Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Adobe Photoshop CS3 and no Image Ready? No animated GIF’s either?

We recently installed Adobe CS3 at work. Everything was looking great until one of us needed Image Ready. Where is it? Turns out it is no longer part of Photoshop. The good news is that most of it is incorporated into Photoshop. Problem solved, we then proceeded to open an animated GIF, only to be told that it would only open the first frame. Wow, we can make animated GIF’s in Photoshop, but we can no longer open them. I immediately started digging for some answers only to find at first, many frustrated users. At the time I looked, Adobe’s official solution was to buy Fireworks, really no solution at all, considering that Photoshop via Image Ready has had this functionality for years. After some more digging on the Adobe forums I found what I was looking for.

Go to File / Import / Video Frames to Layers…

You will get a dialog that shows MOV, AVI, MPG, and MPEG files. So what use is this to you? Well, it is posted on the Adobe forums that this is an oversight by them. If you type in *.* in the File name: field this will show you all files. You can now open animated GIF’s and they will display in the animation window and layers pallet.

Hopefully Adobe will fix this in a future patch. All they need to add is the .GIF filter to there import dialog. I had actually tried this before searching, but of course did not see GIF as an option.

(update) See my newest entry on how to create animated GIF’s in Photoshop CS3 “Adobe Photoshop CS3 and no Image Ready? Animated GIF’s Part II

43 Comments to “Adobe Photoshop CS3 and no Image Ready? No animated GIF’s either?”

  • C*

    I got the same problem, except i dont see the dialog that shows MOV, AVI, MPG, and MPEG files…
    So i cant put *.*
    What i have to do ?

    • Srinivas


      am using Photoshop CS2, when am imports video. The video is not visible. It appears white completely. what should i do

  • Ian Hoar

    Are you using a Mac or PC? I don’t think the *.* will work on a Mac. You may be able to rename the .gif to an excepted file type. We have both Mac and PC’s at work and we had more trouble with the Mac.

  • Nate

    This worked great for me. At first I was really annoyed with CS3 and started looking around the net for answers, fortunately I found this page. Many thanks.

  • Chris

    Wow thanks. I really needed this info. Now how do you save that animated gif?

  • Ian Hoar

    Hi Chris, that’s the funny part, Photoshop CS 3 has no problem saving animated gifs. I think it was just an oversight on Adobe’s part, hopefully it will be fixed in an update.

  • Chris

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Now I just need to know how to save it as an animated GIF, since there’s no ”saved optimized as” option in PS CS3. =/

    But thank you again for the help. Appreciate it.

  • Ian Hoar

    Should be able to just “save for web”. At the bottom right of the dialoge it even lets you iterate through the animation.

  • Chris

    You know that’s funny, cause I knew that but it slipped my mind for whatever reason. I already got it before your reply.


  • Martin

    *.* is an interesting solution, but it will not work on osX, as the .gif file format is not accessible via the “import:Video frames to layers” menu :-/
    Do you know when the patch you talk will be available?

  • Ian Hoar

    I haven’t found a good work around for the Mac, but one thing you can try is to rename the .gif you want to open to .mov or .avi. I think it will open it, but the animation window will not look the same.

    As for a patch, I don’t know, I am just assuming this was an over sight, but maybe not since the official Adobe stance is to use Fireworks. What a great option, buy another program when the one we have used for years did it fine. Here is the official tech note on this issue.

  • Hernestor

    Thanks you!
    The *.* in the file name field through “Import video frames to layers…” worked for me.

    Photoshop CS3 on Windows XP.

    It does not respect the proper “delays” on every frame. It seems to reset all the delays to distribute the animation equally across all frames.

  • Liam Potter

    Thank You.
    Ran into this problem right now, in the same way you guys did. Thought everything was great, went to open image ready, thought, cs3 does have animation, lets open the gif, oh noes, it’s one frame.

    Cheers for finding this out 🙂

  • Jess

    Do you know of a fix for opening a transparent gif? I have tried the suggested *.* and it shows a white background. Does anyone know a fix for opening a transparent gif?



    Thanks so much been wanting to know how to save animated gifs since i got CS3.

  • Wahoo

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Mihail Spireanu

    Thank’s for sharing this.It works fine.

  • PhotoGeek

    Thanks for finding this out !

    I posted this EXACT question on a few of the official Adobe forums, and believe it or not, NOBODY knew about this trick you have told us about.

    I have to say that I’m disappointed in Adobe for “forgetting” such an important file type.

    And to be truthful, CS3 should be able to open an animated gif from the “open” button… ( why do they make us jump thru hoops ? )

    Now, if Adobe wanted us to buy FireWorks to work with animated gifs, then it was NO mistake they “”forgot”” to add animated gifs to that pull down menu, where we need to add in that “*.* “

  • eCore

    I’m one of the few lucky ones who got the CS3 Master Collection for work with FireWorks included. So I should be happy. BUT, the good old very simple way of ImageReady making nice gif animations, with delays, tempo changing etc. in a Photoshop workaround is kiddiesplay compared to the unhandy way of working with FireWorks. I can’t even copy/paste between FireWorks and Photoshop! Wow! CS3 MatserCollection Intergrated Design! What an annoying and arrogant policy of Adobe. Freehand has been stolen from me before (Legal License) to force us to use Illustrator. ImageReady has been stolen from us, to force us to use FireWorks. Etc. It’s all in the name of being client of a World Wide Monopoly Brand who spits on us and charges far to much for it’s monopoly products. Adobe has no respect what so ever for it’s clients. This is only the beginning. There’re more nightmares to come.

    Adobe should come up with free fixes concerning these uncomfortabilties to show their pro-active vision and make us believers again instead of sheep.

    Adobe! Listen up! Watch your steps, there’se a limit to fair policy, it comes from 2 ways!

  • eCore

    By the way: changing the gif animation’s extention from .gif to .mov to import video frames to layers doesn’t work for Photoshop CS3 on Apple.


    There’s a free solution with the good old everlasting application from the same good old days…


    Try your luck with GraphicConverter. At least you can copy/paste your precious images. Adobe can still learn from it.

  • ashley

    tnx for the information. It is very helpful. Now i know how to save animations. Thank you!

  • Erling L. Andersen

    Thanks a LOT for this information. We nearly lost our minds at work when we found out that Imageready had been removed… Good to see there’s a solution 🙂

  • JBboy

    I tried the trick but it wont work for transparent animated gifs. It leaves a white background. Does anyone know a workaround for this?

  • Don Modarelli

    You say that we can go to “Save for Web” and save the animated GIF, but that is exactly why I came here – I cannot get CS3 to give me animation or the privilege of flipping thru the layers to test the animation – NOTHING!!!
    How do I save animated GIFs if I already have the layers set to the same size and I’m ready to animate?

  • Ian Hoar

    Don, you can open the animated gif via the “Video Frames to Layers” Save for web will save this as always when set to gif.

    If you want to create one from scratch then it is easy. You create your layers as if they were frames. Once you have them set up you can go to “Window / Animation” This will bring up the animation window. On the right hand side of the Animation window you will see a fly out button (Tiny little down arrow). Click the arrow and it will bring up a bunch of options. Select the one labeled “Make Frames From Layers” This will take all your layers and put them into frames. You can then tweak the timing for each layer.

    I still have no idea why you cannot easily import the animated gif files considering all the animation tools are present in the actual application.

  • Eric

    Thanks, that helped, but now I have another dilemma.

    I recently tried converting an avi movie to a gif using the “video frames to layers” menu. But when I uploaded my avi, it was just a bunch of blank frames. Is this unusual or am I just being stupid?

  • sue

    “I recently tried converting an avi movie to a gif using the “video frames to layers” menu. But when I uploaded my avi, it was just a bunch of blank frames. Is this unusual or am I just being stupid?”

    i actually right now have the exact same problem with eric .. does anyone knows how to make it ?

  • Don Modarelli

    Hey Guys,
    I just found out that animating GIF images has been removed from CS3 and moved to one of the other applications within the CS3 suite – Fireworks.
    Who has the time to let another Adobe bloatware application to load to do something that Elements used to do just fine? I have the whole suite, but I don’t care to learn it all!

  • Ian

    Totally agree Don. I hope they put the functionality back. What bothers me is the functionality is obviously there, they have just removed the capability to easily use it.

  • G Charpentier

    Go to windows/animation do all the animation with your layers then go to file/save for the web choose GIF save it. Just drag it in to your browser and VOILA!!!!

  • Gron

    Thank you! Luckily I came upon this thread. I was just about to write a ‘dirty’ letter to Adobe. After purchasing CS3 extended for such an amount I was truelly unhappy finding no way to import the GIFs as layers into Photoshop.

    This helped. Can’t believe they would have the function in the program and not a direct way of accessing it. Surely they could have added it into the ‘Open’ function.

  • Terry Upton

    Exellent!!! Exactly what I was looking for.

    Many Thanks Ian.

  • minty

    No wonder i can’t find imageready.

    Now i got the problem with sue. I see blank layers.

    Any idea how to solve it?

  • Akili

    THANKS!!!! I almost reinstalled CS and Imageready! I wish I had seen this about 3 hours ago! Take this hand shake,right shoulder bump combo..lol

  • Naper

    I discovered a good solution on Macs for Photoshop CS3.

    1 – Open the gif file on the Preview. This will open all the frames in diferent images.

    2 – Drag all images (tiffs usualy) into a folder.

    3 – Then open them in Photoshop.

    Of couse that this is for those who want to work with a small number of frames or just one frame of one specific gif animation.

    Good Work!

  • Vlad

    I read Naper comment and created video tutorial: open gif anim on Macs Photoshop CS3. Here is full article

  • Naper

    ahaha! I didn’t even remember this! February 2009!

    But i’m glad to help you!


  • Ian Hoar

    It’s just too bad that Adobe never fixed it.

  • sanoob


    pls help me
    i am create a two slide giff animation in photoshopcs3. but after saved this animation not working.. after the giff file preview still diplay the first slide not got second slide
    can u help meeeeeeeeeeee