iPad Art: Make Fun GIFs in Procreate | Nic Squirrell | Skillshare

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iPad Art: Make Fun GIFs in Procreate

teacher avatar Nic Squirrell, Artist and 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.

      About this Class


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Animating Existing Art


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Selective Movement


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Flipbook Style


    • 8.

      Mix it Up


    • 9.

      Uploading to IG


    • 10.

      Project & Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Animated GIFs are really popular, and are now easy and lots of fun to make in Procreate on your iPad.  

In this class we will be looking at different ways of creating GIFs which are very effective whether you’re drawing something new or animating your existing art.  

We will also be using some of the other new features in Procreate, including resizing the canvas, liquify, text and isolation mode.

If you are brand new to Procreate, you might like to take my class : iPad Art: Create a Monster - An Introduction to Procreate first.

I have put the Gifs I made in this class on Giphy, so you can use them as free stickers in your Instagram Stories by typing nicsquirrell in the search bar. Yay! 

Do feel free to share your work on social media with the hashtag #nicsquirrellskillshare. I do share some of them in my Instagram Stories.

Nice reviews are always very welcome, your feedback makes a difference and means a lot to me.   :)

Follow me here on Skillshare to be kept up to date with my new classes and discussions.


Procreate by Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

GifVid - GIF to Video Converter by Christopher Collins

Music: Love Dizzy by Jeris (c) copyright 2011 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/VJ_Memes/31654 Ft: musetta

Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on Procreate.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nic Squirrell

Artist and illustrator

Top Teacher


I am an artist and designer of fun things living in Kent, England.

I studied Creative Visual Art and 3D Design at the University of Greenwich and loved every minute of it.

My illustrations are on many products from prints to suitcases and everything in between.

I love drawing and painting on my iPad as well as using traditional media, particularly watercolour.

If anything stays still long enough, I will draw on it.

Quirky animals, dreamy landscapes and watercolor florals are my speciality.

Follow me below to see what else I'm up to!


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Level: Intermediate

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1. About this Class: Hello, I'm Nick. I'm an artist and illustrator. I've been having lots of unmaking GIFs in Procreate, and in this class I'm going to show you some different ways of making them. Simple gifs are hugely popular, and really easy to create. We'll be looking at a number of different methods where gifs can combine, and make all sorts of fun animations. That sounds good, landscape style tags. 2. Movement: First of all, is it GIF or is it JIF? Well, I've always said GIF, but it turns out the man who invented them prefers JIF. I hope you'll foGIF me if I get it wrong. A GIF is like a tiny film and the way that the GIFs work in Procreate is that each layer or layer group becomes a frame in that film. Lowest layer is your first frame and the top layer is your last and the GIF loops around so that it's a good idea to make your last frame work well with your first. Let's start by making something simple so we can see how this works. In Procreate, I'm going to press "Plus" to make a new the canvas and choose "Custom Size". I found that 1920 pixels square works really well to post to Instagram so that's what I'm going to do and leave it at 300 DPI. Here it shows you how many layers you get. This depends on the size of your iPad. When you're ready, press "Create". Let's start with something simple just to see how it works. We're going to have an object moving across the page. I'm going to draw an old-fashioned car. Just going to pop in that background color. Get back to my layer and add a few details, not making this particularly fancy, it's just to demonstrate, stripes and make it go faster. I'm not even sure which way round this car is. I'm just taking a little bit of artistic license. I've made it really easy by putting everything on this car on one layer. I'm going to start by using the selection tool just to move him all the way to the back. I'm going to go into the Spanner Settings and under the Canvas Menu, am going to switch on Animation Assist and this brings up a slightly different screen. In Animation Assist, the layers are actually frames of the animation. So if I add more layers in the layer section, you can see that I'm getting more frames along the bottom and the frame that you selected at the time is the one with a little a blue line under it. To select a particular frame, you can tap on the little icon at the bottom or you can scroll along until we get to the right one or you can choose by going to the Layers Palette and tapping on the layer that you want to work on. I don't want those layers so I'm going to pinch them all together and slide to the left and delete. If you tap on the little icon of the frame at the bottom, it brings up the frame options. You've got various options here. First is the whole situation this is like a freeze-frame. So you can slide this up to however many frames you want it to hold for. You can see that along the bottom you've got some extra little icons for the same number of frames you've asked it to hold for and these are grayed out. Take that back down to "None". You'll see that they all disappear. You can also "Duplicate" or "Delete" your frame from here. If there's a particular object or background that you want to remain constant in your frames. You can set the first frame to be "Background Frame" and last frame to be a "Foreground Frame". This is both the first and last, which is why I've got all the options here. So let's start by duplicating the frame and of course it looks exactly the same. I'm going to go into the transform and just move it along a little bit and I'll just de-select that for now. So what I've got is the new frame selected. If I select the old frame, whichever frame I've got selected, is at the full opacity. And what's happening is that it's adding an onion skin. If we go to the settings, the second one down is onion skin Frames, and you can choose how many of these are showing. Basically, it's giving you a slightly transparent version of all the frames before and after the frame you've chosen. You can show how many of these you want to. I quite like one on either side of my current layer but you can change it as you go. You can change the onion skin opacity too and it will always be more transparent the further away from the current layer you get. Blend primary frame just makes your current frame attack more transparent. I don't normally use that. You can color the secondary frames to give them a contrasting color image. Sometimes makes it a bit more obvious which frame you're working on. You can toggle this on and off as you wish as you go along. Let's get back to our little car and I'm going to see if it transformed too and then select everything on this layer. I'm just going to move it along a tiny bit and I'm going to vary the angle of it and really the smaller the distance is the smaller the movements you do the smoother your finished GIF is going to be. I'm just going to keep this simple for now. You can use your finger to scrub along the timeline to get an idea of what the movement is going to be. The more frames you have here, the more effective this is. Then we are going to duplicate that frame again., here's the transform tool and just pull us along a little bit more and change the angle. Tap the "Transform" tool again to de-select and against scrub through to have a look at how that's going. Then I'm just going to carry on the same up the onion skin frames, a little so I get more idea of how it's going. The more we have showing the more you can see the movement, but also the more confusing it gets. Now it's just a case of duplicating and transforming until we get the right number of layers for our car to get to the end. Let's make the car go off one end and re-appear on the other. I'm going to copy and paste it by using a three finger swipe down. Choose "Copy" and "Paste" and then I'm going to make sure that magnetics is on, while it still selected. I'm just going to pull the new one along this guideline. I'm gonna take this right off so that all that's showing is the front part just up to the window. I'm going to go back to the previous layer. That one needs to be duplicated. This transform tool and this one then I'm going to move that over I still want these two to be on the same frame. So I'm going to go to my layers palette and I'm going to go to the top one which is the bonnet maybe the boot. I guess it's the bonnet because it's at the front. I'm going to tap on the layout and choose merge down. So these two are on one layer now. Let's play it and see what happens. I'm going to go to the settings and right at the bottom of this little pop-up menu, you have three choices. You have One Shot which will just literally play it through once. You have Loop, which is how GIFS normally work. It plays through once and then it starts at the beginning again. This is perfect for what we've done here. You have Ping-Pong, which would just go back and forth. To stop the animation preview, you can either press "Pause" or you can tap on the timeline or tap on your screen. Before I explore this, i want to move the whole thing up on the page. To do this, I'm going to go to the Layers palette. I got my first layer selected. I'll just swipe, all of the other layers from left to right to select them all as sub-layers. I'm going to use the transform tool and that's going to select everything even though we can only see what's visible with the onion skin. I've got magnetics on that's going to move all up so it's fairly central. I'll tap again to de-select and just play that back again and make sure that all looks fine. Let's go to the spanner settings menu, or spanner is English for wrench, by the way. In the share section, You've got various choices where it says Share Layers. You can choose an Animated GIF and you've also got the choices of an Animated PNG file, which will allow you to preserve the transparency if you need to or an Animated MP4. Just choose Animated GIF. You can choose your resolution. Web ready is a smaller but a less high-quality file. So you can change how many frames per seconds. 12 is fairly standard for animation, but a little bit slow. So I'm going to keep mine up on 15. I'm just going to leave everything else as it is. I'm not going to have a transparent background. If you switch to some, because the early background I've got is the background color that would export as a transparent background but I'm going to leave that as it is. Now I'm just going to choose Export. I'm going to choose save image and that will just pop it onto my camera roll. I'm not really sure why, but on a couple occasions, I've had things that haven't exported correctly. For example, here, the window color is only present in some frames and also the background is flashing. For some reason by changing the background color, this did seem to fix it. If you want to make your objects move along a more complicated path, you might find it easier just to draw in a guide layer first. If you make this the lowest layer in your layer stack, it will end up on the left side of your timeline and you'll be able to choose that to be your background layer. That way you'll be able to see it through all the onion skins on every frame. But make sure you remember to delete it before you export your finished GIF otherwise it'll be that too. 3. Animating Existing Art: I'm going to use the same method on some works I've already done. I'm going to make these watercolor fruit jump around a little. It's really important to make a copy to work and so that you don't mess up your original. This one is quite a large Canvas so the first thing I need to do is make it smaller. To do that, I'm going to go into the expand settings menu. I'm going to choose "Canvas" and "Crop and Resize". I'm going to choose "Resample" so that I don't just crop it and chop itself. I'm going to choose 1,920 by 1,920 as before. Then when I'm ready, I'm going to press "Done". I'm going to go to expand the settings, going to go for "Canvas" and switch on animation assist. Let's have a look at the layers. I've got the fruit on one layer with no backgrounds and then I've got the background colors switched on as well. I'm going to tap on this lower frame and I'm going to duplicated it. I'm going to use the selection tool and it's on freehand, and I'm just going to draw around each of these fruits in turn. Go to the "Transform Tool" and what I want to do is rotate it but the handles gone off the edge of the page. If I try and move that, it's only moving this selection. I'm going to reset that. I want to be able to pinch, to zoom out. In order to do that, I'll need to put one finger on the transformer right-hand and then I'll be able to move my canvas around without affecting the selection. I'm just going to go and rotate that a little bit. I'm going to repeat that for each of the fruit. Now, I'm going to tap on that layer again and duplicate it. Now I'm going to go through the whole thing again and do exactly the same on this layer just slightly rotate each of the fruit. Let's play that and see what it looks like. That's a little bit fast. Let's slow that down. That's much better. I've got this on loop at the moment. Should we try it on ping-pong? That's not so different so I'll leave it on loop. I'm going to go up to "Settings", go to "Share", choose "Animated GIF". You can just leave it on max resolution and leave everything else as it is and choose "Export". That was easy, just three layers and we've got dancing fruit. These sausage dogs were really easy to do. I use the transform tool and the 45 degree rotate, and I made eight layers and just rotated the whole image each time. These fish were done in exactly the same way. This bird was an existing piece, which I've recolored for each layer and it's a really easy way of giving a really fun effect. With this one, I started with the finished piece, and then on each subsequent layer, I raised a little bit of it and then I reordered the layers just to make them make sense, to look like the plant was growing. 4. Redraw: Let's try something else. This one just involves redrawing and it works well with fairly simple pictures. Let's go to the Settings menu and switch on Animation Assist. This time, instead of duplicating my layer, I'm going to add a new frame. On this new frame, I'm going to redraw my cat tracing over what I have already done, but not sticking too carefully to the lines, I want to give this a wobbly look. I'm going to repeat that for five frames. Let's see how that looks. Here he is, my wobbly cat. I'm using the same methods for this monster. I'm going to redraw him on each layer. Because he is solid, I'm going to temporarily lower the opacity of the working layer so that I can see through to the layer below. He's only got three layers, but that's all he needs. You can get away with hardly any with this method. This method works really well with messy hand-drawn text, or if you want something a bit more structured, you can trace over some type. In the spanner Setting menu under Add is Add text. On the far left there's a little button that says Edit Style. In the text options you can choose the font and style, you can change the size and spacing, you can change the alignment and so on. I'm going to choose Outlined Text for this. I'm drawing over it loosely as before using three layers. This is a great way to do a very quick animation with a fun, fresh look. 5. Selective Movement: With this one we just can smooth parts of him. Let's have a look in the layers palette. The top layer has got his pupils and his whiskers, middle layer has got his tail, and the bottom layer is on the rest of him. It's any of these bits that you can set the moment that we're going to move. But because I want to keep it layered to make things easier, I am going to need to group them. I've got one layer highlighted and I'm going to swipe from left to right on the upper layers that I wanted to put in the group. I'm going to choose the group, and you can expand and contract your group just by pressing this little arrow. A group is going to act as if it was just a single layer. I am going to go into the settings, canvas, and switch on the "Animation Assist." You can see at the bottom here, that even though I've got all those layers in the group, it's just made one frame out of it. I'm going to tap on that and I'm going to duplicate it. I could actually do this from the layers palette. But if we have a look, you can see it's duplicated that whole group. I'm going to start by choosing his tail in this top group. I'm going to use the "Selection" tool. I'm just going to do like we did with the fruit, just draw around a freehand selection. Choose the "Transform" tool. I am just going to move this back a little bit. Then with his face, I think I'm just going to redraw this each time, so I need to add a new layer on top of that one. I'm going to just take down the opacity of the layer underneath because we'll getting rid of that in a minute. It's little bit like onion skinning it but it isn't. First of all, I'm going to draw his pupils, but I think his eyes can roll around and then let's choose the white for his whiskers. This is just like the redrawing we did in the last one. I'll delete that underneath layer by swiping to the left and pressing "Delete." That's the second group. I'll collapse that group and I'll duplicate it either by using the thumbnails and timeline or else I can swipe it to the left and choose duplicate in the layers pallet. That's given me another version of that group which I'm now going to work on. I am going to expand my group again, and I'm just going to do the same again. Every time I'm going to move his tail, I'm going to move his eyes and whiskers by [inaudible] redrawing this. Now I've got four layers and we [inaudible] soon to see how this looks. I'm going to get to my "Settings" and this time I've made his tail just move towards the right every time. If I have this [inaudible] , and see it's not very smooth when his tail goes back, so I'm going to go to the "Settings" and change it to "Ping-Pong." This way his tail's waving to and fro and it looks a lot smoother. Using the ping-pong option with this kind of animation is the real time saver. It guarantees that your first frame will match up with your last. It's something that I use quite often. You can isolate each layer to get a really good look at what's going on by entering "Isolation mode." I'm going to hold my finger on the little tick that shows each layer and you can see what that layer is doing on its own, so that's the first layer, and the second, third and you can exit isolation mode by tapping and holding the same tick on the visible layer. Here are some more examples of things I've done using just partial movements to a partial rotation. The sugar skull, I just selected his eyes and rotated them in each frame and the monster, well, you can see what I've moved on the monster. This method is great for layered files that you already have. If you're using new images to make your gifts, you can arrange your layers in a way that just makes life easy for you. 6. Liquify: Continue to use the Liquify till you fill this one. Second, look at the Layers pallet I just got one layer with the image on it. Which is perfect, I am going to start by turning on animation assist like usual, on the Canvas and animation assist then I'm going to duplicate my frame. I am going to go into this little magic wand looking thing at the top which is the Adjustments, going to choose Liquify. I'm going to keep this on the push setting, which is what it's automatically going to. You've got various things you can do with this. You can change the size of your Liquify brush if you want to. You can just play around with these until you get something that you like. I'm going to just start by moving his ear a little bit. This is quite a weird tool till you get used to it and it's really useful for this kind of thing, trying to be really careful not to liquify his eye. If you do something that you don't like, you've got a couple of options, you can try adjusts and this will just let you put it back to where it was by sliding the slider or you can reset, which is just going to take it back immediately by the full amount. If you tap on the push, you've got other options you can distort in various different ways. Reconstruct is another way of just using the brush to go back to where you are a bit. Let some do that. I'll put it back to push and just going to make him smile a bit more every time as well as tap back on the adjustments to come out of that. I'm just going to repeat this process by duplicating and liquifying each time. I've got five frames, and am going to put this one on ping-pong as well, let's have a look, it's a little foxed I think that's perfect. Liquify is really useful for existing art work and it's particularly good if you've got art work that isn't layers because you can still animate it using the Liquify. Here are a few other animations you can make using Liquify, either for all of them or part of them. 7. Flipbook Style: This one is just a simple drawing on a single layer. I'm going to just change a bit of it on every frame. A little bit like if you ever made a flip book, his child to the stick man that runs on each page. This is going to be similar to that. I'm going to choose the bits I want to redraw and just set this up for it. Time to go into Animation Assist, and to make a Duplicate Layer, and on this new layer, I'm going to erase all the bits that I'm going to change. I'm going to change his mouth, probably this bit of his mouth too. I'm going to change his eyes. Going to move his ears and his mane. If I turn off that lower layer, just make sure that I get rid of all these bits and pieces that are left behind. This will avoid me having to clean up every single frame later. Basically, these bits are the bits that are going to remain constant to each frame and all the other bits are going to move. Now I have the original layer, and then I have my new layer which just has the bits that I want to keep. I'm going to rename this and now I'm going to call it master because it is my master layer, and then, duplicate that, the first one I'm going to put right down the bottom so don't end up messing it up so that I can just reuse that for every frame. the first frame I've renamed and I've pulled it just one, and the reason I'm doing this, I'm going to name each layer as I go because at some point I'm going to start going back the other way, and that'll make sense when I do it. On my new layer which is a copy of the master layer that's going to be Layer 2, and if I switch on the bottom layer, I've got my onion skin so on this layer, I'm going to start drawing in the bit supports that I wanted to change. I'm just going to make his ear slightly move on each frame. Let's make his mane slightly move. I might change his eyes, I think, maybe kept narrow each time and close his eyes and a bit of a smile and just move main little bit. Now I'm going to make a duplicate of monster case of the master again for my third layer. Going this up to the top, we name it 3, and I'll just carry on like that until I've got plenty of layers. I've got my layers in order, starting with my Master layer, and I'll need to delete that before export the gift otherwise it will actually show up as a frame, or you could just make it hidden and it went show up in the animation. Then I'm just going to scroll through and show you what I've done. Basically, we go to the Layers palette. Let's finish off the master layer, so go layer 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Then we're going back the other way, so I've just duplicated these layers and stack them on top of each other. Now we're going back 6,5,4,3,2, back to 1, so far this is very much like the ping-pong, but I did it manually so I could add in this extra little loop, so unless one is puckering up, learning a kiss. Then I repeated and duplicated layers 8,9,10 so that he didn't suck his kiss back in, which should be a bit bizarre, I've carried on moving the kiss further away, and then I'm back to the beginning. Let's just play this and see what it looks like and I've done it so that it will be on a lip, there you go. A little bit more complex than the previous ones, but it's fun. Here's another one that doesn't sideways sounds a bit simpler because I started with this frame and I've just added a little bit more for every frame to give the impression that the plant is growing. Read lots of things you can do with this method. 8. Mix it Up: You can mix up all or any of these methods and any other methods you can think of to make more complex animations. This one is a combination of lots of different methods. It's a grouped image. The group consists of; his eye, his wing, his body and also the tree, his beak or part of his beak, and then this layer has got his crest, I suppose, his head feathers, and his legs, and the other part of his beak. For each layer I moved these things a little bit. I used the Transform Tilt to move his beak, I redrew his eye, I used the Liquefy to move his leg, and I used Liquefy to move the tree. I used the Transform to move his wing. I had to just keep track of it and make sure that I moved something on each one. If you go through, I also drew him in a tongue and his little musical note. That is the same method of going backwards through it again. Although now of course you could use the Ping Pong for this. I ended up with this by combining a number of different methods. This little cat has got the flip book and the movement for the fly. His eyes have been moving around and his whiskers for the redraw. I liquefied his arms and I redrew his tail. As you can see, there are so many things you can do with this and so many different ways of doing it. I'm going to go through lots of my existing work because I have to say this is a quite a fun thing to do and I'm finding it quite addictive. In the next video, I'm going to show you how to get these onto your Instagram feed. 9. Uploading to IG: There are a few different ways you can save your animation art in Procreate. First is what we've been doing, saving them as animated GIFS. You can also save them as animated PNG file for wider color options. You can also save them as an animated MP4 file. If you want to post your GIF on Instagram, you'll need to save it as a movie first. Otherwise, it won't animate. But it does have to be between 3-15 seconds long. If yours is shorter, you can save it as a GIF and you can use the Gifvid-app to convert it. I've put a link in here about and projects section of the class. I'll show you how I would do that. I like it since its nice and simple. I'm going to press Create. I'm going to choose, Gif to video, although you can also convert a video to a gif. Let's choose this one. I'll select the resolution, I always go for the highest. It has generated my video. At this point, you can adjust the playback speed and you can also choose how many loops. I need this to be somewhere between 3-15 seconds to go on Instagram, so you can adjust it so that it has got the right amount. That would be fine. When you're ready, you press the Export button up on the top right and then you can share it. It has got a little share link there. We're going to save the video. You've got different choices on each side. 10. Project & Final Thoughts: So that's it. We've made lots of gifts and lots of gifs using a few different methods which can be combined in so many different ways. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. To upload your gif to project section, you need to go into the main part of the project section and you choose image, and you choose your gif, and you press Open, and there he is. If you enjoyed this class, please do leave a review and if you want to be kept up to date with my new classes, please be sure to follow me. Do feel free to post your gif on social media using the #nicsquirrellskillshare. I might post some of your work there too. So thank you very much for joining me and bye for now.