Why Every Graphic Designer Should Use Photoshop Actions & Batch Processing

photoshop actions and batch process tutorial

I have this running joke with my twin sister, Brooke about how she’s a one-trick-pony when it comes to Photoshop.

Her one trick?

Batch resize.

It’s a skill she picked up working as a photography assistant years ago when we were still in graphic design school. Yes- she and I both went to graphic design school together. However, she took a different career path and seldom uses Photoshop anymore. Or at least not for the same reasons I do. But again: the thing she never forgot? Batch Processing!

It’s just that good.

So today I’m going to show you how Photoshop Actions and Batch Processing are going to make you a faster & much more efficient graphic designer.

What is a Photoshop Action?

A Photoshop Action is simply a series of steps you take in Photoshop that can be recorded, saved & reused again and again.

For example, if I want to put my watermark on a bunch of photos, I can record that process in Photoshop once, save it as an action, and then run that action on any photo I want to apply my watermark to.

Imagine how much time this saves! Think about it: what are the steps of applying a watermark to a photo in Photoshop?

  • Navigate to your files
  • Open the original photo
  • Resize the photo (optional)
  • Navigate to my watermark file
  • Bring in your watermark on a separate layer
  • Adjust placement of the watermark
  • Adjust the size of the watermark
  • Adjust the opacity or blending mode of the watermark
  • Flatten the image
  • Save or Export the image

Now imagine I have 100 photos I need to do this for. That means I have to repeat all 10 steps 100 times.

Oy vey. No way. It would take all day!

Instead, I can record these 10 steps as a Photoshop action so I don’t have to do each of these things manually. I’ll show you exactly how to do that in just a moment, but first: for this watermark scenario, we also need to understand how batch processing works together with actions to speed up our workflow.

What is Batch Processing in Photoshop?

Batch processing in Photoshop allows us to point to a folder on our computer, run a photoshop action on all the files in that folder, and then save all our new files in a location of our choice.

Going back to the example of applying a watermark to 100 photos: we talked about how creating a Photoshop action would eliminate the need to complete the same 10 steps for each file separately.

But batch processing takes things a step further, and now: we don’t even have to open each file individually. If all 100 of our photos are saved in the same folder on our computer, we can apply the watermark action to every single one of them just by telling Photoshop where that folder is.

Pretty cool! Let’s fire up Photoshop and see exactly how this is done.

How to Create a Photoshop Action

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I apply a custom watermark to a batch of photos of my dog. 🐩

Step 1: Create a New Photoshop Action in the Actions Panel

If you haven’t already, go ahead and fire up Photoshop and open a photo that you want to apply your watermark to.

As you’ll see in the screenshot below, I have my Actions Panel and my Layers Panel open. If you don’t see the Actions Panel, go to Window > Actions to access it.

There is a Default Actions Folder containing all the actions that come built-in to Photoshop, and then there’s the option to create your own.

Click the icon at the bottom of the Actions panel to create a New Action.

Create a New Photoshop Action

A New Action Pop-Up appears, allowing you to enter details like a custom Name for your action, select the Set (folder) where you want your new action to be stored, and also assign a Function Key (optional) or a Color tag (optional).

Once you have your settings how you like them, hit Record.

New Photoshop Action Settings Pop Up Box

Step 2: Record Your Photoshop New Action

Once you press record, you’ll see the red record icon light up to indicate that you’re indeed recording your action.

Photoshop is now literally watching your every move. So if you create a new layer in the layers panel, for example, that action will be recorded as the first step in your new action.

Photoshop Action Recording

Go ahead and complete the steps necessary to add your watermark to your photo. For me, that was:

  • File > Place Linked and navigate to my custom watermark. Photoshop adds it to a new layer in my Layers Panel
  • Resize the watermark & place it in the bottom corner of my photo
  • Flatten the image so it’s all one layer

After I completed these three steps, I pressed the Stop Icon in the Actions Panel to finish recording the new action.

Stop Recording Photoshop Action

My new action appears in the Action Panel, and you can use the drop-down arrows to display the details and specific steps taken. My new action is saved, and I’ll be able to use it anytime I open Photoshop and go to my Actions Panel.

However, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Since I linked my watermark file in this new action, it will only work as long as Photoshop can find that file again. If I move my original watermark file to a different location, Photoshop won’t be able to see it, and therefore won’t be able to complete the action. You can correct this by relinking the file after you move it.
  • If I try to apply this action to a photo of a different size, or if I use a landscape photo versus a portrait photo, the watermark won’t land in the same place.
  • You can record a lot more steps and processes in your action. For example, I could first resize my photo, then adjust the brightness/contrast, then place my logo watermark, then save the image all in one action.

How to Use Batch Processing in Photoshop

Step 3: Use Automate > Batch to Process Many Photos at Once

Now that I have my new action made, I’m going to apply this watermark to 6 different photos of my dog without ever even opening the images!

Amazing. Let’s see how to do this.

Open Photoshop, and go to File > Automate > Batch

Automate Batch Processing Watermark Photoshop

Step 4: Point to your Source Folder and Destination Folders

Now the Batch Processing Pop-Up has appeared. There’s a lot going on in this menu, but it’s not that complicated. Let’s break it down:

  • Starting on the far left under Play, Choose the Set (folder) where your action lives and then select the action you want to run.
  • Next, click Choose to navigate to your Source Folder.
  • Optional: There are some extra options and settings for how you want Photoshop to handle errors. These will depend on your desired outcome & your files! Most are self-explanatory.
  • Now Choose your Destination Folder. You can save your new files in your same folder or choose a different location.
  • Choose the settings for how you want Photoshop to name your files. You can enter a custom name if you want or leave it as the Document Name. Again, there’s no right or wrong here, it’s just dependent on your goals/preferences.
  • Finally, Click OK.
Automate Batch Pop Up Settings Photoshop

You probably won’t even see anything happen, but depends on your computer. And you’ll probably wonder… did this batch processing even do anything? Did it work?

Step 5: Navigate to your New Files to see the Results of the Batch Process

Go ahead and navigate to the location where you chose to save your photos once they were done processing. As you can see in my screenshot below, the watermark has been applied to all of them.


batch process results watermark photoshop

Share this Photoshop Tutorial

Did you try this? How did it go?

Make sure to comment if you got stuck anywhere so I can help you troubleshoot. Otherwise, if you enjoyed this tutorial, would you do me a favor?

Pin this image to share this amazing Photoshop tutorial with your friends!

watermark your photos in one click with batch process and photoshop actions

If you’re interested in more Photoshop and Illustrator graphic design tutorials, check these out:

Happy Batching,


RGB Split Glitch Photo Effect in 4 Simple Steps – Easy Photoshop Tutorial

Easy RGB Split Photoshop Tutorial

Today I’m going to share how to create an RGB Split Photo Effect in 4 simple steps using Adobe Photoshop.

Oh, and by the way.. did I mention you don’t even have to do it yourself? That’s right, I’m including an awesome Photoshop Action as a freebie today! Find a link at the bottom of this post.

But in case you want to know exactly how to recreate this cool, colorful glitch effect for your own photos & graphics, read on for the full Photoshop tutorial.

An RGB Split Effect results in photos that have a glitch-like appearance, where the colors that comprise all white light (red, green, blue) went out-of-bounds. No idea what I mean? I’ll quit trying to describe it and just show you.

It looks like this:

The RGB split effect with css and a bit of javascript - DEV
Image by –>

This RGB split effect looks cool on text, but it looks really cool on photos. I find it’s usually most effective on black & white photos, where the cyan and red can really POP, but that’s just my preference. This method can be applied to color photos for an interesting hazy/fuzzy effect as well.

Images c/o Pexels: 1 | 2

If you don’t have any cool images of your own to use for this tutorial, I highly recommend you head over to Pexels and download something special for free.

How to Create an RGB Split Glitch Photo Effect in Photoshop

Step 1: Go to Image > Adjustments > Black & White

Step 1 RGB Split Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1 is optional, since you can just as easily apply this effect to color photos.

Open your image in Photoshop and convert it to black & white. There are several ways to do this, however- by going to Image > Adjustments > Black & White, you’ll be able to adjust the luminosity of individual colors in your photo, which gives you more control over the final black & white version.

Step 2: Duplicate Your Image Two Times

Step 2 RGB Split Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Make two exact copies of your original image (background layer). To do this, simply click on the image thumbnail in the layers panel and drag the image over the “Add New Layer” icon, which is the square with a plus sign in it. Do this twice.

And as every good graphic designer knows, you’d better rename those layers. Otherwise you’re going to forget what “Layer Copy 1” and “Layer Copy 2” are supposed to do.

Rename Copy 1 to “Red”

Rename Copy 2 to “Cyan”

Step 3: Change the Layer Blending Options

Step 3 RGB Split Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Now we have 3 photo layers: Layer 1, red, and cyan. Don’t worry about the default Background layer, just leave it alone.

Double click the image thumbnail on the red layer to bring up the blending options. In the layer style panel, under Advanced Blending Options, you see:

Channels: R ☑ G ☑ B ☑

If you haven’t caught on yet, RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue – the three primary colors that make up white light.

For the red layer, uncheck the G and B. Hint: you won’t see any changes yet!

Repeat this step for the cyan layer, except this time, only uncheck the R. Green and blue together make cyan.

Step 4: Adjust the Placement of the Layers

Step 4 RGB Split Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Ready to see the magic happen? We’re so close!

If you’re following along, you probably already have the cyan layer selected. Just select one of the two copies: cyan or red. You will repeat this step for both layers.

Now make sure you have the Move Tool selected from the toolbar. It’s the very first/uppermost tool, or you can press V as a keyboard shortcut to bring it up.

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the layer around. You’ll see the effect start to take place immediately. Do the same to the red layer, and play around until you achieve the desired affect.

Bonus Step: Try different Channel Combinations in Blending Modes

Try different combinations of the RGB Channels in your layers. You certainly don’t have to stick to the traditional red and cyan. Achieve different looks by leaving the R and B channels on in a layer, for example, until you find something you like!

I created more of a purple/green split effect in this version:

RGB Split Photo Effect

And that’s it! Super easy. Super effective.

But wait!

I’ve actually created an RGB split effect as a Photoshop Action, and it’s yours to download and use for free! A Photoshop Action recreates this process for you so you don’t have to repeat these steps every time you want to apply the RGB Split Effect to a photo.

With this free Photoshop RGB Split Action, all the duplicate layers and channel settings/blending modes are done for you. All you have to do is move the Red and Cyan layers around until you achieve an effect you like.

To save the Photoshop Action for Use, drag the file into your Actions folder, located here:

  • Mac: Applications/Adobe Photoshop/Presets/Actions
  • Windows: C:/Users/Username/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop/Presets/Actions

Get the Free Action by Entering Your Email ->

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RGB Split Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial and Free Action

Want more Graphic Design Tutorials?

Happy Color Splitting!


Vector vs Raster Graphics Explained: Everything You Need to Know

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I earn a small commission – and it doesn’t cost you a thing.

vector graphics vs raster graphics

There comes a moment in every graphic designer’s life when you first encounter the term vector graphic.. it’s usually preceded or followed by another unfamiliar (and alarmingly mathematical-sounding) term – raster graphic.

If these terms automatically evoke bad memories of high school Physics Class – or even worse– Trigonometry- don’t be alarmed.

Vector graphics and raster graphics aren’t all that complicated to understand. Even better, you won’t need your calculator to figure this out.

Here’s the main difference between them: Vector graphics are path-based. Raster graphics are pixel-based.

There’s a little more to it than that, of course. And understanding the difference is important.

The sooner you master vector & raster graphics, the sooner you’ll go from total design noob to expert level graphic artist (pronounced ar-teest).

Here’s what we’ll be covering in this post:

  • What a vector is, the pros/cons, and the common file types of vector graphics
  • What a raster is, the pros/cons, and the common file types of raster graphics
  • The role of Photoshop & Illustrator in vector vs raster graphics
  • How to convert vector graphics into raster graphics and vice-versa

What is a Vector Graphic?

First off, what even is a vector graphic?

vector graphic

To put it simply…

A vector graphic is a graphic made up of paths (and not pixels).

The benefit of a vector graphic is that (thanks to math), it’s infinitely scalable. You can shrink it down or make it bigger, and it will stay perfectly crisp, clear, and proportional.

Common Vector File Type Extensions

Here are some common file extensions for vector graphics:

When to Use Vector Graphics

But other than understanding a vector graphic by it’s file extension, how do you know when to use one?

Most vector graphics are working files.

This means you aren’t usually going to visibly see vector graphics on display, if at all. But you might see the finished products that were made from vector graphics.

One occasion you always want to use a vector graphic is when designing a logo. (Even if you aren’t the designer, make sure your designer sends you this file.) This allows your logo to be editable with the right software. It can easily be converted into a cut file (think vinyl signs) or digitized for embroidery (shirts, hats, etc).

The most common vector graphic most people interact with on a daily basis is a .PDF.

Using the logo example again.. Even if you don’t have the vector file of your logo, if you have a .PDF – you can send it to your vinyl shop or graphic designer. They will be able to edit it to their specs using a program such as Adobe Illustrator.

The Pros & Cons of Vector Graphics

The PROS of vector graphics are:

  • no background or bounding box
  • no size constraints- infinitely scalable (larger or smaller) while maintaining sharpness, clarity, and proportion
  • can easily be converted to raster graphics for display purposes
  • useful for turning into product art

The CONS of vector graphics are:

  • basic in appearance (less detailed)
  • less realistic (they will always be a drawing or imitation of the real thing)
  • most vector file types can’t be opened or edited with free computer software

How to Make Icons in Adobe Illustrator

What is a Raster Graphic?

Now that we know the meaning of vector graphic, let’s talk about raster graphics.

raster graphic made of pixels

To put it simply…

A raster graphic is a graphic comprised of pixels.

Pixels are just tiny dots of light, and together a group of pixels makes up one large image. Generally, the higher the pixel count, the better quality the picture. The number of pixels that make up the image are known as the resolution.

This isn’t a hard concept for most of us to understand. After all, we interact with pixel-based images every day on our cameras, phones, TVs, etc.

Because it is made of pixels, you can’t scale a raster graphic infinitely the way you can a vector graphic. The maximum size and overall clarity of the image is going to depend on how many pixels it’s made of (aka it’s resolution).

Common Raster File Type Extensions

Here are some of the common file extensions for raster graphics:

  • .JPG
  • .PNG
  • .GIF
  • .BMP
  • .TIF

When to Use Raster Graphics

So when should you work with raster graphics?

Raster graphics are the kind you most commonly see, because they are used as display graphics. Most of us interact with them every day.

Posting a photo on social media? Driving past a digital billboard? Just texted your BFF an animated GIF over iMessage? You guessed it.. all raster graphics.

Use raster graphics for anything you want people to SEE.

In general, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image. But keep in mind that your graphic is limited to the resolution of the device it’s being displayed on.

For example, you’ll never need to create a 4K image if it’s not being displayed on a device that supports 4K resolution. And even if the device supports 4k- chances are you can get just a sharp an image with a much smaller file size. In this instance, bigger doesn’t always equal better.

Learn how to make your own GIFs in Photoshop

The Pros & Cons of Raster Graphics

The PROS of raster graphics are:

  • extremely common file types
  • can be opened, viewed, and edited with free computer software
  • lots of rich colors
  • fine detail
  • realistic

The CONS of raster graphics are:

  • will become “pixelated” in appearance if you try to scale a raster past it’s maximum resolution
  • not suitable for logo design, cutting vinyl, or embroidery
  • difficult to convert to vector graphics

Want to Learn Illustrator FREE? Check out This Video Playlist

The Role of Illustrator and Photoshop in Vector & Raster Graphics

Now we know the difference between vector graphics and raster graphics. We know what they are and when to use them, but questions remain, like:

How do we create vector and raster graphics?

How do we edit them?

There are other programs that work for these purposes, but my favorite programs are by Adobe.

Adobe Illustrator is software that is commonly used to create or edit vector-based graphic art.


Adobe Photoshop is software that is commonly used to create or edit raster-based graphic art.

As an industry standard, look to Adobe for basically anything related to the creation or editing of vector & raster graphics, but if you’re looking for free or alternative options – check out some of these:

Illustrator Alternatives:

Photoshop Alternatives:

A quick Google search will turn up even more results.

Start a FREE 7 Day Trial of Adobe Creative Cloud

Converting Vector Graphics to Raster Graphics

The final thing we should cover about vector and raster graphics is the topic of conversion. Again – it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Can we convert vectors to rasters and vice-versa?

The good news is converting vector graphics to raster graphics is simple. It’s easy to do this in a program like Adobe Illustrator.

In Illustrator, simply save as or export your vector graphic as a .JPG, .PNG, .GIF, etc.

Remember, once you do this your graphic will have a set resolution and size, so be sure to scale it up or down before saving depending on your sizing needs. You can easily change your screen resolution in the document settings as well.

Converting Raster Graphics to Vector Graphics

Now for the not so-good-news.

Converting raster graphics to vector graphics isn’t easy.

Possible? Yes.

But how difficult or easy it is depends on some different factors.

To convert raster graphics to vector graphics, you’ll need to use what Adobe Illustrator calls Image Trace. Alternatively, you could trace it by hand with your pen tool.

The trouble is that Image Trace can have a really hard time capturing all the detail of a raster image.

If the raster is comprised of just a few high-contrast colors, you’re in luck.

If it’s got lots of detail, tons of colors, and not enough contrast…Image Trace may not detect anything at all. Chances are you’re going to have quite a headache by the time you get done.

If you get it done, that is.

Long story short, when you convert a raster to a vector, you’re almost ALWAYS going to lose detail. Sometimes that’s ok, and other times it isn’t. It’s all relative.

If you enjoyed this post, PIN the image below to save for later.. or share it with friends!

raster graphics vs vector graphics easy guide to understanding the difference

Now go forth and create this vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator — then add some raster animation effects in Adobe Photoshop.

Maker Lex Signature

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop – Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I receive a commission (at no additional cost to you, of course). It helps me pay that Creative Cloud Subscription.

Make Your Own Blog GIFS Animation

On the Pronunciation of GIF

Before we begin today’s Animated GIF Photoshop tutorial, we need to clear up something extremely important.

We need to have an important pronunciation conversation (say that five times fast) about the word GIF.

On this blog, we pronounce the “g” in gif as we pronounce the “g” in girl.
We NEVER (never-ever, under any circumstance, not even silently in our own heads, lest we embarrass our own selves) pronounce it as jif.

A GIF is an animation. JIF is my favorite peanut butter.

This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming..

Today I’ll be showing you how to create an animated GIF in Photoshop.

What’s a GIF?

A GIF is simply an animation that plays on a loop (foooooreeeevver). It’s made from a video clip or a series of images.

And they are super duper fun, my friends. I’ve been obsessed with creating my own- and finding ways to incorporate them on my blogs– since, like, 2008. I bet you’ve seen some funny ones in your day. And I bet you love sharing them with your besties over iMessage.

When you think of GIFs, maybe the website Giphy comes to mind. Giphy has a huge database of existing GIFs, plus the ability to create your own by uploading a series of images or a video clip. It even supports Youtube and Vimeo, so you can rip your favorite clips right from the internet.

If you upload a series of images to Giphy, it will cycle through them continuously. If you upload a video clip, you’ll be able to trim it to the portion you want and have it repeat that segment forever. You can add text and stickers with Giphy as well.

It’s an awesome tool you can use absolutely FREE, so if you don’t have Photoshop, I highly recommend it. Hey- check out this beauty I made in about ten seconds.

But as with most FREE software, Giphy has its limits, so if you want to create a GIF that is 100% customized and on-brand, Photoshop is the answer!

For example, here’s a custom animated GIF I created for my twin sister, Brooke’s Beauty Bazaar in Photoshop that looks nothing like my Giphy GIF:

smokey eye makeup GIF ©Maker Lex
©Maker Lex – Custom GIF for an eye makeup tutorial by Brooke’s Beauty Bazaar

Follow the steps below to learn how you can easily create custom GIFs for your own blog or brand in Photoshop.

How to Create a GIF in Photoshop

Today I’m going to walk you through exactly how I created this simple frame animation GIF in Photoshop- which features 9 of my favorite things. It’s the sort of GIF I would include in a blog post.

Lexie’s Favorite Things GIF

When you look at the GIF, you’ll notice that the little stars move around the canvas, highlighting one item after another. This isn’t a highly technical GIF, but it’s simple to create, and it definitely adds some movement & visual interest!

After following this step-by-step tutorial, you should have a good grasp on the animation panel in Photoshop. From there, the sky’s the limit as to what you can create.

But one final word before I set you loose: resist the temptation to go overboard with .GIFs. They’re fun, but too many of them at too large a file size can really bog down your blog. And we don’t want slow blogs!

Don’t worry – I’ll cover the best practices for optimizing your GIF later in this tutorial.

Now – let’s begin!

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 1 –> Sketch Out a Composition on Paper and Decide What You want the Animation To Do

The #1 Rule of Graphic Design is to create thumbnails- aka– draw out all of your ideas on paper.

Technically I can’t force you to do this, but if you go into Photoshop with a plan, you’ll be better off. Especially if you’re new to Photoshop, that list of layers in the layers panel gets long lickety-split.

Best to sort it out before you get to the computer.

Here’s my idea:

my favorite things blog post gif tutorial in photoshop
Plan it out on paper first

As you can see, I’ve decided to create a visual representation of 9 of my favorite things to go along with a (made up) blog post. For the animation – I’m going to highlight each thing randomly one-by-one to give the image some interest and movement.

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 2 –> Create A New Optimized Document in Photoshop

Once you’re ready to begin, open Photoshop and create a New Document.

  • Your document size is going to depend on how large you want your image to be. I’m making mine 800px width x 800 px height.
  • Set the Resolution to 72 (which is standard for screens)
  • Set the Color Mode to RGB (also standard for screens)
How to Create a GIF in Photoshop Tutorial Photoshop Settings
Photoshop Document Settings

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 3 –> Start Adding the Elements of Your Composition, Layer by Layer

The next step is to start adding photos, text, and elements to your composition. Here’s my game plan for building my composition:

  1. Leave my background layer as white
  2. Type out the title “My Favorite Things” at the top & format the text
  3. Copy & Paste a picture of each item from the internet into my Photoshop document & remove the background (if necessary) from each
  4. Rearrange the items on the canvas until I like the layout
  5. Add more text – number my items 1-9 & format (change the size)
  6. Draw stars around each item with the brush tool to highlight it. For the animation portion, the stars will blink around the canvas, highlighting each item one at a time. To accomplish this, I need to put each set of stars ✨ (9 total) on a separate layer. I will also rename these layers — each one according to it’s corresponding item.
  7. Finally, I’ll clean up my layers to make sure they are labeled and organized before I start animating

Here’s what my composition looked like after following steps 1-6:

Photoshop Screenshot - making "my favorite things" GIF
“My Favorite Things” Composition in Photoshop

And here’s a closer look at my layers panel after I cleaned it up in step 7:

Photoshop Layers – Organized

You’ll notice in the layers panel that I grouped some of my layers together. That means I put similar layers in a little folder together so the layers panel isn’t as cluttered. Each of my groups contains one of the item photos plus it’s corresponding number.

There’s no right or wrong way to group your layers – just do what makes sense to you.

To group layers together — hold down Shift on your keyboard, then select the layers you want to group together by clicking on them. Keep holding down shift, and now click the little file icon at the bottom of the layers panel.

Technically–since my layers are all going to stay where they are, I could merge or flatten them instead of grouping them, but leaving it this way means it’s 100% editable if I want to go back in and change something.

You’ll notice I left out the stars for each item, because I want easy access to those layers for the next step: animation!

Pro Tip: NOW would be a great time to save your PSD file so you don’t risk losing your hard work! That’s the #2 Rule of Graphic Design – save as you go!

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 4 –> Layer Visibility Is the Key!

We’re all ready to animate! But before we bring up our Timeline, do you notice how there’s a little eye next to each layer in the layers panel?

The eye represents layer visibility.

If you click on an eye it disappears and so do the contents of that layer. Click again and it all reappears.

Great, now that you understand layer visibility, onto the Timeline..

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 5 –> Window –> Timeline

If you’re using Photoshop Creative Cloud – you can access the animation timeline by choosing Window –> Timeline. If you’re using an older version of Photoshop- this may be called Animate.

A timeline should appear at the bottom of Photoshop. It looks like this:

Timeline Panel in Photoshop

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 6 –> Choose “Create Frame Animation”

In the Timeline panel, there’s an option for Video Animation or Frame Animation. You’ll want to click on Create Frame Animation.

Immediately, a frame appears labeled with the number 1. On the bottom of the frame, it reads “0 sec.” with a drop down arrow.

First frame in the GIF animation

Right now all my layers are visible on Frame 1, but I need to change that.

I’m going to leave all my “groups” and my background layer turned on. They’ll remain on for each frame in my animation.

I’m going to turn off the visibility of all the “stars” layers except for the stars behind my fifth item, the Lindt chocolate. Remember- I turn the layers” off” or “on” by switching the eye next to each layer in the layers panel.

Then click the drop-down menu to the right of 0 sec. and change it to .5 sec — this means my frame will “play” for half a second before switching to the next frame.

From here I’m going to create another frame. Select the new frame icon on the Timeline, which is the icon next to the trashcan.

First, turn OFF the layer visibility of the stars behind the Lindt chocolate. Then, turn ON the stars behind your next item. I’m going with Item #9 – the dry shampoo.

I don’t have to adjust the time because when I created the new frame, the time automatically set to match the time of my previous frame: .5 sec.

Hit the Play button to preview your animation so far. When you look at your composition, the stars appear behind Item #5 and half a second later, the stars appear behind Item #9. They cycle back and forth infinitely. Press Stop.

Now that you see how the animation panel works, continue the animation by adding more new frames to your timeline, making just one set of stars visible on each frame..

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 7 –> Complete the Animation

  • Keep repeating the same process in Step 6 until you’ve created a frame for each set of stars. And don’t forget that all the layers that have my images on them–plus my background & text layers– will remain ON for every frame. These are the repeatable steps I took –>
    • Make a new frame in the timeline
    • Turn off the star layer from the previous frame
    • Turn on a new star layer in your layers panel
    • Adjust the time of the frame if necessary

Eventually, your timeline will look something like this:

Timeline with 9 Frames

I now have all 9 of my star layers on a separate frame in my timeline. When I press the Play button, I can preview my animation. The stars move from one item to another in half-second intervals. Since the animation is set to Forever, it will play on a loop infinitely.

At the bottom of the Timeline, click the drop down menu next to Forever to change the amount of times the animation will play.

And that’s it! You can keep playing around until you get things just right, or you can move on to the next step: saving your GIF.

How to Create an Animated GIF in Photoshop Step 8 –> Save Your GIF Animation

When you’re ready to save your GIF, go up to File –> Export –> Save for Web

Optimize Your GIF For Web

We need to save this GIF with web optimization in mind. That means we should keep the file size small in favor of faster load times..*much like you do with all your blog images*.

Notice in the photo above, GIF is selected in the drop down menu on the top right, as well as 64 colors. The more colors you add (up to 256) the more rich your image will appear, but your file size will be bigger.

In the lower left corner, you’ll see my GIF size is 108.8K with a load time of 21 seconds @ 56.5Kbps.

Considering 56Kbps is the speed of dial-up internet and most high-speed internet connections are moving ten times faster- or more — we should be good to go. You can view more load times according to varying internet speeds if you click the drop down menu.

To get a better look, you can also Preview your animated GIF at the selected settings in a web browser by clicking on Preview.

As I mentioned, it’s a good idea to keep your file size as low as possible – this might mean you sacrifice slightly on image quality, but it’s worth it in favor of faster load times on your blog or website.

Finally, hit save and then upload your GIF to your blog post! (Or Giphy – or wherever).

If you enjoyed this tutorial, be sure to share it with friends. Or, you can pin this image to come back to this tutorial later.

How to Make Your Own Blog GIFs – Pin to Pinterest!

Don’t forget to drop your link in the comments below if you used this tutorial to create your own GIF in Photoshop! And tell me- was it easy?

The Easiest Way to Make a Collage for Instagram (Using Adobe Photoshop)

cut up photo collage tutorial how to for instagram with photoshop slice tool

How to Cut Up Photos for an Instagram Collage

You’ve seen those Instagram Photo Collages, right?

As in.. a large photo cut up into a bunch of little squares and then posted one by one until they form the whole photo across the squares of your Instagram. When people visit your profile, they’re like “Woah! So Impact. Great. Amazing”.

Anyway. Posting these giant photo collages on Instagram is a really great way to add some creativity to your feed.

It looks like this…

Instagram Feed Large Photo Collage

But the best part is when you spam everyone else’s feed with enlarged photos of your right ear, then your left nostril, and last but not least– your line-free (thanks, Facetune!) forehead.. all the parts that make up a giant photo of your precious face.  When your right eyebrow gets more double-taps than your left, you’ll know that they know that your left arch is struggling (as you suspected) compared to the right arch.

So without further ado, let’s learn how to slice photos for an Instagram Collage, so you can find out which feature of your face your friends like the most.

Tools Needed:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC

For this tutorial, I’ll be using Adobe Photoshop CC, and specifically the slice tool. You can easily recreate this in older versions of Photoshop, but the steps may look slightly different.

And if you prefer to watch instead of read, check out the full tutorial in my Youtube video.

How to Cut Up Photos for an Instagram Collage Step #1: Decide your Aspect Ratio

How to Cut up photos for Instagram Collage: Decide your aspect ratio

A note before we begin cutting/slicing the photo:  you need to decide on a size for your Instagram collage. The photo has to be cut into equal little squares across and down.

As you might’ve guessed, we’ve got some math to do. So if you’re one of those people who complained in Geometry/Algebra class, wondering when we’d ever use it in real life, this is the moment, my friend.

Instagram only displays 3 squares across, so you know the width of the photo needs to be divisible by 3. That’s a given. But now you need to decide how many rows (length) you want it to span. Technically you can make the photo as many squares in length as you’d like, but the best practice is to keep it between 3 – 4 squares in length. That way people will be able to see the whole picture at once when they arrive to your profile or scroll through your feed. Some phone screens are larger, so for example, I can see 5 rows at once when I start scrolling. But not everyone can.

Ratio Guide:

3:3 or 1:1 Ratio = 9 squares

This means the photo is a perfect square. If it’s 900px wide, it’s also 900px height.

900px/3 (width) = 300px and 900px/3 (height) = 300px

This ratio will post the photo over 9 squares in your profile.

3:4 Ratio = 12 squares

For this size, you need to be able to divide the width of the photo by 3 and the height by 4 and get the same value for each. If the width of the photo is 900px, the height should be 1200px.

This is because 900px/3 (width) = 300px and 1200px/4 (height) = 300px

This ratio will post the photo over 12 squares in your profile.

3:5 Ratio = 15 squares*

For this size, you need to be able to divide the width of the photo by 3 and the height by 5 and get the same value for each.  We need to find a number that is divisible by both 3 and 5. (Are visions of least common multiples haunting you right now? Don’t worry, I’ll do the thinking for you.) If 900px is the width of the photo, the height is 1500px.

This is because 900px/3 (width) = 300px and 1500px/5 (height) = 300px

This ratio will post the photo over 15 squares in your profile.


After you decide which ratio you want to use, either crop or resize your image to the correct size.

*As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t choose a length any greater than 5 rows or your collage won’t be visible all at once.

How to Cut Up Photos for an Instagram Collage Step #2: Choose the Slice Tool

Now that you’ve decided your ratio and either cropped or resized your photo to the proper size, let’s move on to the slice tool.

Choose the Slice Tool from your Toolbar. It should be nested with your Crop Tool (click and hold the lower right hand corner on the slice tool in the toolbar to bring up more options). If you still don’t see the slice tool, check the 3 dots at the very bottom of the toolbar. The slice tool may be hiding in there. Mine was.

Once you have the Slice Tool selected, right click on your image and choose Divide Slice.

How to Cut Up Photos for an Instagram Collage Step #3: Set the Horizontal and Vertical Values

How to Cut Up Photos for Instagram Collage with Slice Tool PhotoshopThank goodness we did the math and got our photo cropped or resized already, because this is the part where we plug in our aspect ratio numbers.

Divide Horizontally Into will give us our HEIGHT. Divide Vertically Into will give us our WIDTH. Technically they are out of order from the way we did our math, so make sure you don’t put the numbers in backwards! Depending on which aspect ratio you chose for your Instagram Collage, use the values below:

3:3 or 1:1 Ratio = 9 squares

Divide Horizontally Into: 3 slices down, evenly spaced

Divide Vertically Into: 3 slices across, evenly spaced

3:4 Ratio = 12 squares

Divide Horizontally Into: 4 slices down, evenly spaced

Divide Vertically Into: 3 slices across, evenly spaced

3:5 Ratio = 15 squares

Divide Horizontally Into: 5 slices down, evenly spaced

Divide Vertically Into: 3 slices across, evenly spaced

Note: this step will not work out for you if you did not get your image sized right, so if needed, return to Step 1.

How to Cut Up Photos for an Instagram Collage Step #4: Save the Images Individually

Divide photo into even squares for instagram collage

Great! We’re nearly done. The last step in Photoshop is to save our Instagram Collage as individual photos.

Go to File > Export > Save for Web

Zoom out so you can see the whole image. By default, only the first square is selected, so hold down Shift and click on all of the squares so that the whole image is selected.

I’m choosing Preset: JPEG (High), then Press Save.

How to Cut Up Photos for an Instagram Collage Step #5: Post to Instagram!

Navigate to where you saved the images. They are all numbered and ready to post to Instagram! Congrats.

Divide photo into even squares for instagram collage

If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to check out more Graphic Design tutorials on my Youtube Channel!

How to Slice Photos for Instagram Collage in Photoshop

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