Procreate® Animation for Illustrators and Surface Designers: Make your Artwork Pop! | Sandra Mejia | Skillshare

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Procreate® Animation for Illustrators and Surface Designers: Make your Artwork Pop!

teacher avatar Sandra Mejia, Illustrator + Pattern Designer

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.

      Class Project and Supplies


    • 3.

      Why Use Animation?


    • 4.

      Procreate Mini Crash Course (Skip if you know how to use Procreate)


    • 5.

      Animation Basics


    • 6.

      Animation by Moving on a Path


    • 7.

      Animation with the Transform Tool


    • 8.

      Animation with the Liquify Tool


    • 9.

      Drawing Frame by Frame


    • 10.

      Animation by Erasing


    • 11.

      Colorshift with Transparency


    • 12.

      Other Uses: Online Shop


    • 13.

      Bonus: Export for Instagram


    • 14.



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About This Class

As creatives, we’re always looking for better ways to showcase our work and capture the publics attention.  In this class I will show you how to use different tools to create six different types of animations in Procreate.  Using GIFs is an amazing way to make your patterns and illustrations pop.  

We will talk about the reasons for creating animations, the basic tools, and the techniques required to animate in 6 different ways: by moving objects on a path, by using the Transform tool, by using the Liquify tool, by drawing frame by frame, by using the Eraser and by using transparencies.

You only need an iPad with Procreate to take this class. This class is suitable for beginners and advanced artists alike. I cover every step of the process of creating the animations so you’ll be able to follow along.  It’s useful if you have some previous knowledge of digital illustration to create the illustrations and patterns you’re going to animate. 

You can take these classes too if you want to learn more about Procreate and my process of drawing and creating patterns: 


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All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of these trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by the respective companies. iPad Pro® and Apple Pencil® are a registered trademark of Apple Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Procreate® is a registered trademark of Savage Interactive Pty Ltd.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sandra Mejia

Illustrator + Pattern Designer

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Hello! I'm a Freelance Illustrator and Pattern Designer. I was born in Medellin, Colombia (puedes escribirme en Espanol!). I create detailed, stylized, playful illustrations, patterns and characters from my studio in Ottawa, Canada.

I have very big eyes and I love animals. Most of my inspiration comes from nature and animals.

My art has been licensed by companies around the world for use in: Fabrics, Stationery, Kids, Editorial, Greeting Cards, Fashion, Puzzles, Gift and Home Decor.

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1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Sandra Bowers and I'm a surface pattern designer and illustrator from Medellín, Colombia, but I'm based in BC, Canada. As creatives, we're always looking for ways to showcase our artwork and capture the public's attention. Moving images will always be more interesting and eye catching than static images. So by using Procreate, very simple but very robust animation tools, we can showcase our art in a very different and creative way. Here we're going to talk about six types of animation. There's many different types of animations that you can create and there's different tools in Procreate that are not meant for animation, but that can be used to create really easy animations. You can create fun animations by just moving your objects along a path, we'll be making our fish swim across a pattern, you can use a transform tool to rotate elements or change their sizes. So we'll be making some flowers bloom. With the liquify tool you can modify pieces of your art work without having to redraw them. We'll be using it to make our octopus float in the water. Drawing frame by frame, this is a traditional way that animations are made. You only need an iPad and Procreate to follow along this class and this class is suitable for both beginners and advanced students. If you're a beginner, I have a little basic crash course in the class where you will learn how to create sort of a stick figure and you can animate that. It'll be good if you have some illustration skills, but it's not necessary. If you're an advanced artist, maybe you're really advanced but you're looking for new ways to showcase your art. So this is a class for you. By the end of the class, I'm sure your mind will be bursting with ideas on how to use these fun and easy techniques in your own artwork and share your own stories and your own creativity because we're all different. You'll have these fun and short animations that you'll be able to post on your online shop, your social media, your website, and who knows? A client might see what you are creating and they might like your storytelling abilities, your animation abilities and you might get a new job. So join me and let's start animating. 2. Class Project and Supplies: For this class you will need an iPad, we Procreate it's useful to have a stylus or an Apple Pencil, but it's not necessary. You can use some illustrations that you have created before hand. It will be useful if you watch the class first and you'll see how I divide my layers, so that it's easier for you to animate. For the class project, you will choose one of the types of animation and use one of your illustrations or patterns to create a GIF to share on your social media. You can also make more than one that'll be great. Or you can even combine different types of animation in one. Then share your animation in the class projects and blows away with your creativity. Remember to have fun and experiment. There's no wrong way of doing this. So let's just dive into it. 3. Why Use Animation?: As I said in the intro video, we're always looking for new ways to showcase our art. It's getting harder to capture people's attention because there's so much great art out there, so adding a little flare and a little bit of movement to your images is definitely going to be a great way to do that. Moving images are eye-catching, and fun, and fresh, and they're super easy to create when you're using Procreate. The advantages of using animation for your art are you can stand out in a feed of static images, it's a more attractive way to display your work, this little animations create a very small file size. You don't want to upload on animation to your website or your online shop and then customer is there waiting ages for it to load, nobody is going to look at that. They're super easy to create animation in other programs. It's very robust. It's obviously designed to create other types of animation like Moby's. But using procreate is super simple and you can basically animates anywhere on the train, on the beach, anywhere. It's always useful to showcase other skills you have, clients might be looking at these and say this person is very creative, and they might fall in love with your storytelling, and they might hire you just because of that. Let's face it, animation is so much fun but that would be the main reason just to try it out, but then it has the other advantages. Now you know these gels, let's go through the basics. 4. Procreate Mini Crash Course (Skip if you know how to use Procreate): First, if you've never used Procreate, I am just going to show you the one basic tool you need to learn. Here's your layers panels. Here's your brushes. You can work with one brush if you want, or you can work with any brush that you want, there's a lot. If you want a solid brush, you can go to "Airbrushing", and pick a hard airbrush, and that way it will create solid lines. Here you change the sizes, and here you change the transparency. You tap twice to undo. Here's your eraser. Here you can add a new layer. That way your items are separate so you can move each item around on its own. This is a selection tool. Here you can move items. You can make them bigger or smaller, and you can rotate them. Finally, here are your colors. You can choose here, or you can choose here. If you drag these into a shape, it fills it. Here you can change the background color. If you have never used Procreate, this is like the basic thing you need to know. I have other classes where I'll show where I draw in Procreate on how I create patterns and collections. You can check those out, but for now, this is the only thing you'll need to follow this class. Even if you just create a little stick man. Create the Icing another layer, for example. Now you know enough and follow the class. One last thing, if you use light to the left, you can group layers and then they'll be a new group. If you touch here, you can rename that group and if you swipe to the left again, you can duplicate groups or individual layers, so now really you can follow this class. 5. Animation Basics: In this lesson I will show you the basics of the animation in procreate. I have created my original icons in a 12 by 12 inch, 300 pixels per inch canvas. Then after I have created my icons here, I can use them to create different patterns, different illustrations. I never touch these files. I always keep them there. I just create new wants to create my animations. Because the animations I create are smaller sizes and lower resolution. You always want to keep your original files intact so you can work with them later in print or other things. If you go here, you can create a new document. I like working on my animations at 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels at a 150 pixels per inch. That way they're not too big and they're not too heavy. Just make sure that in the color profile you're working in RGB because it's going to be seen in a screen. You need it to be RGB and not CMYK. I just leave these as the default and create. We'll start with the basics of animation. Procreate has something here in actions, canvas called animation assist. You turn it on and these comes up. Here you have your play and pause button, self explanatory. Here you have your frames. Here you have your settings. The frames per second that will determine the speed at which your frames are played. The more frames per second, the faster it goes. Onion skin frames, I will show you what that is. Let's say here we have a little very simple mushroom. We're going to animate him. When I create a second frame, these previous frame becomes more transparent. That's what onion skin means. It's like when you're looking to vellum paper or tracing paper where you can see what's underneath. When I draw on top of it, I can be guided by the previous layer. Then my animation is smoother. Also if you have things like connectors like here, I don't want this stem to move so I can trace it exactly where it is positioned. Here, you can see 12 frames as onion skins and you can reduce that. Sometimes I like working with one onion skin frames. You can set the opacity of the onion skin. With less capacity you can barely see it or you can see it a lot which would be really confusing. Keep it in the middle or wherever you think it's best. You can blend the primary frame, which means you'll be able to see through the frame you're working on. I always keep it turned off but you might want to turn it on. The colors' secondary frames is really useful sometimes because you see your mainframe. The frames that are in the past are red and the frames that are in the future, what's coming up are green. If I'm in the middle, I can see the past frame in pink and the future frame in green. That's really useful sometimes. Finally here we have the ways that our animation works. One shot is that it goes onces through the whole sequence and stops. It doesn't play again. A loop means it goes through the whole sequence, then from the last frame comes back to the first one. It goes in jumps. Then the ping-pong goes through the whole sequence and then starts coming back from the back to the beginning of the sequence. It just goes back and forth like a boomerang effect. Here we can add a frame. I'll just add one white frame. You'll see it appear here. That's like creating a new layer. It's the same thing. We can touch on each frame and change the hold duration. That means it will hold there for 11 frames, one frame or none. It can duplicate it. You can delete it or you can set it as a foreground. You can only set the top layer as the foreground. That means it will always show up on top of every frame. Even if you are here in this frame that has nothing on it, you'll always be able to see these on pop. You can do the same thing with the background, which would be the bottom layer. If you touch on it you can set it as a background and that way these two will always show. If you want to create a little mountain where the mushroom is standing, you would turn that into the background layer, that way. Let me erase these two empty frames. When you play your animation that is always visible. The last thing is groups. Each layer here is a frame. What if you want to add eyes to your mushroom? If you play these as it is, it will disappear, so you drag to the right and you group these two layers. Now procreate knows that these is one frame. Now it won't show a blank layer there with just the eyes. You can create as many layers as you want within a group. It doesn't matter as long as it's in a group it will play as one frame. Finally, the exporting of the GIF. Go here and you go to share. Here you have your exporting. You export it as an animated GIF. Here you can change this speed. I'm going to zoom it in. Here it's a maximum resolution. Here is web ready. You see that it's affected the resolution especially here in the black. You can see that there's little dots.That's the dithering. If you turn that off it eliminates the little dot. Then you can choose per frame color palette. That means it will determine one color pallet per frame. I suggest keeping it off. Then you can select to export this with a transparent background. Everything that's white has just become transparent. You see these black outline here. If you modify the Alpha threshold, the borders will contract so you won't be able to see that black outline anymore. Here you can see the file size 208 kilobytes. If I take it to maximum resolution, it's 1.3 megabytes. You choose whatever works best. I find that this is not too much and it looks way better. If you need something with size constraints, like you're uploading to Skillshare or somewhere else and they have a specific size for your file. You might want to export it at web ready. Now you export and you select where you want to save it. 6. Animation by Moving on a Path: This is our first file. We're going to create some movement. This is a background, so this is not going to move. I'm going to make that my background. I turn it on here, and that way procreate will know that, that is going to be repeated in all the animation. On top of my illustrations, I like to put this, which is just a yellow color, at very low opacity, and I like that to be my foreground. I will click on it and set it to the foreground. That way it will also be repeated in all the animation. Here I have made a group of the elements that are going to move. It's going to be this fish moving. So they are each on their own layer. I have renamed this group to number 1. I like naming my groups, so I understand what's happening because sometimes when you have too many, it's very confusing. I'm going to move each one to the starting position. I don't want them all to start in the same place, and then I'm going to duplicate this group. Rename it and move each fish around. The closer the objects, the smoother the animation. If you want to make a super smooth animation, you would place it here. But this would be smooth enough for what we're looking for. Again, duplicate this group, renaming, It'll be number 3, and go in and move each fish. Duplicate this. This will be number 4. Move him. See that I'm not moving them in a total straight line and go a bit up or a bit down. I think it's more organic that way. This guy got cut off in the previous group, because Procreate talks of everything that overlaps the edge of the canvas. You have to go get him from a group where he is complete. Duplicate him and just bring him to this group and leave the one that's being cut off and move him here. Now, duplicate this group, rename this as number 5. Again, he's cut off, so I'm going to grab him again from here. Duplicate, bring him up here. Delete this one, and move him there. Duplicate, rename, this is number 6. Now, we're going to duplicate this one more time. This one has been cut off. I'm going to duplicate this one and bring it up and delete this one and then move this one. See, these two are complete. The lines are complete, but this one isn't. I'm just going to duplicate this. Rename it. Move this guy here. I will leave those there and I'm going to space this ones out a bit. I'll just go back into my groups. I think that works fine. Now, we play it here, and here in the settings we can make it faster or slower. See, that these guys move smoother than this one, it's because this one has more space as in between him. I'm happy with that and I'm going to export it. 7. Animation with the Transform Tool: In this lesson, we're going to create an animation using the transform tool. That these flowers will start being small and they will grow and be a size, when the animation is done. This is how I have created my file. It has my overlay layer, my background layer on the group of things that i'm going to animate. I'm going to set these as my background, and this as my foreground as usual, and we're going to start animating the flowers so that they grow. Since Procreate works with raster images and not vectors, you cannot make something bigger without it being pixelated. You start from the big flowers and you shrink them down to the small flowers. Let's rename this, and duplicate it, and since we want our animation to start with small flowers and then they grow big and bloom, i'm going to move this group down, rename it tool, and then i'm going to start shrinking my flowers. I just hit the transform tool, I make sure uniform is selected, I shrink them down a bit, and I want the base of the flower to be be aligned with the base of the previous flower, i'm going to move them down, they are aligned here. See? I aligned them down here. Same with this too. Duplicate that group and drag it down. Rename that. Let's keep doing the same thing, reducing the size, aligning the bottom. Since these two groups are the same, you don't even have to drag this one down, you just rename this one, as the next one. I'll modify that one. Again, the more steps you create, the smoother the transitions in the animation are. Just make as many transitions as you want. Just have in mind, that if you have too many layers and too many things in your animation, it's going to be heavier. Let's see the differences, with one shot, if you hit play, they grow once and that's it. Then with loop, they grow and shrink and grow back, with the ping-pong, they grow back and forth. Following the steps back and forth. I don't like any of those. I want the loop, but I don't want it to go back to being small so fast, or what you can do is in the last frame, you can click on it and say hold duration, and it adds six frames here. That way, the flowers grow, and it stops, and then they grow back again. That looks nicer. I'm going to export it and save it to my iPad. 8. Animation with the Liquify Tool: In this lesson, we're going to use the liquify tool to animate this little octopus. This is how I have set up my file. I have a background here, which will be static and then I have the legs have been separated. I made them in a way that they are not touching, like can move each one individually so see this one is touching this one so I would make these in a different layer and then the head on the front legs. You that legs, I'm not sure. They're going to be legs. The front legs are here and then I have my overlay layer. With the first thing is, make sure you have your animation assist on. Let's set this to the background and this to the foreground and start animating this. I am going to group that the things that I'm going to animate and duplicate that group. I'm going to go into each layer and select the liquified tool here and I'm going to select Push and when to have the maximum pressure, no distortion, no momentum, and the size I'm going to play around with it to see which one I need. This is pretty cool. You don't want it to be too small that you're just creating a little repo on it or it will be that you're moving the whole image. I think something in between. They'll be here, I'm still moving. See, I'm still moving the octopus, I don't want that. That's perfect. I'm moving towards the leg. I'm just going to start doing got beat by beat, the legs are going to be like flowing into water. Just distort them a bit here and there. I'm trying not to get too far away from the original so it's a smooth transition. Oh, they're called tentacles not legs. English is not my first language and sometimes I forget. Now let's choose the outer layer and again there's liquefy and then the last layer liquify again. Now I'm just going to keep doing the same thing, duplicate,rename and use the liquify tool on each layer to move them around. I'm just going to do this one more time because I just wanted to have s subtle movement. See you don't want to distort the shape so much that it becomes wagely like these, make it a bit smaller. I still wanted to hold a nice shape. Let's close here and paste our animation. I don't think he looks like he's swimming, if it's in a loop. I'm going to try the pink onward goes back and forth and leave it at six [inaudible] per second and I think that looks really good. I'm going to export it. This is one great way of not having to redraw each part of your character, or I can so you can animate it. But in the next lesson, I will show you how you can do it by redrawing each part. 9. Drawing Frame by Frame: In this lesson, I will show you how to animate by redrawing frame by frame. This is the way I have my files set up. I have my overlay layer. I have my little character here, and I have the background. The first thing as usual, turn on this as a background and this as a foreground. If you're animating by redrawing, I suggest you go to your settings and you turn your onion skin frames to just one. You're only seeing one before you draw in the other one and that way it's way easier to see what you are doing. This part is not going to move, only the face is going to move. I'm going to create a group with these, that will be set as a background. On top of that, I'm just going to grab some lurk. Then we are slowly going to redraw every feature. The mouth is going to get wider until he has like a gigantic smile and the eyes are going to get smaller. We're going to trace the eyes again because they're going to stay like this. That the mouth is going to open wider, make the eyes a bit happier, make them out even larger. Let's test that, let's go to settings and make it 12 frames per second. Maybe ping pong it. I don't like that. Now look, I don't like that either. Maybe what it needs is to have the first frame hold for like two and then the last frame hold for more, I'm going to try six let's try the ping pong again. No, I think I like the loop better I'm going to make it really fast. But I'm going to make the last frame hold for like 22 and the first frame hold for eight. See, I like that much better. Now that I'm happy with it, I will just export it and save it on my iPad. Now, you know how to do frame by frame animation. In the next lesson, I will show you how to use a eraser tool to create some texts animation. 10. Animation by Erasing: If you have an object and you want it to disappear piece by piece, you would start by having your complete object and you start erasing parts of it. That's basically what we're going to do now. Here I'm going to have this word appear, letter by letter. I have my overlay layer, so I'm going to set it to the foreground. In the background, I have my website and the background of my illustration and here I have my word. I'm going to make sure I only have one onion skin frame. And I'm going to duplicate this layer. This one I'll turn off because I'm not going to use for now. We just want the S to appear, first in our animation. So I'm going to erase the rest of the word. Then I'm going to duplicate this layer. Make this one visible and erase everything but the S and the U. We'll just keep doing that until we have the complete word appear. One more. Now we can just leave this one as it is and make it visible. Let's test that. Maybe I want the first frame to not have the S. So I'm just going to create an empty frame here. I'm going to make this one, one shot because if I'm going to use this on a website, I don't want the constant movement distracting people. I just want something subtle or else it will be very distracting to your clients. In the next lesson, I will show you how to create color changes by using transparencies. 11. Colorshift with Transparency: In this lesson, I'm going to show you how to create an animation by shifting colors. This is great for surface pattern designers because you can show the color ways of your collection in a very easy and a very attractive way. Let's turn on animation assist. Canvas, animation assist. I will show you how I have set up my file. This is my main pattern, my main color way and I have created two other alternatives, this one and this one. What I'm going to do is have them blend softly into one another. You see the first one, which is the main and then it'll start becoming the second one and then slowly the third one, for this I am going to use transparencies. So I'm going to create a group with these three, and that's going to be my first animation group. The first one I only want my first pattern to show, so I'll turn these two off and I'm going to duplicate this group. I'm going to turn this one on. But I wanted to start coming in slowly, so I'm going to press the N and go to opacity and go to 25. Now I'm going to duplicate this one again. I wanted to show a bit more, so I'm going to go to 50 percent and now to 75 percent. You can have as many steps as you want. I want to go like 25, 50, 75 and then a 100 percent. I think that'll be enough to have a nice gradation. Now here we get to a 100 percent. Then we start going to the third color way, now we have this one appear and we do exactly the same thing, 25 percent, duplicate it, 50 percent, then 75 and the last time, a 100, now we have the last color way. We have a lot of layers here we didn't use. So I'm going to go back and clean up my file. Here I'm not using these ones so I can delete it, delete it. Having as few layers as possible makes your file smaller. Here I erased the first pattern because it wasn't being used. I was just creating a transition between Number 2 and Number 3, and here I will just start erasing what I have as invisible because I'm not using it. So let's see how that looks. Go to the settings, let's say eight frames per second, let's have a ping-pong so it goes back and forth. I think we should make it slower so people can really appreciate the differences. This will be the first color way. I'm going to hold that maybe for three frames, see they got added there. For these, it's easier to just turn off the onion skin frames, so you can see when the pattern is at full color. The next one would be, this is at 25, 50, 75, this one is the other pattern at a 100 percent, hold that for three frames. There they are. Then the last one would be this, I'm going to hold it for tree frames too and try that. I like that because it's way more subtle and you can actually appreciate the three color ways. So I'm happy with how that looks and I'm going to export it and save it to my iPad. 12. Other Uses: Online Shop: There are many ways to use animation to promote your work and now that you have the skills to do it, the sky is the limit with what you can create. I'll show you how you can use a very simple and fast way to promote any collection of products for your online shop, or social media. This is how I have organized the file. Under first layer, I have a flat lay of all the products in the collections. On the second layer, I have a close up of the notebook that I'm promoting. On the third layer, I have the paper options and more information on the product. On the last layer, I have the call-to-action. This is way more interesting than posting just one static image and this takes no time to create. First, let's set this paper texture as a background, and then turn on all the layers. It's this simple, now we have an animation. But that is way too fast, so I'm going to make it very slow. It's still too fast but I can make it even slower. You can just add a hold to each frame. Now this is way too slow, so I'm making it three frames per second instead of having to erase each hold on each frame. I like that. I have set it to loop and now you can export it. See how easy that was. Now you know how to promote a product and you could even create an animation with some close ups of your art this way. This is a very interactive way to show different aspects of your art. 13. Bonus: Export for Instagram: The problem with Instagram is, it won't let you upload videos that are so short. What you can do is you exit and you'll do your photos and you select your animation, slide down here so you see these, and here you have the Screen Recording. If you don't see it there, then you can go to the Settings, Control Center, Customized Controls, and say that that's not there, you'll find that here, just press "Plus" and you'll see it here under Include. Now you don't have to do that anymore. You just go to your photos, you drag down, you touch "Screen Recording", and then once it's red, it means that it has started recording your screen. You touch there once, so the menu disappear, you let it run for a while, as long as you want it to last. You bring these down again and press to stop it. Screen recording video saved to photos, so you want to go to your photos. Here, you can edit it and crop it. Just drag here, I don't want that showing. That's when it starts and that's when it ends before the menu come up again. Then I can go here and actually crop it. I can insert it here, it goes square, press "Done", "Save Video", and there it is. It doesn't have these black lines. It's just playing like that. If you're going to add it to Instagram, for example, now it's 17 seconds. Instagram actually lets you upload it. 14. Conclusions: We have come to the end of our class. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and that now you know how to use these six different tools to create new animations. I cannot wait to see what you create. Remember to post your projects into project gallery. Also if you post them to Instagram, you can tag me @sandrabowersart. By now, your brain should be bursting with ideas on how to use these techniques you have learned to showcase your art and show the world your talent. If you have any questions or comments that I can reply to, please leave them in the comments area of the class. I cannot reply to reviews, but I read them all and I'm so, so grateful for everything you have to say about my classes. If you like it, remember to leave a review and share it with your friends so everybody knows about it. Bye.