Animation Using Photoshop

As this year hasn’t been the best for playing with paper, so I’m exploring simple animation using Photoshop. My idea is that I can send animated greetings for birthdays and Christmas, which is fast approaching.

2020 is already a very different year. So why not take that a little further, and share my love of digital art with everyone? It’s easier for me than working with paper. And, as I’ve not been full of energy lately, animation using Photoshop or Premiere Pro (and next year, After Effects!) looks very exciting.

Why I started learning animation using Photoshop

Photoshop is the program I have used for the longest time. You may remember that I used PaintShop Pro before that, and both programs behave in a similar way. Learning a new technique in a program that feels familiar reduces the obstacles. Hopefully, it means I’ll have a measure of success!

I have dabbled with animation before. But I haven’t really made anything to share publicly. Watching a class taught by Kladi Vergine from PrintmySoul hooked me on animation again.

a cute black cat with big eyes and the text fur baby, with a soft peach background | Animate A Logo - Kladi Vergine of PrintMySoul

Visit Kladi’s Resources page, scroll down for Animating a Logo and you can find the link to watch the class and download the starter files.

Making your art move

In the class above Kladi uses vectors from Illustrator, but you can use raster images too. I chose to animate a birthday card I made two years ago before I knew how to use Illustrator.

Step 1

Design the project you want to animate. This is easy for me, I know what design elements I am using and their general positions. All I need to do is alter the placement to fit the new size, which is square rather than rectangular.

altering my birthday card design from rectangular to square for animation in photoshop
a comparison of my original card (left) and the new animation

You can see a few changes here. The word hooti-ful has colour and there are no shadows, except for behind the owl’s legs.

Now I have my final design, which becomes my starting point for animation. These are the positions the elements should be in when the animation is complete.

Step 2

This screenshot is very large, sorry! This is how I set up my workspace using animation in Photoshop:

  • the animation Timeline is on the left;
  • my card design fits in the design window;
  • and my Layers panel is on the right.
this screenshot shows the workspace set up using animation in Photoshop
my Photoshop workspace for animation

The yellow arrow is to highlight the importance of naming the layers.

Obviously, moving elements around, and making transformations such as rotate, means more layers. This animation is quite simple and I only needed one owl copy. But it is easy to see that the layers quickly build up and getting muddled up is easy.

The Timeline uses the Layer names, so having good organisation saves time later.

Step 3

At this stage, there is lots of face-pulling, chewing of lips and taking of tea-breaks! Trial and error is how I worked out how the elements interact with each other:

  • I move an element;
  • Then run the animation to test;
  • And repeat until happy with the result.

Have a Hooti-ful Day!

Finally, my finished animation using Photoshop is very simple and I didn’t add any music. Overall, it lasts for around 10 seconds and doesn’t loop around to start again.

Well, I have to leave something to add for next time!

[videopress leUQpGaQ]

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