Once you have created an animated GIF, it is essential that you know how to optimize one. This way, your images will load faster and take less space on the web! Also, optimized websites tend to rank higher in Google’s organic search results and other popular search engines such as Yahoo or Bing!
What is a GIF File?
A GIF is a compressed image that allows you to store multiple images into one file. The graphics in GIF files are generally compressed using the Lempel–Ziv–Welch (LZW) algorithm.
Because of its widespread use, support for LZW is ubiquitous among image decoders which often make use of an LZW implementation that was copied from elsewhere or reverse engineered rather than licensing an implementation of their own.
When the image is decoded, it’s decompressed to its original form using an LZW algorithm that can be executed in software or hardware.
Ways to optimize an animated GIF
Adjust the animation speed
If you have a GIF that is too slow or too fast, this can be easily adjusted by adding more animation frames. However, if your original file already has plenty of frames and just needs some adjustments in time delay, then there are programs out there that allow you to do so quickly and easily.
Optimize color palettes
Animated GIFs are made of pixels, just like images and photos that you might have seen in magazines or on TV shows. The more colors there are, the larger your graphic will be, which can slow down your website load time. Using fewer colors (between 16-256) is a good way to optimize your animated GIF.
Use fewer images
Animated GIFs are made up of multiple sequential images strung together into an animation that has been optimized for color and size. To keep this from being too large, it’s important to keep the number of colors down and use a smaller number of images.
Using fewer images means that your GIF will be smaller too.
Use the “save for web” option in Photoshop or other image editors before saving it as an animated GIF
Most people know Adobe as the software company behind Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash. But what you may not realize is that Adobe also has several other amazing products like Dreamweaver (web design software), Audition (professional audio editing software), and InDesign (creating digital magazines).
Using “Save for Web” options in Photoshop or other image editors will optimize images by reducing color count and resolution settings.
Use a GIF animation software
There are many free online tools that will allow you to optimize your animated GIF file without having Photoshop or other image editing programs installed on your computer. Software deals can be extremely helpful for beginners who may not understand how to reduce color palettes and get their files down in size.
Some companies such as Adobe CC offer student software deals on their products. This is a great way to get started with professional grade softwares without a big upfront cost.
Animated GIFs have been around since the beginning of the World Wide Web when bandwidth was extremely limited and many users used dial-up connections. Since then, they’ve come a long way, but it’s important to remember that they can still slow down your website if not optimized correctly.