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How can I create animated GIF images in MATLAB ?

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I would like to know if there is MATLAB functionality to create an animated GIF in MATLAB.

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 12 Jun 2017
Use the 'imwrite' function to create an animated GIF. An animated GIF contains a series of images all combined into one file. For this example,
1. Draw a series of plots for the function y = x^n for different values of n
2. Capture them as images
3. Write them into a GIF file
h = figure;
axis tight manual % this ensures that getframe() returns a consistent size
filename = 'testAnimated.gif';
for n = 1:0.5:5
% Draw plot for y = x.^n
x = 0:0.01:1;
y = x.^n;
plot(x,y)
drawnow
% Capture the plot as an image
frame = getframe(h);
im = frame2im(frame);
[imind,cm] = rgb2ind(im,256);
% Write to the GIF File
if n == 1
imwrite(imind,cm,filename,'gif', 'Loopcount',inf);
else
imwrite(imind,cm,filename,'gif','WriteMode','append');
end
end
For a more detailed description on creating an animated GIF File, see the example “Write Animated GIF” on the 'imwrite' function reference page:

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Peter Beringer
Peter Beringer on 12 Oct 2020
I'm trying to make this work with a surface plot and not getting very far. Is someone please available to give me some proper help rather than lazily posting a link to another very vaguely related thread?
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 13 Oct 2020
@Peter Beringer, "Can the GIF then be converted into a *.AVI or *.MOV file within MATLAB?"
You can use gif2avi() from the file exchange to convert from GIF to AVI or MP4 format.
Steven Lord
Steven Lord on 13 Oct 2020
Why does it return a picture of a kid when evaluated on its own?
What did you pass into rgb2ind when you called it? Did you call image with no inputs, capture the result using getframe and frame2im, and then call rgb2ind on the result? If so the picture of a kid is not coming from rgb2ind but from image. Steve Eddins explains what's going on in this post on his blog.
As for what the rgb2ind line is doing: getframe returns a struct array. imwrite doesn't know how to accept that struct array as its first (or first two) inputs. frame2im turns that struct array into an image that imwrite could accept, but the image may have more colors in it than the image file format supports so rgb2ind modifies the image to use a colormap with at most 256 colors. It is that image and colormap pair that imwrite writes to the file.
If the bounding box for your surface plot was the same each time you plotted, I would expect this to work. But if the surface plot was rotated or enlarged (so that the area on the screen taken up by each frame would be different) that would be a problem. It would be like printing a report where the first page was on a sheet of letter paper, the second was a 3x5 index card, and the third was a sheet of legal sized paper. That wouldn't make for a very stable stack of reports.

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More Answers (3)

Chad Greene
Chad Greene on 4 Jun 2017
Or, for a much simpler option, use the gif function on File Exchange.

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Alec
Alec on 19 Dec 2013
So it appears that `imwrite` now supports writing animated grayscale GIFs "When writing multiframe GIF images, X should be an 4-dimensional M-by-N-by-1-by-P array, where P is the number of frames to write."
But if I try to pass it an M-by-N-by-3-by-P it seems to treat each RGB color channel as a separate grayscale frame. Is there now way to write an animated color GIF without a for loop over the frames?

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Shashank Rai
Shashank Rai on 1 May 2017
Edited: Chad Greene on 17 Oct 2018
x = 0:0.01:1;
figure(1)
filename = 'testnew51.gif';
for n = 1:0.5:5
y = x.^n;
plot(x,y)
drawnow
frame = getframe(1);
im = frame2im(frame);
[imind,cm] = rgb2ind(im,256);
if n == 1;
imwrite(imind,cm,filename,'gif', 'Loopcount',inf);
else
imwrite(imind,cm,filename,'gif','WriteMode','append');
end
end

  1 Comment

Coleman Barrie
Coleman Barrie on 15 Jun 2019
Thank you for writing this very helpful as a framework to modify

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