Hand Drawn Animation: Create an Animated Gif in Adobe Photoshop | Isaiah Cardona | Skillshare
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Hand Drawn Animation: Create an Animated Gif in Adobe Photoshop

teacher avatar Isaiah Cardona, Art Director & Motion Designer

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

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.

      Intro

      0:59

    • 2.

      Class Overview

      1:30

    • 3.

      Fundamentals of Animation

      1:09

    • 4.

      Setting Up File

      2:33

    • 5.

      Basics of the Timeline Tool

      8:42

    • 6.

      Frame Animation

      6:03

    • 7.

      Text Animation

      3:10

    • 8.

      Video Layer Animation

      5:53

    • 9.

      Bonus: Adding Color

      1:22

    • 10.

      Exporting

      1:31

    • 11.

      Wrap Up

      1:23

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About This Class

Learn how to easily create a hand drawn animation in Photoshop!

Have you ever wanted to spruce up your website or social with fun, personalized animated gifs? It’s actually pretty simple! In this class, you’ll learn the basics of traditional animation and how to use the video timeline tool in Photoshop to create fun hand drawn animations. This class will be a great first step for anyone who is familiar with photoshop and wants to start learning animation.

What you'll learn:

  • Fundamentals of traditional 2D animation
  • Setting up photoshop file 
  • Basics of the video timeline tool
  • Creating layer frames to animate characters and text
  • Workflow and organization of frames
  • Animating with a video layer
  • Exporting your animation as a video or animated gif

What you'll make:

At the end of the class, you will have created a personalized hand drawn gif that will impress others, as well as some useful skills to create additional personalized animations. 

What you'll need:

  • Adobe Photoshop (free trial of the software program at Adobe.com)
  • Not required but would recommend a drawing tablet or iPad with Apple pencil.

Other Helpful Classes:

This class focuses on animation but if you would like to learn how to design your own character or storyboard your ideas for animation, then check out: 

Character Design: 3 Techniques for Creating Expressive Character Illustrations.

Storyboarding in Procreate: Beginner's Guide to Drawing Storyboards


Additional Animation Classes:

Hungry for more? Check out my other classes, Easy Animation With Procreate: Make Fun Gifs & Videos and Animation in Adobe Photoshop: Create a Social Video to Promote Your Brand!

___________________


Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on 2D Animation.

Meet Your Teacher

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Isaiah Cardona

Art Director & Motion Designer

Teacher

I'm a senior art director based in the United States with several years of experience in the advertising industry. In my work, I solve client problems using various design, illustration, and motion design skills. And I'm known for bringing an energetic and playful style to illustration and animation projects. Outside of work, I enjoy teaching students design and motion skills through Skillshare classes and tutorials on YouTube. If you're interested in exploring new creative skills, then follow me here on Skillshare.

Youtube | Tiktok | Instagram

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Transcripts

1. Intro: Have you ever wanted to animate your drawings or maybe spice up your website or social with some fun animated gifs. If the answer is yes, then this class will be a perfect introduction to animating a character or drawing in Photoshop. Hey, I'm Isaiah Cardona and I'm an art director and motion designer in Kansas City. Over the years, I have found using the hand-drawn animation tools in Photoshop to help bring up fun and energetic energy to my various client projects. In this class, I will walk you through my entire process. We will go through the fundamentals of traditional animation. Learn how to set up your files, used the Video Timeline tool to create animations from scratch and I'll show you how to export your final animation so you can impress your friends on social. I look forward to seeing you in class and can't wait to see what you create. 2. Class Overview: Our class project is to create a hand-drawn animation made up of three elements, including a primary animation, which can be as simple as a character waving or a bouncy doodle, an animate word or phrase and lastly, a fun hand-drawn transition. Our deliverables for this project will be a sketch or key frame, a GIF of your final full animation, and then maybe a sentence or two about your animation. In order to create your animation, we will select the concept for your animation, set up your Photoshop file, sketch each key frame for your character or doodle, draw the in-between frames to complete your primary animation. Then apply frame animation technique to hand-drawn texts, then we'll create a transition effect animation using a video layer and lastly, we will export your animation as a GIF. For this project, you will need Adobe Photoshop. If you don't have Photoshop, you can get a free trial or the software program at adobe.com. Also, a drawing tablet or an iPad with an Apple pencil is recommended for this project, but not required. To get started, feel free to upload a sketch of what you plan to animate through the projects page, and I will see you in the next lesson. 3. Fundamentals of Animation: Welcome back. Traditional animation is an animation technique where each frame is drawn by hand, creating the illusion of movement. A simple way of understanding how animation works is to create a flip book. Each page has a drawing that changes a little from the previous one, and when you view all the pages quickly, it creates animation. Another way to think of the animation process is as a film strip. A strip is made up of multiple frames or images and the speed at which these frames are shown is the frame rate. In traditional animation, one second of time is usually divided into 24 frames. Depending on the animation style, there can be as many as 24 unique drawings in one second or as little as two. In the next lesson, I will show you how to set up your Photoshop file and adjust the frame rate. 4. Setting Up File: In this lesson, we will walk through setting up our Photoshop file. First, let's open up Photoshop to create a new file click, "Create New" button, or go up to File at the top, and then down to New. In the new document dialog box, go to Film Video section, and then down here you can adjust the dimension of the video. A quick breakdown on some of the common video formats and dimensions. The most common dimension is 1920 by 1080 or 16 by 9 widescreen format which is used for traditional videos in YouTube. Then you have 1 by 1 or square format, which is used for a lot of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Giphy. Then with the rise of smartphones and apps like TikTok, the vertical video format has gained popularity and adoption by other social platforms. For this project, I'm going with 1080 by 1080, as it's the standard size for Instagram, and then click "Create". Now let's set up our file for video. Go to Window, then Workspace, and choose Motion. This workspace is designed for doing motion work, and provides helpful tools like brushes. Next, let's add the Video Timeline tool, go back up to Window, but this time go all the way down to Timeline. Next, we'll turn on the Timeline by clicking "Create Video Timeline". If you don't see that button, then click the arrow next to it, and select "Create Video Timeline" and then click the "Update It" button. Now, let's save the file, go to File at the top, and then down to Save. Now add your filename, choose your destination, and then click "Save." Next, let's set our frame rate for our animation by clicking the hamburger button in the top right corner to get the timeline option. Then I'm going to go down in the options, and click "Set Timeline Frame Rate." As discussed in the last lesson, we are going to update our frame rate to 24 frames per second, and then hit, "Okay". Now your file is all set. In the next lesson, I will go over the Timeline tool and the two different methods for creating animation. See you there. 5. Basics of the Timeline Tool: In this lesson, we will walk through the timeline tool and the different methods to create animation. To start out, let's add a video layer to our file by going up to Layer and then down to Video Layers and clicking on the right on new Blank Video Layer. As you see, new layers will always start where the indicator or blue marker is. I'm going to drag the marker to the start of the timeline and then drag the video layer to the start as well. As you can see, I can't see the rest of these layers, so I can go down to the timeline, zoom and zoom out slider and slide it to the left to zoom out to see the full layers. Now I'm going to adjust the duration of the layer by clicking on the end of the layer and dragging to a shorter duration, and then clicking the big mountain to zoom in until I expand the timeline. It's important to call out the differences between normal layers in Photoshop and video layers. As you can see, video layers will have the filmstrip icon. Next, I'm going to add a new layer by clicking on the plus icon at the bottom of the layer's panel. I'm going to set this layer up as a frame, and I'm going to drag the edge of the layer to shorten its duration, then using the timeline slider to zoom out on the timeline. Now, I'm going to drag Frame 1 to the plus icon to duplicate the layer and update it to Frame 2. Next, I'm going to click on Frame 2 and drag it next to Frame 1, which will create a video group. This is a great way to organize frames. Next, I'm going to drag Frame 2 down to the plus icon to duplicate it. Because this is a video group, the duplicated layer will automatically appear behind Frame 2. These three frames will make up our frame animation. Now I'm going to decrease the duration of the frames so they all three fit inside 16 frames. Now that we've set up each method, let's discuss what each method does and how they're different. The first method is layer frame animation, which is when you use multiple staggered layers as frames that create the animation. This method gives you a lot of control as it allows you to customize the duration of a specific frame and allows you to reorder the sequence of your frames. The second method is a video layer, which works like a strip of film, where each frame is a brand new image. It's like multiple layer frames are crammed into one. This technique, I feel, can be tricky to pick up. I would say this is a great technique for stray on animation in animating very simple stock. Now, I'm going to show you how to use the video layer. Clicking on the video layer and then choosing the brush tool, I'm going to start drawing on the first frame of the video layer. Then click the right arrow key to move to the next frame. As you may have noticed, our drawing has disappeared. To help us out, we're going to go to the timeline options and click ''Enable Onion Skins''. Now, we can see a transparent version of the last frame. Onion skins works like tracing paper, allowing us to see a transparent version of the previous or upcoming frames. By going to timeline options and clicking ''Onion Skin Settings'', this allows us to adjust how many frames we are able to see and the transparency settings of those frames. Feel free to customize as you like. Now, back to our drawing. I'm going to move to the next frame and create a line from where the previous frame ended, then move to the next frame and redraw the line, but this time, a little bit further. Then, I'm going to move forward to the next frame and redraw the line longer again. I'm going to move forward again, but this time, I'm going to draw the line shorter on the other side as I want the line to look like it's tapering off. Then, I'm going to move again to the next frame and draw the line shorter again, then move forward and draw a dot. Then I'm going to move forward again, but this time, I won't draw anything as I want the line to look like it disappeared. Now I'm going to adjust the work area, which is an area of frames that can be played back. To do this, I'm going to drag the end of the work area marker to the current frame. If I want to adjust the start of the work area, I can do that by dragging the start marker here. I'm going to drag the end marker back to Frame 16. I decided I want to extend the animation while the line is stretched out as seen here. To do this, I'm going to move the indicator to the frame and then go up to Layer then down to Video Layers. Here we have multiple options including Delete Frame, Insert Blank Frame, and Duplicate Frame, which I'm going to use to duplicate the current frame. As you see now, we have two frames with the same image. Next, I'm going to repeat that step to duplicate frame one more time. Now, I'm going to go to Frame 1 and insert a blank frame, and we'll click the space bar to play my animation. It's helpful to take a break and play back the animation every now and then to see how your animation is progressing. I realize I wanted to extend how long you see the dot at the end so I'm going to go to Layer, Video Layer, then click Duplicate Frame, and then play back the animation again and going to repeat steps, duplicate the frame again. This time, click play button into play animation. I'm happy now with my video layer animation. Now, I'm going to create frame animation. The difference between the video layer and a layer frame is that the video layer is made up of multiple frames while a layer frame is just one frame that you can customize its duration. As you can see, the layer frame drawing doesn't change for the duration of the frame. Drawing only disappears when you move to the second layer frame. Now, I'm going to undo the drawing and draw a quick Hi. Next, I'm going to move the indicator to the next frame and click that layer frame. Once again, I'm going to turn on onion skins so I can see the previous frame to help me redraw the word, Hi. Next, I'm going to move to the next frame and click that layer frame and draw the final Hi. Now I'm going to turn off onion skins so I can see the playback of the animation without seeing the other transparent frames. Now, you have a basic understanding of both methods. I typically use layer frame animation the most, especially for animating detailed illustrations or for animations that will have long holds. Video layer animation is great for constantly moving elements like this moving line animation, or when you're wanting to create a GUI, or a liquid animation effect, which I will show you later in this class. In the next lesson, we will create the primary animation for our project using frame animation. See you then. 6. Frame Animation: In this exercise, I will show you how to animate your primary animation using frame animation. To do that, we will first draw keyframes, which will be the beginning, middle, and endpoints of the animation, and then we'll go in and add the in-between frames that will fill out the animation between the key points in the movement. Depending on your comfort level with the animation methods for drawing, feel free to simplify your subject. A stick figure or a simple doodle may be more fun to start out with while you're learning those skills. To start out, we will click on our layer frame and click the "Brush tool" icon or tap the hotkey "B", and begin drawing our main subject. It's important to remember to just have fun while you're drawing and not worry about perfection. Oftentimes, the imperfections or roughness of drawings actually adds more character to the final animation. I start drawing my character by sketching out the face and hair. Next, I will click the "Eraser" icon to use the eraser to remove the top of the head, which will be hidden behind his hair, and then I'll just go back over the line work, and then I go to his neck and continue drawing the rest of his body, and then each of his arms. Next, I draw his shorts and legs and draw his shoes. Here, I click the "Undo" button, and then redraw the line, then I go up to the sleeves and draw the hands. Now that my first keyframe is done, I'm going to drag it to the plus icon to duplicate it and drag it next to the first frame, which will create a video group which I'm going to call Keyframes for now. Next, I'm going to erase part of the arm and redraw it in a new position in the middle of movement, then I'll repeat steps to duplicate the frame again to create the final keyframe by redrawing the arm in an upward position. Depending on how complex your animation is, you may end up doing more or less keyframes. Now, I'm just scrolling through the timeline to review the movement of the arm. Next, I'm going to start creating the in-between frames that will fill in the gaps of the motion. To do that, I will drag the first frame to the plus icon to duplicate it. The goal for a in-between frame is to create a drawing that captures the movement between different key frames. Depending on the complexity of your animation, you may need multiple in-between frames. As with before, I will use the eraser to remove the original arm, and then I'll go in and redraw it in a new position showing the new movement, and to help me draw my in-between frame, I'm going to edit the Onion Skin option, so I can see both keyframes. To do this, I'm going to increase the frames I can see before and after my current frame. Now that I can see both frames, I can draw my new arm position. Next, I'm going to repeat my steps with the middle keyframe to create a new in-between frame. Typically, when someone waves their hand, it moves back and forth while it's up, so I'm going to duplicate the last keyframe to add a new frame where the arm is closer to the head creating the waving motion. Since this is tighter movement, it's going to look like it's moving faster when played back. I don't want that, so I'm going to extend the duration of each of these two frames by one. I don't want to end my animation with his hands stuck in the air, so I'm going to duplicate the previous frames and order them in reverse order, so his arm goes back down to his side. I want to play back everything to review the animation, so I'm going to use the timeline menu and click "Work Area", and then click "Set End at Playhead" to move the end of the work area to the end of my last frame, then I will play back the animation to see how everything looks. Next, I'm going to add a link to my character animation. First, I'll select the frame I want to start the wink animation on, and using the eraser tool, I'm going to erase his eye and redraw it close now. To help me draw it, I'm going to turn on Onion Skin. Next, I'm going to click on the following frame and redraw the eye being closed. I'm showing the eyes closed on two frames, so the blink isn't too short that people don't notice it. Now, I'll turn off Onion Skins and play back my final animation. In the next lesson, we will apply this technique to a word or phrase. See you then. 7. Text Animation: In this lesson, we'll apply the frame animation technique to hand-drawn texts. This is an easy way to add some animation to hand-lettering projects in the same file that we used in the last lesson, we'll create a new layer frame. I'm going to create a new layer and use the scissors icon to split the layer at two frames long, and then we'll delete the rest. I want the text to be white and the background to be black. I'm going to duplicate the bottom layer and fill it with the color black. Now I'm going to click the brush icon and change the color to white, then start outlining my word. I like to draw the outline and my text first and then go in and fill out each letter. Next, I'm going to create a new layer that will drag inline with the previous frame and make it the same duration at this first stream. This video group will contain all the frames for my texts animation. Now I'm going to turn on onion skins. As you can see, I can't see anything. To fix that, I'm going to adjust the onion skin settings. I'll do that by going to the blend mode and changing it to screen, so I can see on a dark background, and then I will click “Ok” and repeating the previous steps, I will draw my second Hi. Now, I'm going to drag the start of the work area marker to the first text frame. Next, I'm going to duplicate the frames multiple times, so my animation is longer. I will use the timeline menu to set the end of my work area. Now I will turn off onion skins and click the “Play button”. I've noticed that my text isn't centered. I'm going to click on the “Text video group” and click the “Move tool” and then drag my word to the center. Then I'll hit the “Play button” to watch the animation. In the next exercise, we will create a fun transition using a video layer. See you then. 8. Video Layer Animation: In this exercise, I will walk us through creating a GUI transition using a video layer, and we will finalize our final animation. In the same files the previous lesson, I will set it up so that the text group begins close to the three second mark and have a space in between the character and texts animation for my transition effect. To start out, go to Video Layers, and then click "New Blank Layer". Starting on the second frame, the deal layer, I will use the Brush tool to draw the first edges of my transition. Then I'll click on the "Paint Bucket Tool" to fill in the shapes with black. Then I only use the right arrow key to move forward one frame and I'll draw the edges a little further inwards. Next I'm going to go where I want the transition to end and fill the frame with black. Drawing the beginning and ending frames can help with filling out the transition evenly. Once all in-between frames have been drawn out, I'll scrub through the timeline to review the animation. I want the end of the transition to last for 13 seconds. So I go to the last frame and I click "Video Layers" and then click on "Duplicate Frame". I'll repeat those steps until I have 12 frames are duplicated. Then I'll play back the animation. After reviewing, I noticed a couple of frames are off, so I'll delete a frame and insert a new blank frame to redraw the previous frame to better align with the nearby frames. Now, I'm going to realign the other elements to finalize my full animation. The goal is to have the transition go over the character animation and have the text animation play over the black background, and then have a second transition to bring us back to the start of our animation, so we have a seamless looping GIF. First, I'm going to expand the work area. Next, I'm going to expand the last frame of the character animation. Now, I'm going to drag the video layer so the transition covers up the character animation. Next, I'll move the frame indicator to the point when the transition is complete. I'll drag the text animation group to that point as I want the text to appear immediately after the background has transitioned to black. Now, I've realized that my solid black layer was showing up, so I drag it over and then review the transition animation again to find that point where it becomes full black, and then I'll drag the text video group and my black layer over to that point. Next, I'll duplicate the transition layer and drag it above the text video group and rename it white transition and the original one black transition. Labeling layers and video groups will help you keep track and find all your different elements later. Next, I'm going to drag the white transition layer. I decide to move it around and I end up having it at the 2 second and 15 frame mark in the timeline. Now, to turn the duplicate layer white, I'm going to create a new layer as fill white and I'll add a clipping mask to it to the below video layer. Next, I'm going to duplicate my last frame of the character animation and drag it to the top of all the layers. Last step is to play back my file animation to make sure I'm happy with it. Congratulations on completing your full animation. You did it. In the next lesson, I will show you how to add color to our animations. See you then. 9. Bonus: Adding Color: As a bonus, I'm going to show you how to add color to your animation. This is an optional step for your projects, so this isn't something that you have to do, but I think it's a fun way to just elevate your animation a step further. Just like with filling in my transition animation, the last lesson, I will use the fill bucket to go in and fill in different areas with color. First, I click the "Bucket" icon and then I select the color that I want and click in all the areas that I want my color to be. Then I'll pick a dark brown color for my swatches to fill in the hair. Then I will choose a dark blue color to fill in my pants. Next, I'll select an orange color to fill in my shirt and sleeves. Lastly, I'll select "Black" and fill in the shoes. Next I'm going to select the tool brush and thicken up some lines and add in some additional linework. That's it. In the next lesson, I will show you how to export your animation. 10. Exporting: In this lesson, I will show you how to export your animation as a GIF in the video. To start out, we will export a GIF by going to File, Export, and then clicking Save for Web. A dialog box will pop up. If you plan to have a transparent GIF, you will want to go to Matte and then choose None. It's good to double-check that we have the right dimensions here. Also check Looping options we want forever, so, it continues looping constantly, and then we click "Save". In this pop-up confirm name, destination, and then click "Save". If you're using an older version of Photoshop, Save for Web will be in the main file menu near the other save options as shown here. To export a video, you can do so by going to the timeline options and go into the bottom and clicking render video. You can also go to File, Export, and then down to Render video. Now confirm name and destination, and then click "Render". Congratulations. You just exported your first animation. Now go and upload it to the project section to share with the other students, and I'll see you in the final lesson. 11. Wrap Up: Congratulations on finishing this course. I really appreciate you taking the time, to take my class. I hope you are feeling inspired to make more fun animations using the frame animation and video layer methods you learned in Photoshop. The goal of this class was to give you a wide range of animation experience, by having you create a primary animation, animate hand-drawn texts, and create a transition effect. With that experience, you can now apply what you've learned to so many different projects. I'm very excited to see what you created so be sure to post your work to the project section of this class. You can also find more of my work over on Instagram @isaiahcardonakc. If you're posting on there, feel free to tag me in your posts, or use #Isaiahcardona, so I can also see it. If you would like more projects to help you learn motion graphics, then follow me on Skillshare as I'll be posting new classes soon. Thanks again for taking this class. I really appreciate you taking the time to learn the skills with me, and I hope to see you in a future class soon. Bye for now.