Hand Lettered GIFs | Jamie Bartlett | Skillshare

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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.

      What You'll Need


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Prepping in Photoshop


    • 4.

      Aligning the Tracings


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Cleaning Up


    • 7.

      Color and Animation


    • 8.

      Exporting GIFs and Videos


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About This Class

In this class we're going to be making a fun doodle-styled lettered gif that you can send to a friend or post on Instagram. The process is super quick, easy and fun! No need to be an advanced letterer, even simple handwriting can create an awesome gif. 

I can’t wait to see what you guys create.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jamie Bartlett

Graphic designer and left-handed letterer


Jamie Bartlett is a graphic designer and left-handed letterer working out of Denver, CO. She graduated from John Brown University with a degree in Graphic Design and now runs a shop for her hand lettered designs and fonts. Her work reflects everything she loves in life: a good cup of coffee, nerdy design terms, tandem bikes, road trips, and so much more.

Check out all Jamie's classes to learn her tricks of the trade. 

To see what she's up to now, follow her on Instagram and Dribbble.


  &... See full profile

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1. What You'll Need: Hi guys, I'm Jamie Bartlett. In this class, we're going to make some fun doodle style lettering gifts. It's super quick and easy to do. I'm going to show you every step along the way. For the class project, you can write a fun message to send to a friend. Let's jump right in. For this class you're going to need some paper, a drawing utensil like some pencils, pens, brush pens, markers, anything you want, and then also some tracing paper. First you need to sketch out your letter. For this class it's going to do more of a doodley-style lettering, so you don't have to spend too much time on it. It can be something quick, messy, anything fun, and just remember as you're sketching, try not to do it too small. The bigger it is, the cleaner the end look is going to be. If it's too small, once it gets blown up, it's going to look pretty messy. 2. Tracing: Here's what I did for my sketch. Before we start tracing our drawing, we're going to put four dots, one in each corner of our drawing. This is going to help us line up all of our drawings, once we have them traced inside Photoshop. They don't have to be a perfect square or in any specific location just four dots in each corner, and now we're ready to trace. The first thing we want to trace is those four dots. Once we have that, we can go ahead and trace all of our lettering. I want my design to be more solid than something with a lot of texture. So I'm going to trace mine using a pen. You can use pencil, you can use marker, whatever effect you want. We just want to make sure it's pretty dark, otherwise, it's going to be hard for it to show up once we get into Photoshop. I finished my first tracing. Now I just need to do this four more times for a total of five tracings. It's good to do about three to five tracings. Here are my five tracings and now I need to scan them into the computer. If you don't have a scanner, you can use your smartphone to take a photo of them. Just make sure to take a photo of each of your drawings individually, and in direct light. So there's not any shadows on your tracings. Then we can go into Photoshop. 3. Prepping in Photoshop: So this is my scan I have opened up in Photoshop. The first thing we need to do is separate each tracing into its own layer. So go to your rectangle Marquee tool and put a box around your first sketch. Then you're going to press command J on the keyboard then that duplicates that selection into its own layer. Then make sure your main sketch is selected again, and do the same thing for each tracing. Once you have all those duplicated, you can turn off your background layer and then rotate all of these. Up here in the top toolbar I have the auto select layer option checked. So I can just click on each layer and rotate it without having to go into the layers palette and select the layer. Then once you have them all rotated, select all five tracings, align them vertically and horizontally. 4. Aligning the Tracings: Now, we need to line up all of our tracings, and that's where these four dots come in handy. We're going to select the top four layers and change the blending mode to difference, and we'll do one sketch at a time. We'll start with layer four. Let's zoom in. The way this blending mode is working is everything that's the same between these two layers is black and everything that's different is white. We want the whole thing to be lined up in black. We'll start by lining up these two dots, then we're going to rotate our tracing by repositioning the anchor point to that circle and then rotating it until we think it's close and then nudge it around until it mostly lines up. Remember, we don't need to line up perfectly because that's the point of tracing it multiple times, and it'll just look better in the animation at the end. If you didn't have a scanner and you ended up using your smartphone to take photos of each of your sketches, the perspective might be off a little bit, so that's easy to change. All you need to do is transform the layer you're lining up by pressing command T on the keyboard and then a right-clicking and go to distort. This way, you can move any of the corners. You can move that to line up with that dot, that dot and so on, and that will correct the perspective. Otherwise, if you scanned it, everything's flat and at the same perspective, so you don't need to worry about that, and we'll just do this for the rest. Let's go ahead and lock our fifth layer so we don't accidentally grab that. This one's looking pretty close already, and that looks good for that one, and we'll keep going. As you can see when I'm moving this around, it's snapping to the layers. If I want to disable that, I can hold down control and I can move it freely. There we go. Now, we can unlock our last layer, select them all again, and change the blending mode back to normal. 5. Adjustments: Now that we have all of our layers lined up, we need to crop our document to be the size that we want it to be. A good size for a GIF is about 800 pixels by 600 pixels. That's what I want mine to be. I'm going to go to the crop tool and change the ratio to a width by height resolution, 800 pixels by 600 pixels, and 72 DPI. Let's zoom out. You can do that by pressing command minus on the keyboard and then we'll just go ahead and scale it down. It's okay if there's extra room around the frame right here, we can fill that in later. Press Enter and that looks pretty good. Let's start by filling in that white background. Turn on our background layer and fill that with white, making sure that white is the background color on the left here and press command Delete. Now, we want to add a curves adjustment layer on the very top, so that the white paper is pure white and we can dark in the lettering to be more black. Go down here to your adjustment layers. Find curves and let's bring that all the way to the top of our layers palette. Grab your white eye dropper tool and click on the white part of your tracing. You can still see there's a little bit of gray and paper texture. If you hold down option, you can see anything that's not pure white. I'm going to click here and that helps a lot. That looks pretty good. Then I'm going to take my black eye dropper tool, and click on the dark part of my tracing. That makes it pretty dark. If I want, I can even manually adjust some of this and make it a little bit darker. 6. Cleaning Up: Now I need to remove the four dots on each of my tracings. I'm going to press E on the keyboard to switch the Eraser tool, make sure my first layer is selected and then just start erasing, bring off my first switch to my second, and the reason why the dots aren't disappearing is because once I erase one layer, you start to see the next dot on the layer below it. If you see any smudges or grunge that shows up, feel free to go ahead and erase that as well. Turn all your layers back on, and I see some spots right there. So that's on my second layer, so I'm going to erase that as well. All right, that looks good. 7. Color and Animation: Now we want to set my colors. Since this, is pretty much pure black and pure white, I can easily adjust the colors using a gradient map. You can find gradient map right here. Click on that, put it up the top of your layer palette. Whatever you want the black color to be, you can set that here. Whatever you want the white color to be, you set that here. We're going to click on the black. I'm going to pick some do like a pink color. I'm just going to leave my background white. Click Okay. Now we can add the animation, go up to window timeline. You're going to want to press Create Frame Animation. But if yours says create video timeline, just click on the down arrow and change it to frame animation. Then click the button. Down here in our timeline, this is the first frame of our animation. However are layers are set inner layers palette, that's what's going to be displayed in this first frame. This is what I want for the first frame. I just need to come down here where it says zero seconds and set it to 0.2 seconds. That's the duration of the frame. Then click on New Frame and turn off the first layer and do the same thing for every tracing. Then right here it says wants, but we want to change it to forever. That's how we get it to loop forever. Now all I have to do is press the Play button and we can preview the animation. That's pretty fun. If you notice right here, there's little blocks that I need to remove. I'll hit stop, and that's in-frame two. That's my second layer. If I click on that, switched my eraser tool, I can erase that. I noticed there was another blocks somewhere right up here that's on my fourth layer. I think that was the only thing. Alright, let's preview it again. Looks good. That's all we have to do for the animation. Now we just need to save it as a GIF. 8. Exporting GIFs and Videos: I'm working in Photoshop CC 2015, and Adobe move the safe for a web feature to a different location. I used to be right under Save As. So if you're using an older version of Photoshop, that's where you'll need to go. If you're in the same version as me, go to Export, and Save for Web. Then we'll switch the Preset to the top one, and take a look down here in our file size, which is super tiny, so that's good. Double-check down here and make sure the Looping Options is set to Forever, and then you can click ''Save''. I'm going to name mine tacos, put it on my Desktop. The best way to double-check and make sure your GIF is working, is to open it in a browser. I saved mine on my Desktop. You just need to drag your GIF into your browser, and there you go, it's working. Now if you wanted to post this to Instagram, Instagram doesn't support GIFs. So we need to export a video file. So go back to Photoshop, and one thing Instagram requires is that your video needs to be at least five seconds. So we're going to have to make ours five seconds. Since each frame is 0.2 seconds, we need at least 25 frames. I'm going to select all of my frames, by clicking on the first one, and then holding Shift and clicking on the last frame, I have all my frames selected. Then go back to your first frame and hold down option, and then click and drag until you see this little line show up, and then let go. Now we have 10 frames. Now let's select all 10 frames, and do the same thing. Now if I do these 10 frames one more time, we'll have more than 25 frames, so we'll be good. Just to make sure it works, let's press ''Play'' and preview it. You can see them going through the frames, and it looks good. Now we need to go up to File, Export, and then down to Render Video, and this probably is going to take a second to load. I am going to change my name to tacos, and then I'm going to put it on the Desktop, and all of these settings can be left the way that they are. Now we can just press ''Render'', and let it do its thing. That's it. Now if we look on the Desktop, we can preview that, and that's ready for Instagram. My favorite way to get this to my phone is just by placing the file on Dropbox. That's it, guys. I can't wait to see all of the fun GIFs you create. If you do share any on Instagram, feel free to tag me @apairofpairs. Thanks for taking my class. I'd love it if you left me your review, and as always, don't hesitate to ask me any questions. See you next time.