How do I open a .gif in gimp, edit the frames, and save it without the final product being a still image? I alredy know how to make a .gif but I want to be able to take a pre-existing .gif and just edit the frames
Editing GIFs can be complex if it has lots of frames. You need to edit each frame individually, and this can be tedious. Anyway, it is possible. Here are the steps.
To open click File > Open, navigate to the GIF file, select it and open it. The image will open with each frame as a layer.
Click Filters > Animation > Unoptimise - this will make the frames easier to edit, the unoptimised image will open as a new document.
Click Image > Mode > RGB - to make the colours editable
You can navigate the frames using the layers panel. You can switch off layers by clicking the Eye icon for each layer.
Edit the image layers (frames) as you wish. Remember each layer is a frame of the animation. So, if you want to add something you might need to add it on a new layer, and then duplicate that layer and place a copy between each frame layer you wish to add it to, and then merge each copied layer down to the frame layer.
To preview the animation, click Filters > Animation > Playback
When you are happy with everything click Filters > Animation > Optimise for GIF. This will optimise the GIF, and keep the file size smaller, and it will also open the optimised image as a new document.
Click File > Export As, choose GIF as the file type. Hit Export.
When the Export dialog appears, choose "as animation". Hit Export.
If you want to save the XCF file for editing in the future, close the optimised GIF document, then click File > Save as.