames, there’s no telling what might happen.

      • panoramix47 says:

        I’ve downloaded the 6 static images. I’ve tried to upload one image a time. The first one if fine, the second “grayed”, so …. awful … did I have to configure something?

      • In that case, I’m not sure what’s going on. What browser did you use? What process did you use to download the files?

  8. panoramix47 says:

    I used firefox and I “save image as”. The images are fine (I’ve checked with two different viewer). The problem is gimp. It seems that it “mask” the second layer (remove all the same color) so in the preview it is almost black. I perform a test: first I loaded “3” (yellow) and than “1” (red), but in the preview “1” become orange. By the way I’m usign v2.8.18. Any suggestions?

    • I don’t have any suggestions other than to make sure that you’re doing a “File – Open as Layers”. If you’re already doing that, I guess I’m out of ideas.

    • I have just reproduced your problem with GIMP 2.8.20. It seems to be a bug within GIMP. I have filed a bug report with the GIMP developers at Hopefully, it will be fixed someday, but these things generally take quite a while.

      In the meantime, I discovered that you can work around the problem by creating a “dummy” layer of the appropriate size with “File – New”, then running “File – Open as Layers”, and finally deleting the dummy layer. I will update the instructions above accordingly. Good luck.

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  10. Kevin says:

    I am using GIMP 2.8.22 on Windows 10. I had no problems opening to layers all images without the dummy background.

    • Yes. From discussions on the GIMP bug tracker, I gather that it depends on what kind of images you’re using for your frames. The ones in my example use “indexed” color, which means that each image has its own distinct palette of colors to choose from. Basically, each image loaded after the first one attempts to use the palette from the first image, which doesn’t match up, so the colors from those frames are distorted.

  11. Chemhero says:

    When I try to export the layers as a gif it does not give me the second window that allows me to select as an animation. Is there something I am doing wrong?

    • I just tried with the latest version of GIMP, and it seems that you now have to manually change the file name of the exported file to end with the “.gif” extension before clicking the Export button. Otherwise, it keeps the existing file extension, which in this case is “.png”, and it opens up the wrong dialog. I’ll update the instructions accordingly. I may also file a bug with GIMP’s bug tracker.

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