5-Minute Creativity: Animate an Illustration in Procreate | Brooke Glaser | Skillshare

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5-Minute Creativity: Animate an Illustration in Procreate

teacher avatar Brooke Glaser, Illustrator

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

    • 1.

      Animate an Illustration


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About This Class

This bite-sized class is a part of Skillshare’s latest learning experiment, helping you explore your creativity in 5-10 minutes! The full version of this class is available here.

In this short class, you'll learn how to use the animation toolbar in Procreate 5 to quickly turn an illustration into an animated GIF. You'll learn how to turn layers into animation frames, how to move and duplicate frames, how to set background and foreground images, and much more. 

All you'll need is an iPad with Procreate 5. Dive in!

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Brooke Glaser


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1. Animate an Illustration: The first thing we're going to do is turn on the animation assist. I'm going to go the wrench icon, hit the canvas tab, and I'm going to go to animation assist. That's going to bring up this cool little toolbar, which is the animation assist. Procreate works by doing frame-by-frame animation. If you've ever made a little flip book, this will make a lot of sense to you. Basically, we take different frames and we draw us a change in each frame. Then Procreate plays that in a loop and it creates the illusion of motion. Procreate will treat a group in your layers panel as a single frame. For example, right now, if I push play right here, all of these elements are on their own layer and they're not grouped together, so they are being treated as a single frame of animation. If I come in here and I group these, now they all come together into a single frame of animation. I'll turn on these other frames. If I push play, that group is treated as a single frame of animation. Procreate built some really useful tools streamed to this toolbar. You don't always have to be jumping back and forth between the layers panel. My favorite is duplicate frame, and you can do this in two places. The first one is if you tap on the frame right here and you hit duplicate, that duplicate, you can see there it added a extra little frame right here. If you open the layers panel, it also added another frame in here. This is super useful because now I could just come in here and I could just redraw a little bit more of her eyelids closing. Instead of having to redraw everything, I can just duplicate the frame and then draw on top of it. The other place that I can do that is I can make sure that whatever frame is selected and you can tell it selected by this little blue bar down here if I tap and hold add frame, it will also duplicate that frame. Now, I can also add just a blank frame if I wanted to draw something completely different, this might work if your animation is super, super simple. You might just be wanting to add frames inside of it. I can also delete frames directly from the timeline right here. For example, I don't need that blank frame and I can see it up in here. If I just tap on the actual frame and hit delete, it'll delete it. Now to be noted, it also deleted it from the layers panel. If you want to remove something from the animation timeline but you don't actually want to delete it, just turn the visibility off. Whatever you have visible in this layers panel is what's going to show up in your animation timeline. If you're wondering why some frames aren't in your animation timeline, you may want to check the visibility in layers panel. Another neat tool in the animation assist toolbar is that you can actually grab and move different layers around. So you can swap these layers so they go in different order. That is going to do the same thing in your layers panel. Sometimes it just makes more sense visually to be able to move them in timeline order than it does in layer order. This is a really useful tool. Speaking of visibility, I actually made a bunch of textures for the background of this animation. But unfortunately right now, procreate is treating it as a frame of the animation. But I don't want it to be a frame in the animation, I want this stuff to sit behind all of these layers of animation the whole time. There's a way that you can do that by tapping on the frame and hitting background. That's going to treat these frames, or in this case, this group of layers as a background for the entire animation. You can also do this for something in the foreground. Let's say that I want to draw a little monkey for her shoulder. I just want this to always be on top of the animation. I don't want it to flash on and off, I just want that monkey on top of her shoulder all the time. Well, if I tap here, I can hit foreground and now it's going to sit on top of her shoulder. You can see during the animation, the background is on the back and the foreground, the little monkey, is on the front. It's worth noting that in your layers panel, you must have the background on the very bottom layer and you must have the foreground on the very top. You cannot move this somewhere else in between. See it in Procreate, it actually just forces it back to the top. Now, you might have been wondering, why do I have all these shadowy ghost leaves up here? That has to do with onion skinning. You might think that the term onion skin refers to food, but onion skins are the tracing paper of animation. It helps you see what came before or after in your animation. It can help you judge exactly how much and how far you want to move what you're drawing. You can control how many frames that you see and you can also control the opacity. Now, opacity is just a fancy word meaning how transparent or how see-through something is. Sometimes, it can be really useful to have the opacity really far up and sometimes it's just going to be distracting and you're going to want the opacity a lot lower down. This is totally going to depend on your unique animation. Another cool setting is the color secondary frames. This is very useful in helping us see which onion skin is the frame before the current frame that we're on and the frame that's after the current frame we are on. These earrings, they're all green, and that's because those frames, those onion skins, they are frames that are coming next in our animation. I am currently on the very first frame of animation at the gold earring right here. If I tap onto this one, now I'm on the middle frame of the animation and the frame that I was just on just turned into a solid pinkish red color, and that tells me that this frame has already passed. I know that this onion skin is the one that's coming up next because it's green and I know that onion skin is the frame that came before because it's red. If I tap on the last frame, now, both of those onion skins are red, so I know that both of those happened in the past. Another useful tool is this blend primary frame. Now, your primary frame is the frame that you are actually on. I can tell which frame I'm actually on by this little blue underline here. If I tap on to this middle frame, now this is my primary frame. If I turn on blend primary frame, you'll notice that this dimmed a little bit. Essentially what that does is it turns the primary frame into a semi-transparent onion skin as well. This is useful because in this animation, I'm having Frida's eyes open and shut. If her face was fully on the screen with no opacity, I couldn't see how much her eyes had closed from the last frame. Because the primary frame is now an onion skin, I can see through it. Depending on what you're animating and what you're doing, this can be super useful or it can be distracting. Procreate gives you a couple of ways to play back your animation. There's one called loop. If I play a loop, it plays to the very end frame and then it jumps back to the very beginning frame and so her eyes pop open. For a lot of your animations, this looping is going to be super perfect. It's going to work really well. In this particular case, I want to use ping-pong. Ping-pong is really great because it essentially goes backwards and forwards on the timeline. Ping-pong animation is a great way to save yourself some drawing time. If the action you're drawing works the same in reverse, this can save you this extra drawing time. For example, when Frida's eyes open and close, the action is the same whether she's opening or closing them. I don't need to draw her opening and closing them, I just need to draw one direction and then use the ping-pong animation. The other big perk is that this actually saves you layers. Procreate has a layer limit to help with stability. Using ping-pong animation can help you save some extra layers. Another great way to save layers is an option called hold frame. Even if you've maxed out all of your layers, you can still use this option. Essentially, I want to have the animation hold these hands here in the center for a few more seconds. I'm going to tap on that frame and I'm going to say hold duration and I'm going to say let's have it hold for two extra frames. You'll see in the timeline that it's created these half transparent extra frames. It's duplicated this frame without adding more layers to your layer panel. If I press play, now it's going to hold for just a bit at the middle when they meet.