***note: I recently rewrote this tutorial with a much quicker method now that I have a working version of ps!! if you want to try that one, click here
alrighty so I’m going to assume that you already know how to make gifs for this tutorial, and that you have a basic knowledge of how to do things on photoshop because I know Kate does and this is primarily for her
I’m using photoshop cs5 so I don’t know if there are differences between this and any other versions
also I have a version that’s missing a lot of features, so some of the methods I use might not be the fastest
so, for this example I’m going to be merging this gif (here on referred to as the bottom gif):
with this gif (here on referred to as the top gif):
before I go over actually merging the two of them I figure I should say that the two gifs you use should be the same number of frames, and although they don’t need to be the same size, the part of the top gif you want to be visible needs to fit easily over the bottom gif.
if your sharpening technique involves making more than one layer for each frame (e.g. one layer sharpened and then another layer of gaussian blur set to a lower opacity), you should sharpen it now; you need to make sure to merge the layers of the top gif so that there is only one layer per frame. I usually do this by going frame by frame, right-clicking on a visible layer, and selecting “merge visible.” If you don’t use a technique like that to sharpen, you don’t need to worry about this.
alright, so open up the window with the bottom gif, and select all the frames, then copy them
then open the window with the top gif, select all frames, and hit paste
click the bubble next to “paste over frames”
right now all that should be visible is the top gif, but both gifs should be on the same canvas. at this point you can close the window that has the top gif only, and only work with the canvas that has both gifs on it (the window that was originally the bottom gif only, but now has the top gif pasted over it)
okay, so now you’re going to want to select the elliptical marquee tool second from the top on the lefthand menu and use it to pick out an area around the part of the top gif (currently the only one visible) that you want to be visible.
you don’t need to select the whole of the part you want visible, we’ll play with how much you actually see in a moment.
now go to the top bar and click on the button that says “refine edge”
you’re going to work with the “feather” bar first; draw it as far out to the right as you feel like you need to. the area you can see in the preview is the portion that will be visible. you want the transition from visible to transparent to be as smooth as possible, so go for smoothness first here.
after you think you have the transition looking alright, play with the “shift edge” bar and move it until you have as much visible as you think looks good. it’s hard to give an example of this since it’s going to be different for every gif so I’m going without a screenshot at this step
now hit ctrl+shift+i
this selects the inverse of what is currently selected.
okay, so now we’re going to do some erasing whoo
select your first frame and the first layer of the top gif. erase until all of the selected area is gone. then repeat this will all the other frames with their respective layers.
if photoshop is being mean to you, you might also need to make the bottom layer of the top gif invisible on all the other frames after the first
this is where I am right now:
now if you want to get fancy, you might want to add a black and white layer right now before deselecting. that’s going to make the bottom gif black and white while the top gif is colored. I’m not going to do it in this case since my top gif isn’t very colorful, but I did on the Frodo set I linked to in the beginning.
and once you’re done with adding layers you want to apply to the bottom gif and not the top gif, you can deselect your selection and add coloring.
and boom you’re done
so yeah I hope that helped some and if it didn’t I can elaborate on whatever you want I’m sorry I did a less than awesome job of explaining x_x