Adding An Animated Character To A Photo | Linda Vuorenvirta | Skillshare

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Adding An Animated Character To A Photo

teacher avatar Linda Vuorenvirta, Illustrator, Animator, Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Inspiration

    • 3. Find Images

    • 4. Draw Frames

    • 5. Compile Frames

    • 6. Export Frames

    • 7. Conclusion

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About This Class

Have you noticed the trend of adding hand drawn elements to photos? Several artists have gone viral with their drawn characters interacting with city streets and landscapes. Sure, you can add clip art to photos via apps on your phone, but why not take it to the next level? Hand drawn additions are one of a kind.

In this class, I'll show you how to add not only a still character but an animated one! I will discuss finding free-to-use photos, ideas for characters to add, drawing the frames, compiling them, and exporting an animated gif.

The only software necessary for this class is Adobe Photoshop!

Meet Your Teacher

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Linda Vuorenvirta

Illustrator, Animator, Designer


I'm a creative type from the Helsinki area of Finland. I illustrate, design, animate, sew, craft, bake, cook, and just generally try to create something every day!

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Linda Warrenville. Tha I am an illustrator and animator from Helsinki, Finland, and I would like to teach you how to put a character into a photo and have the character be animated. This is a really fun kind of light entry into the world of animation, and it's really easy, even if you've never done animation before. And if you have familiarity with photo shop, that is all you need, because Photo Shop is the only software that I'm going to be using in this tutorial. There's no kind of special animation software for these purposes. Photo shop will do the job. So if you want to learn how to put a character into a photo, it's really fun to add something to your landscapes or cityscapes. And it just kind of is more personal, that personal and personalize and unique, then just putting thes stickers that you can get on naps on your phone and stuff. So if you want to learn how to do that, stick around and I will do my best to teach you how to do it. 2. Inspiration: Okay, so the first step, obviously, is finding the photo that you want, and you can go about this whole process two ways. You can either first think of a character in a specific position or a specific situation that you would like to draw, and then find a background image that matches that situation, that you want your character and or you can just go searching for background images and pick one that calls out to you and then think about what kind of characters you could put into that scene. So I've done a few examples here. I have gone with the second route here and just gone. To find some images online, I will give you a list of some recommended sites where you can go to find three usable images in a later video. Yeah, I have gone and gotten some really nice, high quality images and decided what kind of characters could go into these images. I have drawn up one example of a character in this picture that I found is it's off a alleyway in a city at night, so there's a lot of really fun like me on bright colored lights making a cool contrast with this dark, dark foreground. Um, and I quickly put in a character here. It's kind of small but is in proportion to the scene, and she is just standing there looking over her shoulder, maybe waiting for somebody. An interesting thing to do as animation in in this scene would be maybe have her turned her head, have a have her looking forward, like towards this car in in the on background first, and then have her turn her head. Or just maybe, since there's some really nice lighting that is falling onto her fatness coming from the street like the nice pink neon lighting that I was talking about that's falling on her so you could have the lighting like flicker and change as life goes on here, on here on the street, people walk by and cars go by and there's changes in the lighting that could be a really nice, subtle animation. And here's some other examples is ah, retro car. I obviously you could draw somebody here in the driver seat and or the passenger seat. I kind of feel like a maybe an old Hollywood starlet with, like the big sunglasses and, um, And if scar, like, really glam Ah, here he goes a, um ace A look sidewalk, Um, in Montmartre. Parents. I am so sorry for my pronunciation. I'm sure I did not pronounce that right. But in any case, a really nice, lovely street. I could see maybe somebody with their bicycle here where there is a bicycle, maybe somebody else half their bicycle. Or maybe they're coming to get this bicycle. But in any case, like maybe putting on a helmet or just whatever other little animation you can think of getting ready to ride their bike down this street, Here's another night scene. Ah, a little bit of, ah, meet Century American vibe here. You could maybe put in. I'm seeing, like maybe a a man in a leather jacket smoking a cigarette outside the plunge. And I have one more. This kind of idyllic both in a lake could could be a nice romantic scene. You could have the boat rock a little bit like back and forth, even though very still water. If there are people maybe sitting in the boat talking to each other, the boat can rock a little bit, so yeah, Those are some examples, and I hope maybe that helped you with inspiration. If you don't know what kind of seeing you wanna be going for in the following videos, I will go over places where you can find some really good free, usable images, and then we'll jump right into actually drawing in, compiling the frames of the animation. 3. Find Images: now to put a character into a photo, you off course, need a photo. So if you want to take an image yourself or you have an image that you have taken yourself that you want to use and by all means, use that because you have all of the rights to that and you don't have to worry about that . But if you can't or would rather not take your own photos than I can suggest several good websites where you can get photos that you are allowed to use either under a creative Commons license or just public domain, which is the most free license, you can do whatever you want with it. So, firstly, Google images can be used, one filtered to find images that are usable after you have done a Google search. You click on tools, which is under the search bar, and you get a um, you get an option usage rights right next to size color. You click usage rights and you can select labeled for reuse with modification. And then all of those images should de available for use. Although I do recommend checking each individual image just just to make sure And then you can also use flicker, even though Flicker has a lot of images that you can't use that the photographers have not given, given the rights rights to you to use, you can also find watts of usable images on flicker. You just have to similar to Google you. After you have done the search, you click the text any license which shows up towards the left side of the screen, and you can select a different license. And for this purpose, uh, modifications allowed should be good. Unless you do want to use this this picture that you're making commercially then, then the commercial use allowed and usually in flicker. The license is that you need to credit the credit. The photographer when you post your final peace wherever you post it to your blogger or or portfolio or whatever, and then some other websites with the media is a huge, huge collection of free images, and I'm pretty sure every image I have ever found on wicked media has been public domain, so they are almost certainly public domain. But once again, check then some other websites that I recommend or peck Fels dot com. They have super high quality images. Some of some of these other websites that I said before are a little bit hit and miss on quality. But pixels has really high quality images, and they're all free and similarly picks obey dot com and P X here dot com also have really high quality three images that you can use. So just search for your image that you want or pull your photo that you've taken off of your off of your camera and fire photo shop and then we can get started, adding your character. 4. Draw Frames: Okay, so adding an animated character into a photo. Here we go. All right, So this animation is very simple, kind of subtle movement. This woman is leaning against a horror with a guy inside at the driver seat. Her skirts is kind of fluttering a little bit in the breeze as well as her hair, and all I need for this is three frames and I just starting off with something. If you don't do a lot of animation, especially in photo shops, and see can get a little tricky with the interface sometimes. But I recommend starting with something that only has a few frames in it. So how you go about this, start drawing your first train, and if you're used to a certain process in photo shop for drawing, then go ahead and use your own process. Whatever feels most comfortable to you, my process in drawing for Photoshopped whenever I'm drawing on top of a photo, I always have this kind of layer here. It's just a color fill in white, and I said it to 50% opacity, and it it kind of dims the photo background so he can focus on the drawing more but still work in the background. And then, importantly, you do need to keep your Leinart separate from your colors. You just make everything a lot easier. What I've done is I have but my Leinart for both characters on one layer and then every color. Skin, hair, facial features are closing. Everything is on its own layer. It's not strictly necessary to keep everything every color on its own layer, for the purposes of creating an animation and Photoshopped. But this is just what I'm used to doing anyway, so it works perfectly fine. Just make sure that you do keep your colors separate from your lines. Once everything is drawn, you should make sure you select everything every part of off the illustration, every layer and just create a group out of all of them. So select everything in the layer panel here and then just click the group icon. Just a little folder down here, and it will create a group out of everything. It's just the the easiest way to keep everything organized, so rename that to frame one. Since this is the first frame of the animation, then you should just grab the folder or group make a copy of it by dragging the entire folder down to the new Layer icon and then renamed that into frame to. And this is where the limitations of Photoshopped as an animation program come in because it's not quite as intuitive at this point as something like Adobe Flash. Or, I think, that they have re titled Flash to Character, Animator or animator or something like that. But, yeah, it's Photoshopped is not Natively, an animation program so isn't quite as intuitive and clean Aven animation program. But it can be worked around and the way you would go about referencing the first frame while drawing the second or onion skinning, which is an animation term that just refers to referencing the first frame or whatever the previous frame as you're drawing the current train. So the way you would go about doing this and photo shop is just take the or select the entire group layer, put the A pass ity down. You really have it around 40 or so something like that, and then everything on frame to which, right after you have copied, made a copy off frame one. Everything in the frame two folder or group will be, of course, exactly the same as for him one. And then you go in and make little changes wherever you need them, so you can see I've done some changes in the hair and in the skirts. But as I'm working, I, of course, want to see everything. So I will turn off the color mayors for everything. If you just have one color layer to turn that off, I have everything separated, so I have to turn everything off. But it's still very easy, and then you just have the lines, so I would it it line work can see here there's little differences, and after I'm done with the line work, turn everything back on, making me make the corrections to the color. Since you've shifted the line work and then you're done with that frame. So go back to frame one the previous frame during the opacity back up, but then just turn it off completely during the visibility off and repeat the process. Copy copied French to drag the group down to the new layer icon and renamed that to frame three same deal change the opacity of frame to to about 40 and turn off everything but the line work in Frank three. So you can see now further changes. Get those done and turned the color layers back on. Adjust the color layers, then go back to frame to pass it back up. Turn the visibility off. So now, after you have everything drawn for every frame and organized into neat little folders, you can go into the timeline to compile the animation. 5. Compile Frames: in photo shop, you access timeline, which isn't visible by defaults. I'd I don't think it's ever visible body full, but you can easily access it. Go to window timeline. And here I'm gonna went open a new file just to show what timeline looks like when you have just just opened it for the first time. It will have this button right here saying, Create frame animation. And if you click the arrow to the rights, you can also change that to create video timeline and video timeline is very similar to the timeline in after effects. So if you're used to after effects, if you've worked in that, then you can certainly train to to video timeline and do it that way. But if you're not, if you haven't worked with after effects and if you're not used to doing animation, especially if it's something super simple, like this three frame animation, I think create for him and create frame animation is probably the better choice. Just it's it's a lot more who are a lot less complex like it might be a little bit easier to get the hang of the interface of frame animation versus video timeline. So just go ahead and click that create new frames according to have harmony you need by clicking the new ICOM there. And the way this works is whatever is visible in your photo shop layer. Pallets will be visible during this frame, so right now I've been messing around on right now, so either these are a little bit off. So let's fix this in frame one. I need it. The frame. One folder to be visible, not from three. So there we go. Frame one is turned on, and I need to turn this colorful helper layer off. And then second frame cream, too. I need frame to to be visible. Frame one turned off rain. Three. I need frame three to be visible. Others turned off. So now for him, one visible for him to visible. See it's moving a little frame, three visible and everything else I should mention. The other things you see in my layer pallet are like a fixes to the photo, editing out some people changing some other other aspects of the photo and the windshield is just a copy off the windshield from the original photo that is on top of everything on top of all of the drawings, just making it look like this guy is actually sitting inside the car behind the windshield . And it's just it sit at a 65% opacity normal blend mode. I found out that that look best to Teoh my opinion, in my opinion. And so there will always be on the windshield. The fix is the background. Of course, they'll always be on in every frame, but okay, so the next thing you need to pay attention to is the timing on the frames. And I think it just says 0.0. And when you first open it before you changed it. And of course, you do need each room shop for some amount of time. So if you click below gear, you can choose one of the pre satin times 0.10 going to so on or other and said that took that manually, I said, it is Europe on one on each of each of these frames and here this below the frames worth us forever is the looping option. And unless you specifically don't want it to loop forever, took forever. So now you can hit, play and see how it looks, then go back and make any changes if you need to. I am happy with this for now, so I am going to go ahead and export it. 6. Export Frames: Okay, so to export your animation out of Photoshopped Oven animated GIFs, this is what you dio now, even in these new versions of Photoshopped like this is the 2017 Creative Cloud release or Photoshopped they I still only have, or the only way that I have found to export animated GIFs is a legacy method called Safe for Web and depending on your version of Photoshopped that you're working with. It may or may not be marked as a legacy method, but with this version, it is I. I don't remember when it was deprecate ID, but it should still be called the same thing say, for Web. And this is the path to it on this version. It's file export, say, for Web legacy, and this brings up this window, and it's pretty straightforward. The only really important options are making sure this is a gift. You can choose the revival formats, but make sure it it's a gift. And when you can change different options like color and transparency, etcetera options, I might personally, speaking of color, go back in and possibly change very slightly. The color off this character's dress and maybe her hair because it just isn't rendering very well here with the 256 color limitation. But for this purpose right now, this will do. And the last thing that I need to make sure is that under this animation section here, the looping option is forever. Unless for some reason, you wanted to look a certain number of times. So if all that is good, just click save and give it a file name and a place to save, and that should do it. I will check on Finder, see if we've gotten a gift saved. Do a preview. And there you go. It is a photo with animated character. 7. Conclusion: So I hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and I will really love to see what you can come up with. Putting some animated characters into photos. There are so many little stories that you can Powell so many situations that you can put characters into wave. You could make them interact with realize spaces, and it's really interesting, refreshing way too bring a new element to photos. So if you want to do this project for this class, please do so and I will eagerly awake, seeing what you can come up with, have fun.