Easy Animation: Make Fun, Cute GIFs For Your Instagram | Scott Martin | Skillshare

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Easy Animation: Make Fun, Cute GIFs For Your Instagram

teacher avatar Scott Martin, Illustrator / Burnt Toast

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.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      First Animation: Hand Washing


    • 4.

      Second Animation: Toilet Paper


    • 5.

      Third Animation: Doomscrolling


    • 6.

      Exporting and Uploading to Giphy


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Want a fun, simple new way to express yourself on your social media? Want to expand your following and learn a brand new skill? Sticker packs are the way to go!

Ever find yourself unable to find the perfect gif for your Insta story? Now you can create your own! Join artist and animator Scott Martin of Burnt Toast Creative to create a unique, fun sticker pack of gifs that you can use — and so can everyone else! Scott’s iconic, bright style is perfectly suited to the internet, especially social media. Through trial and error, Scott has figured out which animations are best suited to Instagram’s ephemeral ecosystem. Now, Scott’s sharing his knowledge with you!

In this charming and comprehensive class, Scott walks you through three core animation principles, helping you understand them and create them yourself without the overwhelming time commitment of more elaborate animation. Alongside Scott, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop a sticker pack concept
  • Adapt your sketches and illustrations to animations
  • Use keyframes to create movement and life
  • Trick the eye with smear frames and other effects
  • Upload to Giphy and use your stickers on Instagram

By the end of the class, you’ll be able to create Instagram stickers to your heart’s content, and simply animate your illustrations just for the fun of it. 

While anyone can enjoy this class, it is designed specifically for illustrators and animation beginners who are comfortable with the basics of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe After Effects.

Meet Your Teacher

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Scott Martin

Illustrator / Burnt Toast


Burnt Toast is the working alias for Scott Martin, a Canadian–based freelance artist, illustrator, and co-founder of the NFT art collection Doodles. Scott’s exuberant but technically impeccable style is widely respected, and he has become an internationally known artist and freelance commercial illustrator. His art and his design process have been featured in numerous publications and campaigns worldwide, with a roster of clients that includes Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Red Bull.

Along with two cofounders, in 2021 Scott launched an art collection called Doodles, made up of 10,000 NFTs which sold out in minutes. The Doodles series includes colorful pastel-hued characters with whimsical and joyful expressions. 


The ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I think the benefits to sticker packs are how much visibility they bring to your work, and I think it's cool to help people emphasize what they're trying to say. Hey, what's going on? I'm Scott, also known as Burnt Toast. I'm an animator, illustrator, designer, and now muralist. I love everything about what I do. I am lucky enough to have my work seen by people all around the world. Brands use my illustrations as their voice. Today, we're going to show you how to make an animated sticker pack for social media. The reason I want to show you how to make a sticker pack is because it doesn't only show you how to make the fundamentals of animation, but they're far-reaching. These stickers will be available to anyone who wants to find them long after you've moved onto your next project. So the steps in this class, we're going to take sketches from our sketch book, clean them up in Photoshop a bit, move them to Adobe Illustrator, prepare them for animation, animate in Adobe After Effects, and then output and upload to gifty.com. This is a great entry-level class for people who have up until now been intimidated by the animation process. These are simple, beginner level techniques that anyone can accomplish. You basically set one key at the beginning of the timeline, move down the timelines, set another keyframe, and the computer will basically draw everything in between. All you'll need for today's class is Adobe Creative Suite, specifically After Effects, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Thank you so much for joining me. I can't wait to get started. 2. Getting Started: The first thing we want to do is develop some sketches for a sticker pack. I think the purpose of a sticker pack is relatability. If it's relatable, people are more inclined to use it, it's more inclined to come up. I would suggest thinking of a theme, having the sticker pack, I'll follow that. I find giving yourself limitations like a theme, make it easier to come up with concepts. The theme for the sticker pack that I'm going to show you today is COVID. I think the idea of stickers is never very serious. There's something that you actually slap on top of images of your daily life. So it's better if they're light-hearted. I think bringing a light-hearted nature to something that's quite grim is a plus. I've drawn my sketches based on my list. I brought them into Photoshop and I've just quickly added some arrows to indicate the motion that I want to add to them. The motion we're after today isn't these full storylines of animation, it's just simple, 15-30 frame loops with minimal motion. For example, this thumb on this phone will be flicking, this hand with a bar of soap will be passing back and forth. I think less is more with gif animation. From here, I'm going to take these concepts, bring them to Adobe Illustrator and trace them, and prep them. With the selection tool, just quickly copy it, open Illustrator, create a new document. We want our settings to be 720 pixels squared, color mode RGB, and hit "Create." Then we will just paste from Photoshop directly in, scale it up to fill the artboard. Turn the opacity down on that layer, lock it, create a new layer, and trace on top of that. 3. First Animation: Hand Washing: Once you've created your new file in Adobe Illustrator, we're going to paste the sketch from Photoshop onto the artboard. Turn the opacity down on the sketch, lock that layer, just name it sketch. Always name your layers. Create a new layer, and quickly trace our artwork. We have our hand, we're going to name that hand with soap. As we're making our design, we want to consider which parts of the animation will be moving independently from the others and move them onto their own layer. The hand with the soap will be on its own layer. We'll have the bubbles that will be underneath the animation on another layer. We'll name that bubbles. We'll just draw them quickly. Once they're drawn, we'll put them underneath the hand. Then we will want to delete the sketch layer and the reference layer that I have here. I might add some extra bubbles on top of the soap as part of the hand and the soap. Then save this off and we'll move to Adobe After Effects. Just a quick rundown. This here is your preview area, this is where all of your files and footage will live, and this is your timeline down here. We want to make a new composition. For this one, we will make it 24 frames per second and 28 frames, so just over a second long. It's a very short looping animation. To bring our footage in, you double-click on the area where your files live through the project folder, bring in our Illustrator file. We want this to be a composition. We want to maintain document size. I hit "Okay." Now you'll see our two layers, hand with soap and bubbles. We're going to drag those down into our timeline, and we want to make sure the hand with soap layer is above bubbles. Now that we have our two illustrator layers in After Effects, we're going to start animating. The way we do this is by clicking on a small dropdown menu and then another dropdown on "Transform," and you'll see here all of our properties. If you just play with these, you can see that Rotation spins, Opacity, there's Scale, Position. But for this first animation, we're just going to animate the position. So just hit P and that will give us only the position. If you note this little stopwatch next to the position, you click that and a keyframe will show up on our timeline. If you move down the timeline and adjust the position, the stopwatch is activated so it automatically creates another keyframe. All of a sudden, we're moving. For this animation, we're going to want to start on the bottom here. Then we'll go to the halfway mark, which is 14 frames you can see here, and pull back to the other side of our animation. Don't go outside of the window because it'll be cropped. Just go almost to the edge and then we'll go to the end of the animation and we can actually copy paste the beginning key to the end. My definition of a successful loop is ending on the exact same frame that the animation started on. That's a seamless loop. We have this motion. It's okay. It is moving, but it's lifeless. It doesn't have any anticipation, it doesn't have any weight to it. What we quickly want to do is draw a box around all three keyframes, right-click right on the keyframe, "Keyframe Assistant," "Easy Ease." What this does is develops timing curves for the animation. If you click this little graph editor here, you'll see our timing curves. How they work is the more horizontal the line, the slower the animation; the steeper the line, the faster the animation. We're going to grab these Bezier handles, drag them out so it starts quickly and then slows down. We'll do it for both directions. You can use the grid that's behind the graph editor to try and make them as even as you can. If you remember our animation before and compare it to now, it has this life to it. It slows, it speeds up. Think we might want to speed this whole animation up just a little bit. It's alive. This technique was animating the property information like position, rotation, opacity, things like that. Next technique I'm going to show you, we're going to be creating shapes from our Illustrator files where we're actually able to manipulate the points and change the shape again on the timeline. 4. Second Animation: Toilet Paper: I'm animating this toilet paper from our original set. The idea is to have the loose piece of toilet paper pulled down, and the face is in turn pulled up. In preparation for this, I've done the same process that we did with the soap. I have the face on its own layer, the scene on its own layer, the roll, and then the bit of leaflet or paper at the bottom. I will open After Effects again. Double-click here, open our file, composition, document size. Another new composition, this one's going to be a little shorter, maybe 15 frames. Bring our layers in. We just want to organize these again in terms of hierarchy that the face on top, the seam underneath, the roll, and then the paper. What I would start with is the pulling down of the paper. The key part of this lesson is converting our Illustrator layers to functioning shape layers that are inherent in After Effects. We'll right-click on the paper layer, go to Create, Create Shapes from Vector Layer. Now we have an actual shape layer that we can select points on and animate them independently. Drop-down here, and now instead of just Transform, you will see Contents. Open that, go to Group and path is what we're looking for. Click on Path, click the stopwatch to activate the key frame. We'll move to the middle of our animation. Grab just the points. There's points at the top here. We're not going to grab those. We're just going to click that, hold shift, grab the rest, and pull them down. You'll see that our shape is now being modified on the fly. Like before, copy paste our original key frame to the end of the animation, and we have this. What I would do next is probably the face going up. It's going to move opposite to the piece being pulled down. Beginning position, we'll have it quite low, and make the properties, go to the middle. Pull that up. Then copy paste its key frame again, and then we have this sort. If your cursor is right on top of the key frame, then you make adjustments, it will honor that. But if you're just either side of that key frame and you do that, then it's going to automatically create a key frame. Just make sure that you're on top of your key frame if you want to make adjustments. I'm going to go to the beginning position. I'm going to link using this little spiral shape. It's called a pick whip. If we click, hold, and drag to whatever, it'll be linked to that. I've just linked it to the face, so now it goes off the roll but it's linked to the position of the face. That's working but we don't want it to go off like that. So on it's last frame, we're going to select the seam layer, hit option, square [inaudible] , and that'll actually cut the layer in the timeline. We'll cut it right there, so now it goes off like that. We're going to duplicate the layer by hitting command D, and we'll have it come back in at the end. Then we link the piece of paper, and the face to our roll. Now that everything's linked to the roll, we're going to animate it to give the whole thing some animation. We'll set our first position there, and then in the middle of the animation, we'll bring it down. Then we'll copy paste this on top again. Select everything, right-click, Easy Ease, and we have another animation. In the next lesson, we're going to use these two techniques and add a third one, which is masking. 5. Third Animation: Doomscrolling: The next design I'm going to show you is this fake news, a hand with phone. The idea here is that the thumb is scrolling through fake news. We're going to have the thumb in maybe three positions flicking up, and then we want to have the actual information of the phone, leave the top of the phone and be replaced by more information from the bottom. The way we're going to do this is just like before, illustrate each of your layers on separate layers, make sure they're named thumb, our fake news layer, and our wrist and phone on the bottom. The last step to preparing this illustration for after effects is adding a mask layer. It doesn't matter what color it is, this is just for reference. This needs to be on its own layer and you'll see why in a second. So open after effects again, this time bring in our fake news file, new composition, 720 by 720, 24 frames per second will go 15 frames again. Drag your layers down to the timeline, organize them just like before. We're going to keep mask right above fake news and for now and just turn it off. We're just going to quickly set up our animation. We're going to do the overall motion of the piece and then have the thumb flicking, and then we'll do the fake news part lasts. I'm actually going to turn the fake news off for now too. Link everything including the mask, just like before using this pick whip, it's called to the phone. If you think about how your phone moves when you're scrolling, it goes down. We want this to be exaggerated, so we're going to come down and flick with the thumb up like this. So we're going to go down, flick up and then settle and that will be leap. Everything's linked to the rest. I'll open the position, properties, set a keyframe at the beginning, maybe go three frames forward, bring it down. Then we're going to move forward to five frames, go past its original position, and then maybe nine frames, will copy-paste the keyframe from the beginning and see how that works. The next thing we want to do is the thumb flicking. So just like before, right-click on the layer, create shapes from vector layer. What this does is create a new type of layer based on the information from this Illustrator layer so you can delete that, we don't need that anymore, and let's animate the thumb flicking really quickly. We want the knuckle to crawl down and then flick up. So drop-down the path, click on our stopwatch. Move this keyframe to the beginning and start animating just really roughly. It's such a short animation and it doesn't have to be that perfect. As the phone goes down, have the thumb crawl down, and then as the thumb goes up, we want to really have a quick flick of the thumb there. We're going to do a frame here and a frame here. Let's start with this one. We can probably copy-paste our original position to there. So the thumb goes down, back up, and then here, we want to go quite extended. You can see it implies that motion, it's just two frames, but also we have this flicking motion just like we wanted and we all want it to rest back in its original position. So I'll just copy-paste the initial keyframe to the end, just like before and now we have this flicking animation. I'm going to turn fake news back on. The idea here is to have it shoot off the screen and be replaced by the same frame underneath. What I want to do is duplicate this layer, command D. Turn off the one. We'll set its keyframe just before the thumb flex up. So right here, we'll set its position. Then as the thumb shoots up, we want this to go right off of the phone. Now turn on the duplicate of this layer and right in this position, link it to the original fake news layer, so you can see it's replaced by that. Now that you have these two fake news layer, is doing what they're supposed to. We're going to collapse them into one layer by hitting command C, it makes them behave like a single layer rather than two. We will have to relink that to the phone and then we'll turn our mask layer back on. Put the mask above fake news, click Track Matte, and say Alpha matte and that will automatically hide the mask layer and anything that happens outside of it. It only affects the layer underneath it. Now we have work in emission. From here, we're going to render these out in full-size, quick-time files and then convert them to doc GIF format using Photoshop. 6. Exporting and Uploading to Giphy: Now, that we've learned how to animate our illustrations, I'm going to show you how to output them and convert them to GIFs. This is another one from the set. This one's even simpler than before. All I did was draw the flame one time and then duplicated the layer twice and just moved the points of the flame around a little bit and gave them each two frames and just jumped from one to the other. It's very simple. They're all linked to the dumpster and it has a little rotation animation on it. But this is as simple as it gets. Just very quickly, I want to explain what an alpha channel is. You can see right here, this is our end result. The background color doesn't matter because if you click here, this will show you what our alpha channel looks like. The black represents what is completely transparent and the white represents what's completely opaque. Now, we will go to our render queue by hitting Control, Command N, you'll see it show up here. We want to change the settings of our output module. Click on "Lossless" and you'll see where it says RGB. You want to drop down on that and say RGB plus alpha. It actually outputs that alpha transparency information that I showed you earlier. I think everything else in those settings should be fine. Click "Time", "Animation", "Codec". You can turn audio off if you want, and more under that. Now that we've rendered that, we'll take that same file, drag it right to Photoshop. Go File, Export, Save for web. We want to do, GIF file here. I like to set this matte color the same color as whatever the outline of your design is. Noise transparency dither is good. Very important, make sure looping options is set to forever and hit "Save". Now we have our GIFs. The next thing we want to do is go to giphy.com. You're going to have to create an account. Then once your account is created, you have to apply for what's called an artist account. You just go to these three dots here, click "Support", and then go to Create artists account. That takes as long as 24 hours, for a [inaudible] it can be much quicker than that. Then we'll go to the Upload page and drag your GIF right to the page. You'll see it show up here. We're going to enter some hashtags. I think maybe four or five. You don't want to have too many, but try to make them as relevant and as searchable as you can, meaning things that people would come across easily like dumpster fire, 2020, maybe COVID-19. Then I like to add one unique hashtags so that when you search for that, you'll find your entire sticker pack. I'll do maybe burnttoast, without a space. Then always set your rating to G. If you set it any higher than that, it won't show up on Instagram or any other of the social platforms. Always rate it G, even if it's not. Then just hit upload to Giphy. You're live. Now that we have uploaded these to Giphy, there is a small wait period. It can be upwards of a day as well. For me, it's typically just a few hours. You open Instagram, we'll go to stories, hit stickers and search burnttoast with no space and there they all are. That's all there is to it. Your sticker pack is available on Instagram. 7. Final Thoughts: Cool. That's it. Your stickers are now available by searching your own specific hashtags. I hope you found some of these tips helpful and maybe gained some confidence in After Effects. I wanted to remind you that this is only a small corner of what these programs are capable of, so keep practicing, do your research experiment, and please share whatever you come up with in the projects' gallery, so I can see it. I'm assuming if you're taking this class, you already have some knowledge in Adobe Illustrator, but if you'd like to learn more about how to actually illustrate using the pen tool, check out my other class on Skillshare.