Photoshop is a complex and advanced editor, but it has several tools with which even a beginner can create effective work, for example, GIF animation, and for this you will not need any special skills.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to create an animation with the luminous eyes of a wolf. You will learn everything you need to know about creating GIF-animations in Photoshop.
1. Preparing an image for animation
GIF is not the most optimized image format, and simple animation can weigh quite a lot. For this we will cut off the excess from the picture, leaving only the eyes. Open the image, activate Crop Tool (C) (Crop) and select the part that will be animated. After that, press Enter.
We will only animate the eyes, so they need to be cut. There are many ways to do this, but I will show you one of the simplest.
Move on Select – Color Range (Highlight – Color range). Select the pipette plus icon and click on the yellow shades of the eye until it is filled with white in the dialog box. Color Range (Color range).
We have highlighted yellow shades, but yellow is also found on wolf hair. To exclude these sites, we will play with the setting Fuziness (Scatter) until the area around the eyes is filled with black. It is very important that everything except the eyes be filled with black!
After clicking OK, the selection we created appears. But, since the tool works in automatic mode, the selection turned out to be imperfect. Move on Select – Refine Edge (Selection – Refine Edge) and enter the settings as shown below to make the selection smoother. Activate Smart Radius (Smart radius) and adjust settings Smooth (Smooth) and Feather (Feathering) until we get the desired result. When finished, click OK.
Use the hot keys Ctrl + J to copy the selected area to a new layer.
One last thing: our image is too large for the GIF format (as a result, the file size will be very large). And to reduce it, go Image – Image Size (Image – Image size) and choose a more acceptable size.
2. How does frame-by-frame animation work in Photoshop
Now we are ready to create animation! Move on Window – Timeline (Window – Timeline) to open the editor. After that we press the button Create Frame Animation (Create a timeline for the video).
The time scale is quite a simple tool. Click on the arrow next to the inscription Once (Once) to open the repeat animation options. We can make the animation play only once, three times, endlessly, or set its number. Set the playback frequency to Forever (Constantly).
The next important parameter is the duration of the playback of a separate frame. The shorter the time, the faster the current frame will switch to the next one, while the movement of the animation objects will be smooth, but for this effect you need to create more frames.
We will make smooth transitions with you, so we will have a large number of frames. On the timeline under the frame, click on the button with the arrow and select Other (Other) to set your frame duration. Enter 0.06.
To add a new frame, click on the icon with a curved corner.
Each frame individually remembers the state of the layers. Therefore, if you hide the layer on one frame, then on others it will still be visible. Be careful with this, as Photoshop likes to throw up such surprises. Make sure you start work from the first frame of the animation.
Hide the layer on a single frame and test the animation by pressing the Space button. This is the main task of the time scale: at a certain point in time, hide and show layers in accordance with their state saved in the frame.
3. Create intermediate animation frames
But this is not the only function of the time scale! Each frame has a number of additional parameters for setting:
This means that you can adjust these layer parameters on a separate frame, while on others the same layer will remain intact (also, to avoid surprises, start from the first frame of the animation). Photoshop has an amazing function of filling in the intermediate state of a layer between these frames! Let me illustrate how it works on the example of layer styles.
Make all layers visible in both frames, then select the second frame and right-click on the layer with eyes. Choose Blending Options (Overlay settings) and in the appeared window we apply Color Overlay (Overlay color).
Click on the gray rectangle and choose any bright color.
Change the blending mode to Screen (Lightening) so that the red color blends with the color of the eyes, and not just overlaps it.
Activate Outer Glow (External glow) and apply the following parameters.
Choose the same red color.
To make the red color brighter and richer, adjust Spread (Swipe) and Size (The size).
As a result, we have a very simple animation, which we can test by pressing the Space key.
However, this is not the result that we need. The effect will look better if the eyes glow gently and slowly. Here we will see the real power of the time scale! Hold down the Ctrl key and click on both frames to select them. In the upper right corner of the timeline, click on the arrow icon and select Tween (Create intermediate frames).
The more frames we add, the softer and smoother the animation will be (the size of the GIF file will also increase). 10 frames will be enough for our animation.
Note that intermediate frames may include all parameters mentioned above (position, opacity, and effects).
We click OK to add 10 new ones between two frames. Click Space to see the finished animation. Now it looks much better, right?
However, at the end of the cycle, the eyes die out sharply. Let’s fix this with an additional transition. Select the first and last frames of the animation and apply Tween (Create intermediate frames) with the same number of frames.
The important point: we find the frame with the brightest eyes and change its duration by 0.5. So, the eyes will glow a little longer.
Now we can save the animation. Move on File – Save For Web (File – Save for web and devices) and in the list of formats choose GIF. The parameters below will allow us to optimize the animation and thereby reduce its size.
Bonus tip: in order to preserve the maximum quality of the animation, we save it in video using additional software, and then convert the video to GIF using the gfycat service.
Now you know how to create animated GIF in Photoshop! After completing the lesson, do not forget to share your result in the comments below.