Why, thank you :D
Unfortunately I like to ramble, so, here’s what you started. Apologies in advance:
I’m not sure how much I can help…I’m no expert, but without going too in-depth, this is the general process for me, which you might be familiar with:
- Get the frames into photoshop
- Clean/sharpen/whatever each frame, either using something like Topaz (topaz clean, topaz denoise, etc), which seems to be the most popular choice, or just making due with photoshop’s built in blur/sharpen/denoise filters
- Apply what most people refer to as a “PSD”, which is basically just a collection of adjustment layers (Levels, Selective Color, Gradient Maps, etc).
- Optimize and save the GIF via Photoshop’s Save For Web dialog.
Other things that play a major factor are:
- Try to find the best video source possible. If the source looks ugly, good luck making a GIF look decent :(
- Try to find a good frame delay value. This varies depending on the number of frames and the kind of GIF you want, but you don’t want to have it go too fast or too slow.
- Don’t delete any in-between frames. Some people like to delete every other frame and speed up the frame rate. This helps a great deal with making the filesize small, but the GIF ends up moving choppy and just overall not looking as good as it should.
Typically what makes them look “better” or “different” are steps 2 and 3…I’ve seen many very good tutorials around on using topaz to clean the frames of a GIF, as well as tutorials for making “PSDs” to give it a sort of filtered/colored fancy look, so you would probably be better off finding and following one of those as a general guideline on what to do (some people even provide PSDs for you to use)…A google search provided me with this tutorial here, which seems to do a good job of going through the typical steps most people take.
As far as what I do specifically, it’s not much different. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, in my experience.I try to take everything one at a time rather than going for some kind of one-size-fits-all solution to making the GIFs look good. I also typically opt to go more subtle on the effects more often than not, so that they’re only slightly filtered. I feel it helps give it a look that stays true to the original, while only being slightly different, for the hell of it. I’ve only recently started to mess around with making GIFs on Tumblr, though, so despite already having experience with graphic & web-design, there’s only so much I can say about it :(. I’ve rambled generally about a similar matter previously here, if you’re interested.
I’ll shut up now. If you need more in-depth assistance I’d be glad to help as best I can :D