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How To Save a File as a Gif.

I'm working with 2.8. I just downloaded it today because I need to make a little sprite animation.
The animation works and looks great...in gimp (weird name, btw. gimp. Is it a gimp program because its really f***ing hard to save anything in it? Anyway....)

I'm a little frustrated with this entire thing. Ive read online that you have to first SAVE your project as a GIF file and then export it? But that's impossible because this version of gimp only saves as its native names xcf...etc. So....the export function is useless? Right now when I go to save as, it lets me save it as an xcf or whatever, then thats it. no png or jpeg or gif. Just the useless xcf.

So again my question is; How do you save an animation in gimp so I can put it on a forum or use it as an avatar or whatever?

I just need some pointing in the right direction. I'm not the only one with this problem, but the answer is nowhere to be found on the net.

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You can (should, really) save your animation as XCF. This will allow you to edit it later in GIMP without loss of your hard work.

Then you should export it to GIF (File - Export, type a file name that ends with ".gif"). The thing you should understand about GIF file format is that it is ancient (developed in the 80s), can hold only 256 colors and has a bunch of other weird limitations. That's why you can't really "save" to GIF (in any program, not just GIMP). It doesn't really "save" your image, just a low-quality copy of it.

Of course you don't have to save to XCF, you can just export it to GIF straight away, but then don't come back saying "I thought I saved my animation, why did it rename all my layers and why is it in Indexed Mode, now I can't edit it". Because you just exported it, and not really saved it. GIMP devs want people to be more conscious about this distinction, hence why they did the whole save/export separation thing in 2.8.

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