Animating Photographs In Adobe Photoshop | David Miller | Skillshare
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9 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Setting Up The Image

    • 3. The Animation Timeline

    • 4. Adding Effects

    • 5. Rendering Video

    • 6. Puppet Warp

    • 7. Background Gradient Loop

    • 8. Eyeball Blink

    • 9. Animating Photographs Wrap Up

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About This Class

There are many ways to add motion and life to our still photographs and in this class I’ll teach you a few of my favorite approaches in Adobe Photoshop!  This class is equally for an animator looking to work with photographs, a photographer looking to revitalize old work in exciting ways or anyone looking into cool new things to do with Photoshop!

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro: hello out there. I'm David Miller, Phoenix, Arizona multimedia artist, photographer, animator, videographer. A lot of my animations come from my very own photographs and the reason why I use photographs of my animation number one. Because I'm a photographer and I have a lot of material to work with. Number two. I'm highly influenced by some people who animated with photographs in the past, particularly Terry Gilliam, most well known for his movies but also the animations he did on Monty Python some 40 years ago. And number three. I think it's a distinctive thing we could do with photographs today that really makes our work stand out and not just be, you know, simple still images of a person, place or thing. And it's important that our work stands out in a very crowded idea space. That's why I put this class together because I want to see more people animate their photographs. There's many, many cool ways doing it. One is kind of that traditional Terry Gilliam collage esthetic One is with motion capture software. People do cinema graphs where it's actually a video, but a particular still is pulled, and only a chunk of that in missing, and then the rest of the video proceeds on a regular loop while everything else stay static many ways to animator photographs. Today we'll be covering how to animator photographs in Adobe Photo Shop, and this involves utilising the animation time. One. This is a function in Photoshop. A lot of people who are just into photography don't make use of, but essentially, it's very similar to frame by frame animation. How most animation was done in the 20th century, and it's a lot of fun. I'm going to start with some pictures. I have taken a people because I find working with Portrait's People lends itself Teoh animation that people can connect with very quickly. If you don't think you have any photographs that make for good animation, go ahead and watch this class. See the photos that I choose to use and then go out and take something similar or if you have a great idea. I would love to see at the end of the course work that you came up with that's very dissimilar from what I'm presenting here. In the meantime, I'm gonna find pictures and people are gonna animating a photo shop. We're gonna have a lot of fun. Let's go 2. Setting Up The Image: So we're going to do a little animation here. It's gonna be a fashion animation. I usually shoot portrait's of people and usually shoot them under kind of fashion model circumstances, art model circumstances. But in this case, we're dealing with an image that has kind of a nineties aesthetic to it. And my plan for this animation is toe have just a little bit of motion to the girl and then have sort of pop are explosions behind her that reflect the color of her jacket. I've seen this in other kinds of animation involving photographs, and I really liked it. So Step One is to trim her away from this background so I can put things behind her. And the background is a very similar color tone, as her. If it was totally different from her or her clothes would be really easy to use. One of the color Marquis samplers, the quick selection tool, something to get all this stuff away from her. But because everything kind of blends together and it was shot on film so you can see this grain blends everything together. I'm gonna go ahead and use the political lasso tool that is a tool that allows you to draw straight lines. Once I get that outline around the model, I'll go ahead and de select it. Once I have my selections all the way around her, I'm going to go ahead and use some smoothing tools in selections, and I'm going to give a little bit of a feather that just helps make your cut out look a little more natural and not so much like it was done with scissors or straight edge lines. And then I'm going to use an eraser tool to trim the edges. Make sure there's no leftover pixels around her, because when I animate something here, I really just wanted to be my central figure. Now that I have are cut out, I'm going to create a new layer underneath her a new blank layer. And because I want this explosion effect to be a little wider than the original photograph was, I'm gonna go ahead and resize the canvas so it's a square. This means my animation might be good for Instagram, if that's the final purpose of it. If you know your purpose is for, say, a full HD video, something that's 1928 by 10 80 pixels wide. By all means, go ahead and make your campus into that. I'm just gonna make this two square. And then once again, I'm gonna use the political lasso and draw my explosion shape behind the model. Now to fill this space, I think it would be fun to have it reflect the colors in her jacket. And because they're such disparate colors, you got that hot pink and you've got that sort of neon aqua. I'm gonna go ahead and make this a Grady int. I really want this to feel kind of Ray V. Something from the early nineties, like 1992 which is the area that I was a teenager and I was really excited about. 3. The Animation Timeline: now my goal is now this explosion change in the animation. So I'm going to do another new layer, another explosion, another Grady int and lets you see what it looks like when you flip that on and off, on and off. All right, so this is the first step in my animation. I will create the timeline down below. If you don't see the animation timeline in photo shop, go ahead to window, scroll down to timeline, make sure that box is checked, and now you should see the timeline in photo shop on your computer. We're doing it frame by frame sequence. So if you see a video timeline instead of frame by frame, go ahead and check. Those three little boxes there convert to frame animation, and now you are able to create new frames with that new turning page. It's very similar to creating a new layer on the layers palette. When you have a new frame, you can set the duration of it by default. It's at 0.0 seconds, so there's no time in between each frame. But within that drop down menu, you'll see 0.1 seconds 0.2 and so on and so forth. Generally, I work in point water point to and find they look really good for creating gifts or animations that get used in videos. Gonna keep creating explosions because I think this looks better with a wider variety of explosions. I'm also gonna transform some of my existing explosions because creating new ones is kind of hard work. Sometimes when you could just reposition things, you couldn't stretch them out using transformations, transformations, air in the edit menu, you'll see free transform and you'll see warp and skew and a few other things underneath the actual transform menu. I also want tohave the model change position. So what I'm gonna do is duplicate her. And what an important thing to know when you're animating a photograph is if you want the photo to even change position change scale in photo shop, you actually need to have a layer for each one of those different positions, each one of those different scales. It's different when you work. In another program called After Effects. You can simply scale the same photograph so it grows larger or smaller. You can have it changed position, but in photo shop with this frame by frame stuff. If you have a version of her, that's to the left and you want a version of her. That's to the right. You actually need to create the layers that will have Version A and Version B and then within your frame timeline switch between the two. Go ahead and watch it and she shifts side to side and we got a little explosion and that's cool. There's motion there. I think we can do a lot better. 4. Adding Effects: I think we're gonna have a lot more interesting things going on between these. For one thing, I would like to see aversion of this innovation, where there's actually a blur like a motion blur between Point A and point B for the model . I want to have her actually have some movement in between so you don't get just this static sense of her getting shoved one way or another and nothing in between. So we're going to look at Tweens and tweeting involves creating in between frames where there's the implied motion. Whatever supposed to happen between Frame A and Frame B is now going toe have that shift. It's an illusion in Photoshopped. It's an illusion because it doesn't actually shift the photo. It just makes it fade from what happens in frame one to frame to. You can choose the number of Tweens you want, but it's going to give you this kind of ghostly opacity effect so really quickly. I'm gonna go through my Tween layers and I'm going to shift the opacity around until I get something a little happier with. This is solely subjective. Teoh your goals, but now you can see instead of being very transparent on my Tween frames. It's, ah, little more solid looking on the layers that are really ghostly of her. I am actually going to create motion blur effects. And for this to work, I can't just apply the motion blur to layer zero because that's going to ruin every frame. Every instance that layer zero shows up in sad but true. I need to create those layers for the Tweens that have the motion blurs themselves. The next step is to duplicate layer zero. I'm gonna actually name this something that I'll recognize and their call it motion Blur. Go ahead and apply that I'm going to copy layer zero copy, too. Gonna make that emotion blur version. And now, as I go through my Tween layers, gonna make sure everything's set correctly. Whenever you add a new layer, it's gonna populate all your existing timeline layers something I don't like in photo shop . But that's the way it works. So if you add a new layer, make sure you go through each frame and that the right things were turned on and the right things were turned off. I have altered the A pass. It ease on all these layers. So it's a little more consistent with something that's moving fast and then slowing down. Go ahead and play through where we go. It's a cool loop. Um, one thing that's missing is that she never resets, like if she is starting on the left of the frame and going to the right and we see that motion blurring between, I should see segments where she shifts back to the left and has motion blur going that way . So once I fix all these explosions like that little bit better, but I need to duplicate those motion blur frame's gonna highlight all three of them by holding down shift and clicking on the end of one dragged them. I'm going to drag them over to duplicate those layers, and then I'm just gonna reposition them. So it's kind of a boomerang effect, like she goes to the right and she goes to the left and she goes to the right when she goes to the left. One of the things about the Tweens that I didn't like was that they were going so fast. I wanted them to have the same amount of time as the other layers. So the explosions were kind of consistent. I changed everything. 2.1 seconds. And as I was scrub it through here, I think it looks a lot better. At least a faras the movement of the model. I'm noticing that now my explosions look like sort of Canadian maple leaf look, And that wasn't intentional. I didn't wanna have explosion parts behind her head, but now that she's shifting side to side, I feel like there should be at least some kind of pop explosion behind her. So I'm gonna draw one more as a new layer and this one I'm gonna make sure that it radiates out. Instead of being ingredient from side to side. I want it to have, like, a color burst from the center and have it change color the edge of the explosion that just seems more consistent with what an actual explosion would do. Once again, I need to go through all my layers, turn off where I don't want it to be. We'll go ahead and look at the final version of this 5. Rendering Video: and I think that I am ready to render out of video. So to get to the rendering video, we go file export Render video. And here we have several options on how to do this, the one I would use if you were really done with this video, and you just wanted to spit out a version that looks exactly what you have. That version is under format H 264 That's a particular Kodak that will create a MP four file, and that will be something you can transfer onto your phone. Put on Instagram. It's a done video, and the blank area that's around her in that particular video will simply render as white. The other option we have is quick time and quick Time is the highest quality that you can get out of this when you look in the bottom right corner, it says. Render options. Alfa Channel. That Alfa Channel refers to the blank area around your figure and around the explosion. So if I planned on mixing this with another video and something like Adobe Premiere or adobe after effects and I wanted it to be blank in the background because I planned on putting other elements other layers in the video. I would select straight, UNM added, And that will give you a video that has that blank area behind it, and you concert whatever you want. You can even use three dimensional lights and shading in after effects. That's if you want solely the graphics that air in your video, and you want that little checkerboard pattern to be totally empty in the background. 6. Puppet Warp: At this point, I want to show you how I'm going to do a warping animation. And I'm gonna use this photograph I took with model glass Olive way back in 2011. And the first step I'm going to do is figure out what I'm gonna warp. Warping is where you basically have parts of the photograph move over a particular time period. I would like her tongue toe waggle, and I'd like the keys to dangle in this photograph. So I'm going to select her and I'm going to remove her from the background. The selection tools I'm going to use are the magic wand, and I'm going to use this freehand lasso tool to gather all the areas that the magic wand selected that are the same as the background because there's a lot of black in this photograph. I'm gonna use political lasso where I have some straight lines or I have lines in the case of these keys where the black is kind of a shade on the keys and I want to get it all together. I'm gonna political lasso around that, So I have nice straight lines. Once I have this selection complete. I'm going to copy her onto a new layer, and then I'm going to paint the background layer black. The important thing in all of these animations is toe. Have the elements that you want to have, move or whittle around in your photograph. Be separate from the background, and if that means you shot it green screen style. You shot it against white and found it easy to pull apart. Or in the case where you might have arms. If you have the ability to duplicate arms, whatever it is, you need to get that subject off of the background so you can apply your transformations. That figure needs to be on their own layer, and the background needs to be on its own layer, and it also needs to be a complete background. It can't have a hole where the figure used to be. Otherwise, when you animate the figure, you'll see the whole when, say, the tongue moves away from its natural position. Now that I have her face on her own layer, I'm going to activate puppet war and puppet warp is a function where you place pins down on areas you don't want to move or areas you want to manipulate. So I'm placing pins on her jaw on her forehead, on the side of her face. That's next to the edge. And when I mouse over those pins, if I click on one and move it around, that pin will move in relation to everything else that is in a particular place. So because I have her job, Hinde and her upper lip pinned those areas won't move. When we do another copy of this and move it around, you'll see that I'll move the jaw up and down. But for this particular one, I'm just gonna have it moves slightly. Then I'll duplicate that layer by dragging it to that duplicate layer new layer turning page icon once again, do puppet warp gonna pin down areas. I don't want to have move or do want to move, like to make sure I pin the back of our head because I definitely don't want that to move off the side of the frame, shove the pin on her tongue down Emina, lower her jaw a little bit because I want the key to dangle and have some gravity. I'm gonna put a pin on that kind of shove it in the other direction as if it's swinging. And now you see I have three versions ever. I'll go ahead and create my animation timeline, gonna put it at 0.1 seconds for duration. And I'm going to see what these three frames look like in sequence and have a doodle forward and backward motion. So you'll see four frames. The second and the fourth frame are the same. It's just where the key kind of bounces back. That's okay. I know we can do a lot better. For one thing, I would like to see the key swing a lot more than it ISS, So I'm going to once again duplicate that layer once again puppet, warp it to a new position. Once I have a number of key swings, I think I'm going to make her blink. When I look at an animation like this, I feel like two things need to be happening. If you have a constant loop of one thing, it's a gimmick. If you have alternating loops where there's a constant loop going and then some little change part way through that constant loop, I feel like that's a little more engaging. It gives the viewer a little more of a cycle. So let's have a more extreme king swing in the other direction. Have her tongue higher mover, jaw up, that bottom part of our jaw, the part that leads into the neck. I wanted to push it in because it looks kind of weird. Do you not have other things shift on her face? We'll set up our loop one more time. Now that we have four frames, let's go ahead and see what it looks like. Like to see this without the background. 7. Background Gradient Loop: having a black background all the time feels a little boring to me. I'm curious what it would look like to animate different shades in the background. If I had it flip between black and white, for example, or between gray and black. Well, I think that might cause a seizure. And some people, it's very much a strobe light effect. Also, when it goes to the lighter background, it's very hard to see the key. I think it just flashes too bright four people to register that key. So I'm going to try tweeting just those layers. I'm going to see if I can get more of a Grady, in effect going on. And by grading effect, I mean, I want to see black transition to it dark gray to a lighter grey to a lighter grey and then go back to black. Now that I see my Tween, this is gonna take some finessing. I definitely need to turn some of these faces back on and off because when I Tween Onley those two layers, it left out. All of the models face. I'm getting a little closer to what I want. I definitely think the bright white is not working for the key, so I'll probably switch that to something that's a little bit darker, little more of a grey than a white. I also think I want the transition between these greys to be more subtle, like I don't want it to go so rapidly from one shade of gray to another. I want thes graze to be closer in tonalities. So that's just a matter of adjusting Theo Opacity of the black layer. Some of this fine tuning may feel like a lot of extra work to you, but believe me when I say I think it's worth it because we're trying to make animations that people would actually watch. And if you notice the flaw in something, other people are going to notice a flaw in something. And if you just leave that flaw, um, then you're really handicapping your own work. There's a little better transition. I am noticing a flaw in the upper right corner. You'll notice that part of her hair is actually cut out, and that happened when I did my selection. Early on, I didn't notice that there were a few pixels in the upper right corner that were part of her hair that were taken. So I'm going to have to go back in and paint black pixels, and I'll do that as soon as I get these light layers corrected. When I was only working in black, I didn't notice it. But now I definitely can see that missing pixel in the upper right corner on a few of these faces. 8. Eyeball Blink: one thing I think would be really cool is to see the models eye blink in the shot. So what I'm gonna do is duplicate one of her face is I'm going to erase out everything but the I. And then I'm going to duplicate that I section you selections and warp to kind of closed the I. And when I get to the stage where the eyes as close as it can be while still having an eyeball, I'm going to use the healing and stamp tools to basically create a blink. So this first step is to create a more closed eyeball with the warp tool, just putting pins on the top of her island and the bottom of her eyelid and shoving it together while keeping the rest of her face locked in place. Go ahead and duplicate that because this one's a little more complicated. I'm making sure I'm naming everything as I go along. Now I'm gonna use the lasso tool. Just select the upper eyelid. I'm going to use transform to close it. I need to use a racer tool to kind of feather off these extra pixels if you have them in there It's gonna be a really obvious blink. And I want my animation to be a smooth as possible so you can see that eyelid is basically a blink. I need to select the bottom eyelid, do the same thing on its own layer. When I am doing my transformation, I take that center anchor point and I move it to where I want something to hinge that makes it easy to rotate the way that a normal eyelid would rotate, which is around the edge getting close there used my eraser tool and since the middle of the I should be black when it blinks. I'm gonna go ahead and paint black in. If you have a photograph that you're working with, that isn't is high contrast erred. Graphic designing is this particular one is you have to do a little more work than just painting it black. Thankfully, this is a very high contrast Black and white photo indeed. So painting it black solves the problem. Now that I have my blink constructed, I need to rebuild the skin around her eyelids. Otherwise, you're going to see the previous islands as I looped these in the animation timeline. So I'm using the stamp tool. There is a healing brush tool. It looks like a Band Aid that might work better in your own personal animations. For me, I'm using a very soft stamp cloning tool. I generally leave my hardness around zero when I do this kind of work. That way, I have a nice feathered edge because I'm dealing with human skin. If you're trying to clone out something like a car or a tree in the background, it's likely you'll have your hardness up a lot higher than what I have my heart to set. Now, as I wrap up this blink section, I'm gonna move these layers in their own folder just for the sake of keeping my layer set A lot cleaner looking. And I do that by highlighting these three layers, dragging them down to a folder. All right, I have three sets of animations going on here. I have the tongue waggling. I have the background changing color and I have my eye blink. And I think the way I'm gonna set this up is a constant loop of the background color, changing a constant loop of the tongue waggling. And then, as a secondary loop. I'm gonna have the eye blink so you'll get a full tongue waggle with the eye open. Then you'll get a tongue waggle with the eye blinking. I think having all three things going on at once is kind of distracting. And also, if I can make my animation longer by having a secondary animation in the second loop, but not in the first loop, I think that just feels more interesting. And there you haven't glass, Olive and Key with the animation loop I did. I am taking that extra step to color in the pixels that were missing in the upper right corner. Other than that, I think the work is complete. 9. Animating Photographs Wrap Up: Hey, guys, want to thank you for sticking it through the course? It was a lot of work. If you have made anything using the techniques outlined in this class, I would love to see what you made. You can drop me an email at info at primordial creative dot com, or you can post it Teoh a project page with a private link up there from video or YouTube. I would love to see what you made with it. There's a lot of techniques here, and there's a lot of things that I didn't cover. But I'm going to give you a very brief list of people out there. I've seen doing photo animations and invite you to check out their work for further inspiration. Once again, thanks for watching. Check out the rest of my tutorials on photography, animation, video making, audio editing, multimedia. I know there's a lot of things that might be of value to you.