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How to Make Animations on Photoshop

This How To will show you step by step on how to make an Animation on Photoshop. Animations are very easy if you get the basic concepts of it. There are literally only 2 steps to make animations. Create a series of Layers (these will become the frames of the animations) and then use the Animation palette to animate them (Photoshop CS2 and older will use the ImageReady animation feature). Sounds easy, right? However, they can be rather time consuming to make because of all those layers or frames in the animation. The actual animation itself can be as easy as clicking a button (depends on which version you have). When  you’re finished with the animation, it will be saved as a GIF (Graphic Interchange Format).

Step 1: The Layers

If you have used Photoshop before, then you know what layers are. Just in case you don’t know, layers are images or effects overlaid on top of one another. In an Animation, layers act like the actual frames of the Animation. Of course anything can be animated; from a bouncing ball to a stick figure cartwheeling off a cliff. But anyways, back to the animation.

  1. First off you would need to create a new Photoshop file (File>New>OK)
  2. After you have made what you want to animate, make several copies of that layer
  3. Turn off all the visibility eyes of the ones that you are not working with. I suggest naming all the layers to keep track of them. This is extremely helpful especially after about 15 layers (if you make that much). Make sure each layer is what you want the frame to look like (merge the ones that should be merged, etc.)

Step 2: The Animation

After you have created the layers, you need to create the frames. If you are using a really old version on Photoshop (like Photoshop Element 6), click on File>Save for Web, check the Animate button (right under Transparency), pick how long you want each frame to be by using the Frame Delay button (you can preview it where it has a little globe and says preview in) and then click on when you’re done. BUT, if you are using a newer version of Photoshop, then continue

  1. To create the frames, your Animation window should be open. If it’s not, select Windows>Animation from the main menu.
  2. In the Layers pallet, deselect all the eyes except for the first layer, which is going to become your first frame.
  3. Click on New Frame by clicking the small arrow on the top right of the Animation window. A new frame will be added to the window.
  4. Now, go back to the Layers palette and select the eye for the second layer while deselecting the eyes for the rest. The Animation frame should show the second layer now instead of the first.
  5. Repeat until you have all your layers and all frames you will need for the animation
  6. You’re almost there! Click the play button (the one that’s a triangle) to preview your animation. The animation will continue to loop. If you do not want this, then click the drop-down menu on the lower left and click once. This will make the animation play only once.
  7. Below each frame, you will see a delay time in seconds. Click each of these and click the desired delay time (how long you want the frame to be shown)
This video will teach you how to do a veery basic Animation on Photoshop CS5


They’re dancing! 😀

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One Response to “How to Make Animations on Photoshop”

  1. PsGirl14 December 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Awesome guide An! Thank you!

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