Star In Your Own Animated GIF: A Beginners Project In After Effects & Photoshop | Gemma Yin | Skillshare

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Star In Your Own Animated GIF: A Beginners Project In After Effects & Photoshop

teacher avatar Gemma Yin, Animation & Video Director

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

15 Lessons (1h 5m)
    • 1. Hey There!

    • 2. Get Ready

    • 3. Say Cheese

    • 4. What Is A Frame Rate?

    • 5. Setting Up Our Photoshop Document

    • 6. The Magic Rule Of 3

    • 7. Starting Work on Our First Drawing Layer in Photoshop

    • 8. Drawing Our 2nd And 3rd Layers in Photoshop

    • 9. Re organising The Timeline For Animation in Photoshop

    • 10. Exporting Our Artwork As A Looping GIF File From Photoshop

    • 11. Exporting Our Artwork As Separate Images From Photoshop

    • 12. Importing Our Assets into After Effects And Adjusting Their Settings

    • 13. Working With The Layers In The Video Timeline in After Effects

    • 14. Exporting Our Animation As A Video File From After Effects

    • 15. Thank You And Goodbye!

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About This Class

This class will walk you step by step through adding a fun layer of animated illustration onto a photographic portrait. This can be exported as a GIF straight from Photoshop (lessons 1-10), or students can also learn how to create a video file using the same assets in After Effects, so the video can be shared on social media. (lessons 11-14)



In addition to creating a cool and contemporary technique, you will learn some essential animation theory; how frame rates work and how to create ‘boiling’ loops.  

The class is suitable for beginners who are new to the techniques and software, but those with some experience in design and animation might also want to learn a new technique and approach.  

The class will provide a useful springboard and fresh perspective to anyone setting out on a moving image journey. 

You will need to have Adobe Photoshop and After Effects Software installed, on either a computer with a graphics tablet input, or an integrated device like a Microsoft Surface. It is possible to use a mouse to draw if you have a steady hand!

Meet Your Teacher

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Gemma Yin

Animation & Video Director


Hello out there!

I'm Gemma Yin, an Animation & Video Director. 



I got my start as a moving-image creator in the world of fashion after completing an illustration & animation degree. I've had a colourful career so far, creating mixed media content for exciting brands and artists across music, beauty and fashion. I can't wait to share some of the skills I have learnt along the way, and hope to guide and inspire you on your own creative journey. 


If you want to have a browse through my work, check out my website. For a bit more info about me, you can read this lovely feature by the folks at Shots Magazine.

 See full profile

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1. Hey There!: Animation is an amazing tool for self-expression. Armed with just a few basic principles, you can springboard into experimenting to discover your own style. My name is Gemma Yin and I am an animation and video director based in London. My work has a cross-platform style, mixing photography and film with elements of graphic design and illustration. It's bold, colorful, and a bit quirky and has proved to hit for projects across the fashion, beauty, and music industries. In this class, I want to walk you through one of my signature styles, bringing a photographic portrait to life by adding a fun layer of animated illustration on top. This project will help you to get a better grasp of the principles of frame rates for moving image, the art of the endless loop which is an animated best friend, some technical skills in Photoshop and After Effects, and ultimately, the most important lesson I want you guys to take away from this is that you can be way freer than you might think and even make blatant mistakes and the clip that you create will still look really cool. For the class project, I'll be walking you through making your self portrait animated with your own designs. Strap in and let's get started. 2. Get Ready: Welcome to the class. In order to make the most of this lesson, you will need to have the right setup. This project works best if you have the following tools to hand. First, a device to take your photos, a smart phone, tablet, even your laptop can do it. Second, a way to draw digitally. This could be done straight into Photoshop using a stylus pen on a graphics tablet, or straight onto the screen if you have an integrated device. You can use an iPad or equivalent tablet for the drawing element, although this lesson will be focused on working straight into Photoshop, so you'd have to adapt the workflow for that yourselves. Finally, you will need a computer with Adobe Photoshop and After Effects installed and working. I will walk you through the steps for making a GIF file using only Photoshop from start to finish, and then I will show you how to take the same assets into Adobe After Effects in case you want to export as a video file to use on Instagram. If you are totally confident and feeling creative, you should go ahead and come up with your own design. For those of you who just want to get making but are having a bit of a creative block, you can use one of the templates I've prepared. These can be downloaded from the project description below the video. Remember to save it within your project folder under a name like templates before using. The design that I bring to life during the class is relatively detailed, but you could go really quickly and see what comes out of your subconscious. I did these 10-minute examples to show you how quick and easy you could approach this. Spontaneity combined with a little bit of pressure can produce very interesting results. Up next, get ready to say cheese as I give you some top tips for taking your photos. 3. Say Cheese: First, we need to take a sequence of photographs of ourselves. Get into selfie mode and snap a bunch of pictures or ask a lovely assistant to take them for you. You don't need to tripod this, but try to hold it pretty steady and snap quickly. You need to move a little to give the piece some interest, so have a go at a funny face or just a big smile will work wonders. Pay attention to the lighting. Natural is flattering, so stand outside or near a window. The background can be anything too, but not too busy is usually a good shout. I often shoot my photos in black and white as it gives a flattering stylized look and helps the animation and colors stand out more from the background. There's probably an easy way to set your phone to take the photos in black and white without you having to fiddle around with them afterwards. If you know that you want your end product to be square, you could set this now, otherwise portrait will do just fine. There is no set number of photos that we need to get, but I find between six and 10 to be pretty sweet. Have a quick scroll to see how you feel about your sequence. You can retake as many times as you like, but you may find the spontaneity of your first attempt worked really well, so that one could be a keeper. Now you need to import them onto your device. AirDrop is super quick and easy between devices, or you can always email them to yourself if you can't figure that out. Now, you should get organized and make a project folder to store the photos in. I'm going to name mine Gemma's Animated Portrait. Within the main folder, I'm making another folder called Photo Sequence. You will see why this is important later. Put your photo sequence in there and have another quick flick through to see if you're happy. This is your last chance to delete any undesirables. It doesn't matter if you delete something from the middle. Once you are happy with the set, you want to rename the photos simply 01, 02, 03, etc, being careful to keep the original order the same so that any movement looks smooth and doesn't jump around randomly. You should have something looking like this, and we're ready to move on to the next stage. In the next lesson, I'll go over some essential theory about frame rates. 4. What Is A Frame Rate?: If you need to filmmaking, you may not be familiar with what a frame rate is and how we can use it to influence the look and feel of a piece of moving image. A frame rate indicates the number of consecutive still images, otherwise known as frames, that is shown on the screen during a one second clip of video. Therefore, something that is one frame per second would look something like this. There are several industry standard frame rates which also vary between regions, but most movies are projected at 24 frames per second or 25 frames per second in Europe and the US. There is nothing to say that you can't go higher or lower, so feel free to experiment, but if you end up working on client projects, be sure to check what frame rates they need the final files to be delivered in before you start working on something. In contrast to filmmakers, myself and fellow animators often worked with lower frame rates than in traditional cinema. Anywhere between 6 and 12 frames per second are popular options depending on the project. There are two good reasons for using a lower frame rate. The first reason is that if you're working in a traditional style of stop motion animation where you need to draw or compose each frame individually, you are reducing your workload by half if you choose to use 12 instead of 24 or 25 frames per second. It won't be as smooth, but it has a certain charm to it, which brings me on to the second reason. A lower frame rate can give a unique aesthetic to your video. The effect is offbeat, quirky, and in a lot of ways, more forgiving than working with smooth video. Now that we understand a bit more about frame rates, let's go ahead and set one for our own project. 5. Setting Up Our Photoshop Document: We're now ready to open Photoshop and get our document started. You can either go straight to this Open button, or you can go up to the top menu and go File, Open, and then you find your project folder. Gemma's animated portrait is here, I've saved it in the sidebar so I can access it quickly. Then I go to Photo Sequence, I press 01 which is the top image then you have to reveal this because it doesn't automatically appear. You want to click the Options button, which should be at the bottom left or somewhere down at the bottom of your menu and then you want to click the box for image sequence. This is going to automate bringing in all the images together, which is going to make our life easier. Make sure that button is clicked then go over and press Open. This is where we set our frame rate, which we talked about before. Six frames per second, I think, is a great frame rate for this kind of thing. Just make sure that's six and press Okay. Great. So here's our document. I'm just going to save it now so I don't forget, File Save As. So going into my main folder again, I'm just going to save it as Gemma's portrait doc, save. If you can't see this timeline down here, because it's not a standard thing that a lot of people use Photoshop for the moving image so you need to go up to the window and you should be able to take it here. I'll untick it to show you and then go back and take it on again. There it is. As you can see or you can't see all the separate images because Photoshop has already automated them into this one layer. So every image that you had in your sequence is inside this layer already. If you grab this blue triangle with the red line coming down from it, this is called the playhead and this is very important because it shows you what you're seeing at any stage of the video. So you can drag it along and have a look. Now, I want you to go to this Cog button over here just to the left of the main timeline and if you open it up, you press down on it, you can reveal these settings. You should have loop playback ticked if it wasn't ticked already and then go back here. Now if you press the Space bar, you can see exactly what this is looking like when it plays. Once you export this as a GIF, this is the timings and everything is going to look like. I think already it looks cool. I'm happy with it. Press Space bar again to stop and then you want to always put this back in the beginning. This is just good practice because if you have it somewhere in the middle, when you start importing more layers into the document, this can affect where things are in the timeline. So this always has to be at the front, so don't forget. Great. We're ready to move on to the next lesson, which will be an introduction to the magic rule of three and how we can use it to create a boiling loop. 6. The Magic Rule Of 3: The magic rule of three is a technique that I've been using since I first started learning animation theory. It is a super easy but effective way to get more from less. The idea is very simple. If you draw at least three versions of the same image or shape and set them to play on a loop, the image will appear more alive. Two is too little, but three is enough to fool the eye. This is commonly known as a boil in animation lingo. As the image is not evolving or changing, just boiling away, not static but a little bit alive. The images don't need to be identical. In fact, the more variation between the three images, the more characterful it can become. This is the principle that we'll be using for our own artwork. It means that we only have to design one drawing layer before repeating the same design two more times to create the boil effect. Up next, we get to work on our first drawing layer in Photoshop. 7. Starting Work on Our First Drawing Layer in Photoshop: Now, we're ready to draw our design, which is the fun part. I'm going to go ahead and use the template that I prepared, which you can also download from the project description. If you've decided to draw freehand, just ignore the references that I make to the template, but the tools and the methods that we're going to learn fundamentally remain the same without it. You may even have sketched out a design or prepared or pre-designed it in some other way, and then you could always use that design in a similar way to how I'm using the template that I've made. Before we do anything, I want you to double, triple-check again that this play head is at the very beginning. Also in the Layers window, which we haven't looked at in much detail, you can hide this if you want, it doesn't really matter, but I want you to make sure that you don't have anything selected. For example, you don't have this video group selected. In order to do that, you need to click into this empty space, just click once, and you've definitely unselected everything. Let's go and look at the template. You will have to have downloaded these and I've saved mine in Gemma's Animated Portrait, I've just made another folder called templates, you might only download one template if you're using them. Let's have a look. I've got this one which is probably my fav, but don't worry too much about the slightly odd look of this. I know it looks transparent because this part is transparent, and these bits aren't and these are sort which aren't really related to the main design, but these are swatches. I'm going to use it and show you in Photoshop how this is going to make your life a bit easier and quicker, so don't worry about that. Just look at the main overall design and get a feel for it. Then we have this one which is quite California ask, and it's got some Hockney's style round red glasses here, which I think is fun. Then the third one is like a punky fashion cookie and you've got one eye and that would sit over your right eye. I'm going to use this one because it's my favorite. Select it, drag it, hover over your face, and drop it in place. Now, conveniently, this fits exactly over my face in quite a good position, but I'm sure you need to adjust it. You can pull it around, you can move it, you can resize it using the arrows at the corners. Once you're happy with it, just press Enter on the keyboard and it should lock in place. Now, if you did what I said and made sure you unselected all the layers, this should have appeared above your video group sitting there nice and pretty. Then you should have this, but we're ignoring the timeline for a little while here. Focusing on this Layers panel now. This process is the same without the template. If you are just going straight to drawing, I'll just turn this off for the purpose of your understanding. The next thing we need to do is go down and make a new layer. Again, unselect all the layers, just always be clicking, this should become second nature, clicking this blank area, you've not got anything selected. Go down, there's a little button and it looks like a piece of paper with a corner turned up, and you press it and a new layer will appear magically on top of everything else. I'd rename this now, so go and double-click on the name and then just name it Drawing 1. Great, so you've got your drawing layer and now you can just start playing around. The most important thing to start knowing is the undo shortcut if you don't already, so here it's Command Z. Everything you do, it doesn't matter, there's no consequences, you can even just go back a stage here in the history. Get your brush, this brush is found in the left toolbar. Click on that, and the settings for this are up here. I think you just need to have a real play around with this and see what you feel, what you like, there are so many different types of brushes. You can choose the type of brush, you can change the size. Just stop drawing, undo, and then just do it again. This is another of your ultimate tools for this. You click on this color swatch and it reveals your colors, you want to choose something nice, choice is lime-yellow "Okay" Then I wanted to make my brush a bit bigger because it's a little bit small, so make that bigger, just drag this up and then just see how that looks. Looks pretty good. There's also this Smoothing tool, which may help you depending on how smooth your hand is or the device you're using if it's not that good to use. This will just smooth out the lines for you a bit. Already looking quite interesting. Now, you can start playing around, drawing some silly mustache, a bit of eyebrow. Really take your time, get to know the tools, find the brushes you like, find the colors you like. If you're using the template, I'm going to explain exactly what's happening here. The main design is transparent. This is going to allow you to actually trace over it and be able to see what you have and haven't drawn yet because the bits that you know you haven't drawn on your own layer are going to still look transparent and a bit flat. Eyedropper tool is going to help you find the exact color that I've used very, very quickly or another color from somewhere else that you like. You click it, you hover over. I think I'm going to do the yellow, so I click that, and then I can see that my yellow swatch is now updated to be the same shape. When I use the brush, so I'll go back to the brush, and I need to be on my drawing layer in order to do that. I'm going to zoom in to the yellow sections of the drawing and start going over. Yes, it's going to be the same color yellow that I used in the original sketch. For the petal, it doesn't really matter if I go a bit in the line here because I'm going to draw the white circle on top afterwards. Actually, that wasn't even yellow, that was orange. But this is a good time for me to say that, actually, if you make mistakes from frame to frame, it really doesn't matter, it adds an extra element, it's not going to ruin everything if you've drawn the wrong color somewhere, it's going to look interesting, so do not worry about that at all. Then now, if you want to start off getting a feel for how it's looking without the template, you can just zoom out, you can click the eye next to the template to unsee it, and you can see your little petals coming in, which looks cool. Keep zooming out, getting a feel for the balance of the image. If you're using a template, you don't have to stick to my colors at all, you can just go crazy with it. Use it as inspiration, use any one part, use sunglasses, use the flowers, whatever, and build your own stuff. That's cool too. Because a lot of the details in my designs can be a little bit tricky to just work on one layer with, and I wanted to show you how you can work with a background elements layer of your drawings and then foreground elements. If you want to get really organized with it, you can rename your drawing layer, Drawing 1 background, and then create a new layer the same way we did before where you press the "New Layer" symbol and you can name this Drawing 1 foreground. I'm going to select now the foreground to show you why I've strategically drawn this white section of the eye as a bit of a messy blob. I do that knowing that it would be behind the blackout line and the purple blob in the middle of the eye. What I need to do now is I'm going to turn off the background that I already drew, and I'm going to go to the foreground. Now, I'm going to draw the black outline and the purple section. I'll just swatch my black, make this brush a bit bigger. I'm doing it quite quickly actually, so it's a bit of a mess. I'll do it roughly. I'm going over the black bits, and then I'm going to go down, grab my swatch, and I'm going to draw the purple section. Now, when I come to turning my background layer back on, it looks not very neat, but it's filled in. It's just an easier way for some elements to draw the background more loosely and then go over it more neatly with the top details. Once you're in this position where you've finished all those drawings and you've done the backgrounds and the foregrounds and you think you've covered everything, and it's made your life a bit easier along the way, you can then combine these layers back into one drawing layer because they will still need to be one layer in the end. I'll turn off my template, select the top layer, right-click, scroll right down, you should see a Merge Down option in the right-click menu. Click "Merge Down" and that's combined itself. These are now no longer separate layers, no longer foreground and background drawings, but they're one layer, and you can rename this back to just Drawing 1, this would be done at the end when you've finished everything. That's how you can use multiple layers to make it a bit easier to tackle some of the more detailed elements. Let's come back here once you finish your first layer and we can get to work on our second and third drawings. 8. Drawing Our 2nd And 3rd Layers in Photoshop: Okay, so we're back here. I've finished this entire drawing layer. This is not the template, this is just my drawing layer. As you can see, the template is actually off. The next stage, we need to make the same design two more times. The first step is to go down to your new layer symbol again. Click on it. It's going to say Layer 2, I change it just so you know where you are, to Drawing 2. Once you've made the new layer called Drawing 2, if you've used the template, what you will do is you will just turn off the Drawing 1 layer, so click on the eye and then turn the template back on, and you're at the same exact stage you were before. You can use the swatches, you can see roughly what you're doing here, you can trace over it again. If you drew freehand and didn't use a template, your Drawing 1 layer will now become your template, so you need to just select Drawing 1, and you need to go to this opacity setting just above the layers, and you need to turn that down, and then you can see it's starting to go opaque. Now it looks a bit like the template that I had where you can see through it. Then you would go back on your drawing layer, the second layer, and back to the brush, and just pick up where you left off and start drawing over again. If you have used lots of different colors, and you want the colors to be exactly the same, which they don't have to be, by the way, you would have to keep referring back to this and you could turn it back up to swatch. If you wanted to find the color, you would use the swatch and go back to find it. Alternatively, you could make two, you could duplicate this. If you drag Drawing 1 down over the new layer symbol, you could call this Swatches, you could then turn it off. Make the Drawing 1 the opacity, and just keep it that way. Then every time you needed to take a swatch, you could turn it back on, and pick it and then just turn it back off, which is much easier than changing the opacity all the time. But then you'll just have to make sure you're back on the correct new drawing layer every time. One thing I do want to discuss now is how you can make small adjustments to make the animation a bit more dynamic. For example, making everything slightly larger or slightly smaller than it was in the first layer. This lesson is not about how to make the flower grow up on the screen or anything like that, or the clouds float by. This lesson is about using the boil effect, giving it a little bit of flair, but we're not doing a full animated piece, we're doing a loop. For example, on this drawing, what I might do is I would adjust the sizes of these sunglass flares. I might just make the line half the thickness for the next drawing. On both sides, I might just change the white so it's a little bit thinner, which is going to look really nice because it's going to feel like a little reflection is hitting the surface of the sunglasses. What I could do in a lot of places is just make the shape slightly smaller and if I decide to do it on one petal, I'm going to do it on all of them. I'm going to just take it in a bit from the edge of where I've drawn the petal, and just make it one size smaller, a little bit, not crazy. I'll just make it a little bit smaller. We're going to see a little pulse in the flower design. I'm going to go ahead and do my second and third drawing layers, and quickly show you what I mean by that before you start yours. I've just gone off and drawn my second and third layers in the same way, using the same tools as I showed you before for the first layer. The only difference was in some of the details and the sizes of the shapes, so if we zoom in and have a look at the flowers, these were the ones I drew first, I actually used a different brush in the first drawing to the one I use, but that really doesn't matter. Little details like that only add more character and interest to the piece when it's animating. If we look at the size of the petals, this was our original template, and the first drawing matches pretty closely with the shapes. But for the second drawing, I actually did the shapes slightly smaller, just a touch. That's a couple of millimeters smaller. I did the white blobs inside the cloud a little bit smaller, and then for the third drawing I did the opposite. I did them slightly bigger, so slightly oversized, so you can see from the template, if you look at this area, for example, when I click it on, you can see it's slightly bigger. The same with the petals. All of them on the flowers are slightly bigger, and the petal here as well. It's just an extra detail that is going to help it look a bit more interesting when it's moving. If we go down and also look at the sunglasses, these have changed quite a bit from between the three drawings. The first drawing is very close to the original template. For the second drawing, I thinned the lines. I just extended the blue a little bit wider and made the white a bit thinner, so you can see that when I flick between them. For the third drawing, I made the white lines thicker instead of thinner as you can see when I flick. I actually did the blue the wrong color because I've got two shades of blue up here in my swatch. I ended up just adding a little accent line of the darker blue on top, because I think it'll be interesting for you to see when it's moving, how it looks if you use the wrong color. I also think I used the wrong color up here for one of these petals, and we can have a look at that, but that is completely fine. I think that's what I wanted you to take from this. You can make mistakes and it's only going to make it look more interesting actually. I did the letters in the same way. I just varied the size slightly. On the second drawing there some of them are a little bit undersized, and then the third drawing they get bigger again. Okay, so let's move on and see how it looks when it's all moving as we reorganize the timeline for animation. 9. Re organising The Timeline For Animation in Photoshop: Welcome, back. I hope you've had a lot of fun experimenting with your drawings and making the three versions of the drawing slightly different from one another and not too different. Let's go ahead and see if we can get them moving in the timeline. We need to go up to this Layers panel and do a bit of organizing first. Let's delete this template because we don't need that anymore. We can either right-click and press delete layer or we can just drag it. Simply grab it, press down, drag it over the dustbin and let go, and that's gone. What we're left with is, Drawing 1, Drawing 2, Drawing 3, and our portrait layer, which is inside this drop-down here. We need to turn on all three drawing layers. Make sure everything is switched on, all the eyes are on. Then we go down here back to the timeline. We're going to get back in this section now, I'm just going to extend it so you can see better. We need to take this play head and pull it so it sits over frame 1. You may have to just check that is frame 1. It should snap into place there. But if you have this view on quite wide, it reduces the amount of frames that you can see at the top of this box. Just make sure you're definitely over frame 01 here, you can see it there, so 01. Now you need to select all three of these drawing layers at the same time. There's a couple of ways to do this and it also depends on your keyboard shortcuts, but I'm going to use pressing on the first one, holding down Shift and then pressing on the last one. Alternatively, I can press on the first one, which is drawing 1, hold down Command key and then press the second and the third. All of these should be highlighted with this gray border indicating that you've selected them. Once you're confident that you've got those selected like this, you should go across here to the scissor button just to the left of where you were and press this. Now everything is changed. Don't panic. We need to delete these long sections. Each of these drawings have been now sliced into two. One of the pieces is one frame long, and the other one is much, much longer. We need to delete this long piece, which you can do by selecting it, just pressing on it, and then pressing Backspace or Delete. Then do that again with the Drawing 2 and Drawing 1 layers or whichever order you worked in. Once I've deleted all the long layers, I'm left with three drawings, and they're one frame in length each. Now I just need to grab this. I've just clicked it and then I'm going to hold down the mouse selecting it. I'm going to pull it down, so it sits next to the first layer. I'm going to do the same with the top frame, which is Drawing 3 and I'm going to pull it, just hold it down, and pull it across, and down to sit next to the other two drawings. Now if we go back up to the layers menu, this has categorized these three drawings into a video group. We have our Video Group 2, where all the drawings are living. If we go back to the timeline and have a look, our portrait sequence indicates the length of what we want the gift to be from start to finish. That's every frame of our portrait. We need the drawings to cover the portrait. At the moment, there's a big gap. So there's three frames with drawings, then the rest has nothing if we just take a quick scroll through. There's a wrong way to do this and a right way. The wrong way is to select them here. This seems like the easiest, most logical way. You would select them here, press copy, and press paste. They look like they've gone into place, but they won't be in the right position. As you can see, they've moved. Just undo that. That was just a demonstration of what not to do. What we have to do to get these duplicated and all in the right position and the right proportion is, go back to our layers tab up here. We actually need to select video group, which is the holder folder, nice rhyme, the holder of the frames. If you close it for now, it looks a bit neater, and we can just focus on this as a group. We need to click and hold on what's now called Video Group 2, which contains our three drawing frames. We need to drag it down over the new layer symbol that we used a few times earlier, and just drop on top of that symbol. That has created a copy. We need another one because looking quickly back at the timeline, I can tell that three frames isn't going to reach the end of my gap here. I'm going to need more. I'm going to take the top, what's now the top layer, which is Video Group 2 copy, and I'm going to do the same. I'm going to drag it down over the new layer symbol and let go. Now, I've got six new drawing layers, which are one frame each. These layers are in the wrong place at the moment. They're sitting on top of the original drawing layers, which makes it look like nothing new is there. What we need to do is select these three frames, which is the next in line of the sequence. Just select them like we talked about before. Click the first one, press Shift, click the second, third one, and at this point you want to click and hold, drag them across and down, and let go. Now they're sitting neatly besides the first three. You don't want to be changing the order. You don't want to be just randomly dragging each one individually like this. You want to keep the original order 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. I'm going to select this third group and drag them across and down and this just happens to fit perfectly as a multiple of three because there are nine frames in my original photo sequence and there's three times three. I could have ended up with a situation where I had a few extra frames falling off the end of the sequence over here. They would be sitting somewhere here. That would mean that the photo sequence had run out and there would be nothing behind the drawing layers. What we need to do is, we need to get everything ending at the exact same point. If you have any stragglers having duplicated and you've got say two extra frames hanging off the edge here. You just need to select them, press backspace, and delete them. You would end up with something looking like this. Everything finishes at the exact same point. Let's go back and have a look. We don't need these empty layers anymore, the ones where our duplicate frames very temporarily lives, so we need to just delete those, so let's go back up here to the layers window and select the top two, which are now completely empty anyway, and just drag them and put them over the dustbin and let go. Now you have two groups. One group has all the photos within it and the top group has the layers as individual frames. Once you're happy that your version looks like this, let's go and actually play this and see how it looks. Now that I'm playing using the space bar, I can see that my position is quite off with the drawings. When I worked on the very first frame of the sequence, this one, it looks as though the sunglasses were quite well placed over my eyes. But now we can see from previewing it that my eyes become visible above the sunglasses and that's not really the effect that I want. I've selected the top video group, which contains all of my individual drawing frames. If I have the group header selected, anything I do to it will affect all of the frames at the same time. Just select that if it's easier, like I've done, just close that and select. It says the only thing you can possibly select from that group. Once you're confident that that's selected, and you're using this tool, which is the default tool for moving things around and it's your neutral tool. You can either manually move it by clicking and moving your stylus pen or mouse around like this. Just try to get it in position or you can use the keypad and the up-down, left-right arrows on the keypad. I need to be previewing a frame, where the eyes are the most out of position, which would probably be this one. It's quite a scary image. I'm going to use this so I can make sure that my glasses are over these eyes and hopefully they'll fit with everything else once these match. I'm going to drag. I'm going to drag first and then I'm going to use the keypad arrows just to perfect it and get it a bit more accurate. Let's see now how that looks. I think, it's a bit still a bit to the left and maybe a bit high. I'm going to stop again. I'm going to try a tiny bit lower and a bit more to the right. Cool. I think that's a good position. You can't really see the eyes at any point, which is what I want and you can see the eyebrow, which is nice. I think, that's the best average position in relation to all the frames. Double, triple check, everything looks like this, all your frames are there. When you play, everything looks like it's in a good position. Once you've finished playing, you put your play head right at the front. You unselect everything in here. Just make sure nothing there is actually selected. In the next video, we're going to look at exporting this as a GIF. 10. Exporting Our Artwork As A Looping GIF File From Photoshop: This is the moment you've all been waiting for. We're about to export this baby as a looping GIF. Go up to File, Export, and then go to Save for Web, it says legacy in brackets. I never knew what that meant. Press "Save for Web". It can take a little while to load because this is actually a really big file in its current size. Here we go. The first thing we need to do is make this into a more realistic GIF file size. Now, this is actually huge, it's 2,300 pixels by 3,000, which is crazy. A normal GIF size is not very big, it could be 400, I think that's a pretty good size for the width, 400. I'm just going to type 400 in this box here that says image size in the width, which is W, and then it's going to automatically resize the height to match the ratio. That looks more realistic. I think it feels small looking at it now because of the window, but once it's out I think it's going to look right. But this is something you can come back and just redo it and it takes two seconds. Change the image size. Other things to look out for: make sure this says GIF, you want this to be selective is a good shout. I mean, this is another thing you can play around with and try things out, but selective is a good one. Colors: I want this to be full color, so I'm going to put 256, which is the maximum. It will be slightly bigger as a file size with the more colors, but because it's all about the color, we can't not do it. I always go for pattern here. Again, you can play around with these settings a bit, but these are my go-to, so I have it on GIF, selective, pattern. I don't need any transparency because there's no transparency in my image, but that might be something you come back to in the future if you start experimenting more with GIFs. GIF, selective, pattern, size 400 by 532. Looping options. I mean, you want it to just go forever, that's the GIF look, so forever needs to be ticked. You can preview it here, so you can press play if you're curious to see it. Looks good. Check if everything's working and how you want it to look. If you want an idea of file size, if you're working to some limitations, of which it's quite common with GIFs because people want to use them on web pages and they need it to be quite a small file size, you can check down here, this is the size that it's going to be once you've export it, It's going to be 749 kilobytes, which is not too bad, it's okay. Press "Save", and then go to your folder. I'm just going to save it as Gemmas-portrait-final. As soon as you press "Final", you can guarantee something's going to go wrong and you're going to need to change it, but I'm testing fate here. Press "Save". Now that we've saved it, we're going to go and look for the GIF in the folder and see how it's looking. Wow, you can already see it in just the preview mode. If I press the space bar, I can see it a bit bigger. Looking good. Congratulations, there's your GIF forever looping. You can embed these GIFs into the body of emails, send in WhatsApp messages, you can add them to web pages and generally have a nice time watching it go round and round and round. Now, if you love the GIF and the animation, but you really need it to be a video file like a MP4 or a MOV, which is compatible with platforms like Instagram, watch the final chapter on how to adapt the files that you've already created for After Effects. 11. Exporting Our Artwork As Separate Images From Photoshop: Before we move across to After Effects, we just need to finish up a couple of things in Photoshop to allow that process to be as smooth as possible. What's best is to just scroll down to the bottom, and the first thing to do is to unview, click on the eye to turn off the portrait sequence. We can't see that anymore. We have this familiar gray grid, which means this area is transparent. While hovered over the first frame down here what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to File, Save As, you know also use the shortcut for that. Save As. Then in here, which has led me straight to my folder because I've been working in it so much, I need to make a new folder. I'm going to press "New Folder" down here, and I'm going to call it Drawing Sequence and press "Create". We need to name this, drawing-01. Go down to the bottom, so to select the file format, which will be PNG, which means it's going to keep the transparency. It should be called drawing-01.png, and this should be selected as PNG, and you just press "Save". I do medium for this, which is safer, so press "OK". Now we need to export the second drawing, which is the second frame of our timeline. Move the playhead now to where it says 01F, and do the exact same thing again. You go to File, Save As, and then you go into your Drawing Sequence folder where you just saved the first one, it's a bit quicker if you just click on drawing-01 and then rename it to two. But you always need to remember, if you do that, to change the file type down here as well; so PNG, so that's drawing-02 PNG and then Save. Then you go to where it says O2F, which is the second frame along, which should now be displaying your third drawing. You can go to File, Save As, and do the exact thing we just did with the first few drawings, so you click on "drawing-02", rename it to three, change it to PNG. Very important, and then press "Save". So we've finished in here. You might want to just turn the layer back on that you turned off, the portrait, put this back to the beginning, press "Save". You can always come back to this, edit anything, export different versions of the GIF, whatever you like, but just close it down. I'm going to quit Photoshop. Up next, I'll show you how to import your photo sequence and artwork files into After Effects. 12. Importing Our Assets into After Effects And Adjusting Their Settings: I'm going to open up After Effects. If you don't see this in the background, then you need to create a new project. But I'm just going to close this window because I already have one there. Here is the project, it's not saved yet. In fact, I'll just save it now. So I'm going to go "File", "Save As", and I'm going to save it in my project folder and call it Gemmas Portrait-video version. "Save". Normally, I would create a composition first. It's even given you this sort button, I think this is on a newer version. Otherwise you would go to "Composition", "New composition". But for this, we're not going to do that, we're going to do it a bit upside down. What we need to do is just go to "File", "Import File". Go to your folder. You need to go to Photo Sequence. This is similar to what we did in Photoshop. You click on the first one, 01. Again, you look down here, if this Options menu isn't open, you need to press to reveal. Now, this is so useful, I use this all the time. You need to import JPEG sequence and make sure this is ticked. I don't need to tick this this time, but it's super useful. Say if you had a huge folder of images, like you've done a photo shoot and maybe you had deleted some of them so there were some gaps in the numbering. If you didn't want to go through and name 100 images 01-100, you would select the first image in the folder and tick force alphabetical order. It would fill the gaps so there weren't any gaps. Open. Now we've got our photo sequence here. Actually, I think I will show you what I mean about why the force alphabetical order is actually quite useful. If I just delete this, I'm just going to drag it into the bin. I'm going to go back to import the file again. I'm going to select the first one. This time I'm going to click force alphabetical order because I just want to show you the slight advantage of doing that. When you press "Open" this time, instead of this saying as it did before, it just said 1-8. It has now named the name of the folder that it was contained in, rather than just being a numbered sequence. That's a really nice thing. That's why I usually tick force alphabetical order even if my numbers are in order. There we go. That now is called photo sequence, so I don't need to rename it. I could have just renamed it, but I wanted to show you anyway. Now we've got our photo sequence, and I also want to import the drawing sequence that we just exported from Photoshop. I'm going to go to "File", "Import File". I select "drawing-01", and then I go down again. I'm going to tick force alphabetical order just so I can have it named properly when it comes in. PNG sequence is also ticked. Then I press "Open". Now that I've got both of these sequences into the project window inside After Effects, I want to change some of the fundamental settings before we start working with them. If you go to Photo Sequence, and if you right-click and press "Interpret Footage" and go to "Main", click that, this is going to open a window of more settings. So frame rate. After Effects, unlike Photoshop, didn't give us the option to set the frame rate as we brought the footage in. It's given it an automatic frame rate of 30, which is way too high. Our video would be too fast and wouldn't have the same effect as we had in the GIF. We need to change this back to six so it matches what we were working with before in Photoshop. Assume this frame rate, six frames per second, then go down, down, down. This is another one of my favorite settings in After Effects. So simple. Here we can set the sequence to loop. Now, I know we didn't loop the photo sequence in Photoshop. The reason that we're doing it now is because if you export a video that you want to upload to Instagram, it won't let you upload a video that's less than three seconds in length. Our GIF was not three seconds, it was probably 1.5 seconds. I want to loop this. I'm going to loop it three times because I think that'll get us over three-second mark. We can always come back and adjust this. Go to Loop and enter three and press "Okay". We need to do the same with the drawing sequence. Right-click, "Interpret Footage", "Main". Again, six frames per seconds. We need to change that from 30 to six. There's no way of doing multiple layers and automating them all, which is a shame, so you have to go through individually and change the frame rate in every single one. But there's only two, so that's good. Change the frame rate to six, go down and loop. Now we need to loop this quite a few more times than we did with the photo sequence because the photo sequence is about three times longer, it's nine frames long. This is only three because there's only three drawings. I'm just going to put 10 and we can always trim it. Put 10 in the loop box and press "Okay". Up next, I'll show you how to work with these files on the video timeline. 13. Working With The Layers In The Video Timeline in After Effects: The next thing we need to do is make the composition. So now that the photo sequence is the right frame rate and hopefully a good length to get us over three seconds, hold it down and I'm going to go down to this. There's a sort symbol with a few geometric shapes on it, which is going to make a new composition for us. So I'm going to let go and there it is. It's made the composition, it's matching the settings of the image. I'm going to zoom out. I want to look at the composition settings that it's given this automatically. I need to be selected on this photo sequence and then you go up to "Composition" and go to "Composition Settings" to open the window. It's named it "Photo sequence." It's just taken the name of the source file. The size is big. It's the same size that we looked at in Photo-shop, that's the original image size from the phone. So, we probably should make this a bit smaller because Instagram is not going to take that size too well. We need to tick "Lock aspect ratio" so that's just going to keep everything in proportion. So, we only then need to change the width to 1,080, which is a quite standard video width, and it's a good Instagram width to start with. Do that and then frame rate is six, that's what we wanted. The duration is four seconds long, so we're all in the clear for the three-second limit. That looks good to me. I'm going to press "Okay". Now that we've resized the frame, the image hasn't resized itself to match. So, before I do that, I'm actually going to drag the "Drawing sequence" and on top because that should be the same size of the image. We can resize those at the same time. Grab hold of your drawing sequence, pull it right down. There's a tiny gap, but you need to try to slot it in on top of the photo layer. So, this blue line here, if you can see when I move, it indicates where it's going to drop and I need to be exactly in that gap between the top of the menu and the layer. I let go and it's there. If it's not, you can still drag these layers around. You can pull it up. We can't really see much at the moment. So, I'm just going to go and change the size of these layers. The shortcut to do this is to select both layers again, you hold down Shift and then select the second one. I can press "S", which stands for scale, which is going to bring up just the scale parameter of the layer. If I press "S" again, it will disappear. The long way, which is good to know too, is you just click the little arrow here, which is just to the left of the layer name and then it reveals a "Transform" menu, which again you press the arrow to dropdown. These are all the core settings of the layer. So you have anchor point, the position, the scale which is at 100% at the moment with the rotation which is at zero because it's not rotated and the opacity is 100. What we need to do is scale it down to fit the new window size that we just changed. You can either just hover over the number 100, hold it down and drag the cursor across to the left. To the left will make it smaller, to the right will make it bigger because we're going on this number. If I do that, drag slowly, you can see the number going down and you can see the size of the image going down. I'd say 47, it looks the right size. So I'm going to let go. That's 47, that's the photo layer. The drawing layer is still full size, so it's too big. I can either press "S", which takes me just to the scale and resize it. I can type in 47 because I know it needs to match the other layer. The longer way would have been to open up the layer. The transform window is already open and then drag this down. There we go. It's 48, I'm going to just type it in, 47. Let's zoom in and see what we've got. This is our resized, now a video, and it's quite neatly compacted into just two layers in here, and because we dragged in the photo sequence first, the composition length has already matched that. So, it's just over four seconds, which is good. The drawing sequence layer, because we dragged it in second, it's longer than the photo sequence, but it's actually just going off the end. We don't really need to trim it. We can just leave it as it is because it's filling up the whole length of our clip. Before we export this, let's preview it to make sure everything looks good and it's playing as we want. It's the space bar to play. If you want a little more control over the preview settings, there's a menu on the right-hand side. It's closed at the moment, but if I press on the word "Preview", it will extend itself. These are the full playback settings. If you press the button "Play", it's going to play. After-effects will render. So, the speed won't always be full speed straight away and it also depends on the power of your processor. I mean, now it looks like it's caught up that the speed is playing looks right. Other settings you can see here, frame rate six, that's what we want. The resolution is the third, if you need for whatever reason to play it back in a higher resolution, you can change that. It's not full screen, there's no sound, but it would be playing sound if there was. It's looping at the moment. This is the setting to make it not loop but of course when we export it, it won't be looping it will just be a video that ends after four seconds but for the preview it can loop. Great, so I think it looks good. So, you can either press "Stop" or press the "Space bar." Up next, we will get this exported as a video file. 14. Exporting Our Animation As A Video File From After Effects: We're all ready to export this as a movie file. I've only just discovered in the last 20 seconds, that after-effects no longer supports the export of H.264 file compression, which is the usual web compression setting. Unfortunately, we're going to have to add an extra stage to this. What we're going to do is export the video as a QuickTime video, which is a very common format. It will play as a video, and it'll be very good quality, but it's going to be too big a file size, too higher a quality for what we need for web for programs like Instagram to use. Let's just export it anyway, and it's good to have a copy of it in high resolution. We should be selected here in our composition. Make sure you're in here and this blue line is around the edge of this box. Then go Composition, Add to Render Queue. Now we need to just go and click on Lossless". This is where you used to have the option for H.264, but it's no longer there. We just need it to be QuickTime, which is good. This Format Option, click. Animation is very, very heavy and it's not very versatile. You want to go down to Apple ProRes 422 LT is good because it's not super high-res somewhere in the middle. Click on that one and press "Okay". Audio output, I'm just going to turn that off. There's no audio anyway, but it's good to turn it off. Press "Okay", so go to where it says Output To Not yet specified, click that, and then go into your main folder. I would make a folder called exports. Then save as animated portrait QuickTime. Well, ProRes, I'm sorry, put ProRes, which is the compression type, and press "Save". You set the file name and the file type, and now you are going to press this button on the right-hand side which says Render. The blue line will indicate the progress of your export. You can just see frame by frame where it is. About halfway now and then almost at the end. That's the noise of your render, let's just save this first, command save, then we'll go and check out what you've exported. Here's your folder it's getting quite full now. Exports, this is your movie file which you can preview by clicking on the space bar. It looks really good. It stops it after four seconds because it's not a GIF. Now that we have this ProRes movie and we need to get it into an H.264 format for web, there are various ways to do this. My preferred way is through Adobe Premiere. Premiere has another software in the Adobe suite. I really hope that if you're using Photoshop and After Effects, you have access to Premiere as well as part of the collection. It's really essential to any video or animation-related work. So try and get hold of that. I'll give you an option without but with is better. Premiere is just opening up and I'm going to select "New Project". It makes you save a project before you've even started it, which in some ways is a good thing, but it's sometimes a bit annoying for this kind of thing because really all we want to do is run our video straight through it and out the other side and not have to save it. But here we go anyway. You have to save it first before it lets you in. Go to Browse. I mean you can put it in the exports folder that we just made. In your main project folder, exports, choose and then just put compression because that's what you're going to use it for. Compression, Okay. This is super simple now, you just need to go back into finder, you need to go to your exports, find the ProRes that we just exported from After Effects. You need to click, hold it, drag it right down, hover over this project window in Premier, and then let go. Then the next thing to do is just grab this ProRes video that you've imported. Just drag it straight across into this bigger section, which is the timeline, and drop it. Now your project is in this timeline. You really don't need to do anything else. You just need to go to File, Export, Media. Now, these are already set. You don't want to click this, you just want the format to say H.264, which is the magic format. You need it to say Match Source, High bitrate, which is the very first option. You don't need to touch anything else. Just Output Name, click that. It's now naming it the same, but it would be called an MP4 instead. But what you want to do is write H.264 just so you know, that's always the compressed version. I spelled it wrong again, I can't believe it. Okay, spelled correctly now. First, Save and then press "Export" down at the bottom. That's all you need to do in Premier. You don't even really need to save this. Before we go out there, let's just check if it's there. Go back to finder, Here it is. That's the MP4. The H264 MP4 version is five megabytes, which is pretty small for a video. The ProRes version is 10. It's only actually half the size, in this case, it can vary a lot more if it's a long, long video and you save a lot of file size. But it's the format that works best for social media. There it is. H.264, I'm going to highlight that in green just to tell myself, that's the hero video, that's the one I can post. Just have a look. It looks really good. Really pleased with that. I'm going to shut down my premier. No, I don't want to save. I might just delete that anyway. This is your exports folder. You've got your very high-res version, you've got your less high-res version. That's the version to use. Now if you have Premier as an option, I strongly recommend you use that as your converter to get those videos into MP4 format. If not, I'm going to go and do a bit more research about the latest, most reliable, preferably free option for converting your video files to MP4. I'm going to put a link to the best thing I find in the project description so you can check out and use it. Also, you've made an amazing leap in GIF. Watch on for some final thoughts from me. 15. Thank You And Goodbye!: Congratulations for making it to the end of the class. By completing your portrait project, you've learned some essential animation theory, the principles of frame rates and boiling loops, as well as some technical know-how in two powerful pieces of software. I hope you can build on what you've learned today in your future journey through the world of animation. Sadly, that is the end and we have to say goodbye. Thank you so much for taking my class. I really hope you enjoyed it and that you'll come back to discover more fun animation techniques from me in the future. I would love to see your portraits, so don't be shy, please share your results to the class project page. If you are uploading to social media and want to give me a tag, it's @geema.yin. Any questions you have, you can contact me on the community page. Please follow me on Skillshare, leave a review if you have time, and finally, but most importantly, have a lovely day.