Before you can actually make circular gifs (like the ones in my photoset HERE) you need to know how to make normal gifs. I have a tutorial on how to make gifs HERE that you can check out.
Making circular gifs is pretty similar to making normal gifs. The way that I did it may not be the easiest or only way out there of course but per lizayzay’s request here, I’m going to explain it my way.
Of course you can choose whatever size you’d like but to show you, I’m going to open a new 500x200 file.
Choose the ellipse tool.
When making the circle, try to keep it within the parameters of the gif. Also remember to hold shift so that it will be perfectly circular instead of being more oval (unless of course, that’s the look you are going for).
I want to center the circle and I do so by using the transform tool (ctrl+t or cmd+t).
In the area surrounded by a red box above, this is where you can put in values to change the position of the shape. The first one is for horizontal positioning while the second is for vertical. Since my canvas is 500x200, my shape will be centered if I change the values into 250 and 100 respectively.
Now that that is all settled, you need to make the gif (you could make the gif before any of these other steps of course). So I make my gif. I don’t resize it or anything. Since I want to make the background of the final product transparent, I’ve found that I have to do all the coloring and saving and everything before I copy the layers to the window with the circle in it. Since my coloring layers include gradients and such, it looks wrong if I copy the frames into the window with the circle and then color the gif.
So basically, my point is, color the gif and save it. Don’t bother to resize or even worry about the gif exceeding the 500Kb limi. Just keep the number of colors at 256 when you go to save for web and devices. You’re going to resize the gif later to make the center of it fit in the area the circle is in so don’t worry about that now.
Now that you’ve saved the gif, open it in Photoshop. Select all the frames and then press ‘Copy Frames…’
Now go back to your first file with the circle in it and paste the frames there. While all your gif layers are selected, resize them. Don’t make it too small that you can see parts of the circle. Try to position your gif layers more in the center too so that important parts of your gif don’t get cut off later on.
While your circle is a shape layer, you can’t take the Magic Wand Tool and select it or the area around it. So right click on the shape layer and rasterize it. Now that you can use the Magic Wand Tool, press anywhere so that you can select everything but the circle. You could also select the circle and then press ctrl+shift+i or cmd+shift+i to invert the selection. Now you just have to erase the selection from each layer so that your gif will be in the shape of the circle. Select the first layer and frame and erase the selection. Then the second layer and frame and so on until you’ve done that for each layer.
Delete the background layer. Now your gif won’t have a background which means it will be transparent. And that’s basically it. Just make sure it works properly. Then save it and keep it within the 500KB limit. That’s all.
Here’s my result: