I’ve finally decided to make one because I was getting so many questions on HOW to animate. To be blunt, I only know how to animate one way (timeline animation) in one program (photoshop (cs5)) so if you want an in-depth explanation then you’d be better doing a simple google search. Nevertheless, here’s my basic tutorial.
The first step is to open up Photoshop and go to “File" > "New" to make a new document.
Choose your width and height and leave all the other options alone.
Go to “Window" > "Animation" to reveal the animation panel. You should also click on "Layers" if it’s not already up.
You’ll get something that looks like this. And in the animation panel it will either specify (timeline) or (frames)
On the top-right of the animation panel, there’s the setting controls.
If you’re already on Frame Animation, the setting will read “Convert to Timeline Animation" and vice versa. Then you’ll want to change the document settings to your liking. By default mine is always set to 10 seconds at 30 fps (frames-per-second) so I change it to 1 second at 24fps.
Make a new layer. All new layers will show up in the timeline, and whichever layer you are set to work on will be highlighted. The green bar shows how long that layer is on/showing. Above that is the frame count.
Making sure you’re on “Layer 1”, draw something fabulous.
In the animation panel, grab the right side of Layer 1’s green bar and shrink it down to last 2 frames. When people say it’s animated on 2’s, they mean that every drawing is held for 2 frames. You can make it last however long you like, but keep it an even number of frames for REASONS.
For this particular tutorial, I won’t be animating much so just make a duplicate of Layer 1 and move the “Layer 1 copy" in the animation panel so it will appear after "Layer 1" like so
On “Layer 1 copy" I adjust the drawing as I need to. In this case, I’ll be making the person blink so I lower the eyelids a bit.
I repeat the process, making the character close their eyes on the next layer.
Then I make a copy of “Layer 1 copy" (eyes half open) and move that to the end, and finally make a copy of "Layer 1" so that she will have her eyes fully open and the image will loop seamlessly. The final layer I stretch to last the rest of the duration of the animation.
And the animation is done. All that’s left to do is export it which can be done one of two ways depending on what you need it for. For a gif, go to “File" > "Save for Web & Devices…" and it will give you the option to choose how it renders, what colours it uses, and if you want it to loop forever. To export it as a movie file (.avi .mov .mp4 etc), go to "File" > "Export" > "Render Video”
That’s it. The final product of this tutorial looks like this.
Happy Animating! Maybe one day I will go over the onion skin haha
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