With a little practice and patience, you can learn how to animate in Photoshop and turn your work into GIFs to share online. Photoshop’s animation tools are often unknown, but worth learning. We’ll walk you through every step it takes to learn how to animate in Photoshop.
As with most animation tools, you will need to create each frame as separate images, so you will need to set aside time to manually create each frame, especially if you plan on doing complex animation.
Start creating animation frames in Photoshop
First, you need to save a separate image for each frame that you plan to use. It’s up to you how complex you want to make your animation, but for this test we’ll create a simple animated logo.
The trick for learning animation in Photoshop is to make small movements and save a new photo every time you make a movement. Each movement must have the same weight. For example, if you want a line of text to slide across the screen, each frame must move the text the same number of pixels for the animation to look fluid.
If you don’t know how to go from point A to point B in an animation, start at the end frame first and then create the first frame. Finally, fill in the boxes in between.
When saving each image, name it numerically so you don’t get confused with its position.
How to animate a sequence of images in Photoshop
Once you have your stop-motion images, it’s time to turn them into animation. Be sure to follow the instructions below carefully.
- Click File, Scripts, then click Load Files onto Stack.
- Click Browse and select all frames to animate.
- Click OK and wait for the images to load into separate layers.
- Click Window and then Timeline to open the animation window.
- Click the drop-down arrow in the timeline bar and select Create Frame Animation.
- Click Create Frame Animation.
You will now have a layer in the timeline. The next step is to turn each of your layers into a new frame. Follow these steps.
- Click Select at the top and then click All Layers.
- Click the three-stack menu icon on the left side of the timeline panel.
- In the menu that appears, click Create New Layer For Each New Frame.
- Click the 3-stack menu icon and choose Create Frames From Layers.
All of your images will now be loaded in separate frames. The next task is to choose the time during which each frame will be played. It may take some testing to get the correct speed, but you can choose the frame time for each individual frame by clicking the arrow below each frame next to the 0 seconds text.
You can experiment with different times, but it’s better to start by choosing the same time for each frame. If the animation contains different scenes or animation phases, you can adjust the timing for each of these phases / scenes separately.
At any time, you can click the play button to view the animation. The timeline window also has a number of other controls, which we explained from left to right below.
Switch the timeline between timeline and traditional movie timeline.
Number of plays
Change whether the animation will play forever or a certain number of cycles before stopping. This will affect the final result after saving it as GIF You can change this setting again before exporting the animation later.
The dropdown arrow you see on the timeline controls is another way to access the play count.
Play, pause, stop, and jump to the end or beginning of the animation using the four available playback controls.
Use the Tween function to create “intermediate” frames to make your animation look smoother. The tween function will be explained in more detail below.
This button duplicates any currently selected frame and places it in the timeline after the original.
This option will remove any selected frame.
How to export animation in Photoshop
Once you’re happy with your Photoshop animation, you can export it by following these steps.
- Click Create.
- Click Export, and then click Save For Web (Legacy). )…
- If you have an animation with detailed colors, select GIF 128 Dithered from the drop-down list of settings.
- If you have animation with simple block colors, choose GIF 128 No Dither.
- Make sure you have your preferred option set in the loop options at the bottom.
- Finally, click “Save ” and choose a location to save your GIF on your PC.
How to Smooth Animation in Photoshop
If you are new to creating stop motion animation, the end result may seem a little shaky. Luckily, you can use the Tween function to automatically fill in the gaps in your animation to make things look smoother.
To do this, hold down the Shift key, click two separate frames in the timeline window, and click the Tween icon. Then click to choose whether the Tween setting uses position, opacity, or effects. For most motion based animations, you need to use position.
Make sure all layers are selected and click OK. Repeat this process for each paired frame. For example, frames 1 and 2, then frames 3 and 4, and so on.
We hope our Photoshop animation tutorial helped. If you need more help, feel free to leave comments below.