Animation in Adobe Photoshop: Make your Instagram Photos Come to Life | Johannes Fast | Skillshare

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Animation in Adobe Photoshop: Make your Instagram Photos Come to Life

teacher avatar Johannes Fast, 2D Animator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

8 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Things to Keep in Mind

    • 3. Before we Start

    • 4. Animating in Photoshop

    • 5. Animating Content

    • 6. Exporting in Photoshop

    • 7. Your Assignment!

    • 8. Conclusion

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About This Class

Have you ever seen those amazing photos on instagram with beautiful animation overlaid, and always wondered how to do it? Then this class is for you! Welcome to my class on how to bring your photos to life in Adobe Photoshop! 


In this short and easily digestible class, animator Johannes Fast will teach you how to bring your photos to life by using 2D animation as a tool to add a layer of magic to your content. This class will take you trough the basics steps of how to animate in photoshop, it will teach you a few of the most important principles needed for animation and it will quickly giving you the skills needed to create your own animated masterpieces ready to be shared online! 

In this class we will:

  • Learn the basic animation workflow in photoshop
  • Learn the most important principles of animation
  • Learn how to add animation to our photos 
  • Animate our own instagram content

Who is this class for?

This class is perfect for anyone who wants to level up their social media content or for anyone interested in learning how to animate in photoshop. The class aimed towards students with little or no prior experience in animation and It's great for aspiring animators, content creators or any creative who wants to add another tool to their tool belt.

By the end of this course, you'll have the skills needed to make your first animated content.


A digital animation program is required for the class, preferably Adobe Photoshop. You'll also need a form of digital drawing tablet. A mouse will work but it will make the process a lot harder. An iPad/tablet device with an animation app also works great. 


12 months of Skillshare premium contest

Do you want to win 12 months of Skillshare Premium? 

To enter in the competition the only thing you have to do is post your finished assignment in the student project folder within the first 30 days of this class going live (June 12th -July 12th).

Winner will be announced on Instagram and here on Skillshare. 

Instagram Feature:

Every two weeks a pick a few of my favourite student projects across my classes to be featured on my instagram. If you wan't a chance to get featured, post your work in the student community and tag your instagram. And if you share your work on instagram or twitter, tag @johanimation so I can see it! 


Want to learn even more?

Check out my other classes here:

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Meet Your Teacher

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Johannes Fast

2D Animator


Hi! My name is Johannes Fast, I'm a traditional animator & motion designer living and working in Vancouver, Canada. I was born and raised in Sweden, the country of meatballs and cheap furniture.

I started out my career in animation attending a motion graphics focus education at Hyper Island, during this time I took multiple online classes focused on traditional animation to hone in on my craft. After my time at Hyper Island, I went on to spend roughly 18 months at multiple internships around the world, and I've been lucky to spend time at places like BRIKK, NERDO and Giant Ant.

During my career I've been grateful to have had the opportunity to work for many amazing clients and on many incredible projects like Arcane, Studio Trig... See full profile

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1. Welcome!: Hi, my name is Johannes Fast and welcome to my class on how to bring your photos to life in Photoshop. In this class, we're going to learn how to animate in Photoshop and how to take our photos from this to this. Unlike mothered, more advanced classes, this class would be a crash course that will give you the basic tools needed to start animating in a record time.This class is like a great place to start if you've never animated before but want to try to bring your photos or your own designs to life. In this class, you've got an assignment to animate your very own Instagram video. Once you're done, please upload the video into the community so me and your fellow students can see it and give feedback on it. Every two weeks, I'll pick a handful of my favorite student project to be featured on my Instagram. If you want a chance to get featured, please tag your Instagram in your post. If you find this class helpful, please leave a review and follow me on Skillshare so you won't miss any of my upcoming classes. 2. Things to Keep in Mind: Before we start animating, I just want to cover two of the 12 basic principles of animation. The first thing I want to cover is arcs. Almost all actions follow arcs, with few exceptions. Arcs helps your animation look smooth and natural. So make sure that your animation has a clear arc if is moving around in the scene. The second and last thing I want to cover is easing. Easing is what conveys the acceleration of your objects. If you don't have any easing, your animations will look and feel very stiff. To convey acceleration, you need to space out your drawings. The spacing of the drawings will determine how fast or slow the acceleration is. When you space out your drawings evenly, you get this very stiff looking animation. But if you instead space out your frames differently and making tighter in the beginning and the end like this, your animation will look like it's speeding up and slowing in. Because the further apart you space your drawings, the faster it will move and the closer apart you space your drawings, the slower it will move. Now let's look at how to make it easier for us to animate in Photoshop. 3. Before we Start: Before we start animating in Photoshop, we need to install a plugin called AnimDessin. AnimDessin adds some features to Photoshop that Photoshop does not have natively. This will make it a lot easier for us to animate when we'll start Photoshop. To install AnimDessin, you can scroll down on the product page and go to projects and resources. In the Resource tab, you can find a program called ZXPInstaller and AnimDessin. Go ahead and download the AnimDessin file and the correct installer for your computer. Once you've downloaded the files, start out by installing ZXPInstaller. Once ZXPInstaller is installed, please open it. Now that that is open, you can go ahead and unzip the AnimDessin folder. Then go in here and grab this AnimDessin2 ZXP file, and drag that over and drop. Now AnimDessin2 is installed on your computer. You can now go ahead and start Photoshop. 4. Animating in Photoshop: Now I'll show you how to bend Photoshop to your will using AnimDessin. Here I have my empty project. We will start out by going up to Window and clicking the "Timeline". That will add the timeline down here. Then to open AnimDessin, we also go back to Window, down to Extension and open AnimDessin2. Here is your AnimDessin toolbar. To start animating now, we first click "Create Video Timeline". This will give you one empty white layer here that we can use as a background. By pulling the slider down here, we can zoom in the timeline. This will make it easier for us to see when we start adding frames. Now, before we start animating, we want to make sure that we're on the correct frame rate. Down here, we see the frame that we're on. Usually, we want to animate at 24 frames per seconds. To change that, we go to the drop-down menu here, and then we click "Set Timeline Frame Rate" and it will change this to 24, like that. Now we can go ahead and create our first empty frame. To do that, we click this button here. This adds an empty layer that is being held for two frames. This button here will add a frame that is held for one frame. But usually, we want our drawings to last for two frames. This will cut our work in half and animating on twos also gives our animation a really nice look and feel. Once you have your first frame, you can go ahead and do your first drawing. Then once you have your first drawing and you want to your next drawing, you can go ahead and click this button again. The second time you click this button, it will add the frame on top of this frame. What you need to do now is with your pointer tool, select this new frame and drag it and pull it down. Now, when you keep clicking this, the frames will be added on the same layer. Now when we're going to draw our second frame, it will be really helpful if we could see the frame before. Luckily, there's a function for that. By clicking this button here, we turn on something called onion skinning. Onion skinning let us see the frames before and after the frame we're on. We can now go ahead and draw our second frame. I will now click this again and add our third frame. Now, we can only see the frame before. If we want to see more frames, we can go ahead and click this button here. We can change this setting. That will make it so that we can see more frames. Now, I will draw my third frame, and I will add a new frame, and draw my fourth. Now that we have our first animation here, we of course, want to I look at it. To do that, we can scrub back and then, we can play our animation by clicking here. As you can see, we're still seeing onion skinning now that we're playing. We want to go and just click here and make sure that it's turned off. If we want our playback to loop, we can go ahead and grab the handle here and pull it back in. If your playback isn't looping, click this button here and make sure that loop playback is selected. If we want to make a copy of the drawing we're on, we can go ahead and click this button here, and that will give us a copy of the drawing. This button here lets you delete your drawings. You can also press Delete on your keyboard. These buttons here will make your frames longer or shorter. If you press this button here, you can switch places off your drawings, like this. Now, the last drawing has been switched with the second last. To switch it back, I just click this one. These buttons here lets you select your playback area. When you do your animation, you probably want to add a bunch of different things and to make it easier, you can split them up on different layers. To make a new layer for your next animation, make sure to click outside in the layers panel here, and click the Plus button. That will give you a new layer on a different video group. You can pull that back and make it two frames. Then you can repeat what we did before. Next I'll show you how to do this on top of a photo. 5. Animating Content: Let's apply these techniques to our own photos. Here I have a photo of my lovely partner, Megan. If you want to check out her other photos, you can find her here. This photo is already processed and in the correct format that I want for Instagram. In this case, it's a squared 1920 by 1920 pixels. I will drag this photo into Photoshop and now I'll go ahead and create my video timeline, and as you see now, the photo became the base layer. I'm going to go ahead and lock this. Then like before, I'm going to make my first frame, and then like before I'm going to make sure that my frame rate is 24. Looking down here is at 30, which is default for Photoshop. We always want to make sure to change this. I go in here, I change that to 24, and now I can go ahead and add my frame like this. Then I'll scroll back so I can see the frame I'm working on and up here I have my prepared colors. First, I'm thinking of making some little blobs flying around here. Going back to the principles of animation, I want to make these blobs fly around and follow a very clean arc. I'm going to make a reference before I start animating this. To do that I will make a big layer, like that, and on the straight layer, I will draw the arc that this blob will follow. To make it a bit easier for me to animate this, I can draw in these lines that will roughly tell me where to put my next drawings. In corners like this, it tends to slow down. I'll keep drawing my spokes like this and I'm varying the speed here so you can see. It starts slow, it speeds up, I go slow, and speeds up, go slow, and speeds up. Here I have my reference. I'm going to lower the opacity on this and then I'm going to make sure to go back to my animation layer here. I want to make sure that I'm on this layer and that this layer is selected, otherwise I cannot draw on it. If you see this white border, you know it's selected. Then I'm going to go in and draw my first frame here. I'm actually going to put this below like that and then go back up here. Then I add my next frame and of course, I need to pull that down. I'll turn on my onion skinning and now as you can see, something happened with the photo. What's happening here is because of the onion skinning. What we're seeing is the previous frame of the photo being multiplied on top. To help with this darkening, we can go down to our photo, unlock it, and lower the opacity in it. Then we can go ahead and add a new layer, put that at the bottom, make sure it's at the start, then fill it with a white fill like this, and then I will lock both of these. This will make it a bit easier for us to see now as we animate. As I go along here, I want to play with the size of this blob. Naturally, as it's speeding up I want to stretch it out and that will really convey the fast speed. The faster it goes, the more I want to stretch it out. Usually when you animate, you don't want to overdo this. You don't want to stretch a blob so much that is impossibly long, but now because we're playing around and doing something very loose and fun, we can really play with the scale of things. So we can make it really long or really small. But we just want to make sure that we don't go ahead and make one really long drawing here, and then I'm going to make one short and then one long again, because then we will get a strobing where it just moves. We want to apply the idea of easing both to the movement but also to the stretching and scaling of thing. Now here, as it slows down, I will start making it a bit shorter again, and I make it so it's following the arc here. To change the visibility, we can play around with the settings and see what makes it the easiest to see what we're doing. We'd also want to make sure that we keep playing and looking at our animation so we spot any mistakes and see the timing and how everything moves before we go too far because it's easier to fix stuff in the beginning than later. Now, I'm going to delete my reference layer here, and then to make it easier to see this, I'm going to turn on the opacity again, turn off the onion skinning, scroll back here, and then I will set my playback and then we can take a look. This is looking pretty cool. Maybe I don't want this to start in the beginning actually, so we can add a frame and put this frame all the way in the beginning here. We have an empty frame to start with and then I'm going to make this frame a bit longer. If we want to make this little thing feel really grounded in the photo, we could try adding a shadow. I'm going to do that by making a new layer here, and then I will pull this out and put it back here. Then I will drag it out to match this empty first frame, make a new one, pull it down, and now I'm going to start adding a shadow. I'll dig it out by just adding a black here. Now, we have our shadow layer here, and then I'm going to turn on the opacity again, and then I'm going to grab this whole group here and lower the opacity. I'm going to change the blending mode here to something that I think looks good. This is what it looks like. I'm going to keep adding some effects here. I think I'm going to make a little halo around her here, like this, and this will radiate outwards. Here you can play around with these things. Now, if I put this frame closer to the frame before, it will move slower in the beginning, and then I can space it out wider to make it speed up. Let's see what that looks like. I probably want one more frame on this one and I will make that frame closer here again so that it slows out. Now, if I want this effect to happen several times, I can grab all these frames by clicking the last one and then shift-click and clicking the first one, and then I click command J and that will add a duplicate of these frames behind here. Then I can grab the first frame and make it shorter, maybe even shorter here. If I don't want any space between here, I can just delete it completely. I would go ahead and grab this frame here and I will duplicate it one more time. I'm just going to play around a bit and add some more effects and we'll see where this ends up. I added a few other animations to this photo and this is my final animation. In the next video, I'm going to show you how to export this for Instagram or any other social media. 6. Exporting in Photoshop: Now, we want to export this so we can post this on social media. To do that, we go to File and down here to Export. In this menu here, we'd go down to Render Video. In this window here, we can name our file, and here, we select where we'd want to save it. One important thing to change here when we're exporting this is to change its format here from QuickTime to H.264. That will make sure that we export an MP4 that we can upload to Instagram, because some file formats, Instagram won't recognize. Down here, we select how much we want to export. If we set this to work area, it will export in between these two markers here. Once everything is done here, we just click Render. Here we have our final file. Now, we can go ahead and send this over to our phone. An easy way to do that is if you're on Mac, you can use the AirDrop and drop it to your iPhone. Otherwise, you can e-mail yourself the file and download it on your phone, or you can use Dropbox or any other form of Cloud sharing service. 7. Your Assignment!: For the assignment, I want you to pick one or more photos and add your own effects to them. Once you're done with the animation, I'd like you to upload it into the student community so we can all see it. To do that, we just need to export a GIF. To export a GIF in Photoshop, you go to "File", "Export", and "Safe for Web". In this window here, we can select our looping to forever, and here we see the amount of frames we will export. Here, we can preview it. Once we're done, we click "Save", and we name our file up here and hit "Save" again. Here we have our GIF ready to be uploaded to the student community. Remember, the community is here to help you. If you get stuck anywhere along the process, please reach out and me or your fellow students, will be glad to help you. 8. Conclusion: That's it for this short class on how to animate in photoshop. I hoped you enjoyed the class and I'm looking forward to seeing what you post in the community and on social media. Remember, that if you post it on Instagram, tag me so I can see it. Hopefully, this class got you the basic tools needed to get started on animating in Photoshop. If you want to do a deep dive in animation, please check out my other classes, especially the one on the basics of animation. If you haven't already, please follow me how Skillshare and I'll see you in the next class.