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I would like to create an animated gif from a number of frames in Indexed Color (or otherwise with a limited palette + dithering). However, changing the Mode to Indexed Color flattens the image. Thus, I would have to apply indexed color to each frame individually, export them, then reconstruct the animation (which would be very time consuming).

Is there a feasible way of applying a limited palette + dither to a large number of frames/layers at once?

  • Is there aany particular reason why you must work in photoshop? – joojaa Sep 27 '16 at 11:24
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OK, this may seem a little long winded, but I think it's the only workaround without using extra software or writing scripts...

First, you can use the Export as... function from the layers palette to get all of your layers as separate files. Best to stick them all in a folder. Next, you can create an action that just converts a file to indexed colour and apply this as a batch action to the files that you just created. It should be able to do even a large number of files in a matter of minutes. Finally, go to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack to reimport all of the new frames as layers. Hopefully that option is available in your version of Photoshop.

There may be some effort required to make sure that the frames come back in in the correct order (layer / file names in alphabetical order for instance), but it shouldn't be too time consuming.

Hope that helps.

  • does not the save for web gif output do this in one step? – joojaa Sep 27 '16 at 11:39
  • It does, as explained nicely in the answer from @Cai. However, the question seems to require the effect to be added before export so that it is baked in to each frame, which is why I approached it that way in my answer. – Westside Sep 27 '16 at 12:42
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You can limit the color table and set dithering in the Save for Web dialog.

There are a number of GIF presets for different numbers of colors and dithering, but as soon as "GIF" is selected as the format you can specify (among other things) the number of colors, color reduction method, dithering method and dithering amount.

You can also quite specifically make changes to the color table by adjusting specific colors, mapping colors to transparency etc.

Photoshop Save for Web GIF

I'm not sure about the new export options available in Photoshop CC since I'm still using CS6, but it seems it is still suggested to use Save for Web for exporting animated GIFs, at least in this Adobe help page: Create an animated GIF in Photoshop.

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