ADOBE: Photoshop GIF Animation

How to make a GIF animation with Adobe Photoshop.

Getting images to move is just fun. Here are the steps I used to create this short Photoshop GIF animation.

Step 1 – Review Source Files 

For my gif animation I started with these three photos. I like the body shot of the far right image – which I plan to use as my base image for the final animation. The other two photos, I plan on using the head and part of the neck for the final animation.

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Step 2- Prep up files 

Using the Quick Selection Tool – I have a clean, shape selection around the birds head. I increased the selection area around hair on the birds head – I plan to refine the hair later – for now capturing the image of the head on a transparent background with be good enough.

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Step 3 – Review images in Photoshop

Each image of the bird is now on its own layer in one Photoshop file. While the two heads that I sampled and bought into to use are quite a bit smaller than the bird head on the right – so I plan to resize the larger bird head to match the size of the other two bird photos – there’s has got to be a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” joke there somewhere.

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Step 4 – Setting animation pieces 

Now that I have the three birds heads the same size – I can start having some fun – AFTER ONE LAST PREP STEP: Knock out the background from the main photograph. I shoot these bird photos earlier today at 300 DPI – High Quality. The Photoshop Quick Selection Tool loves to work with High Quality Digital images.

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Step 5 – Content Aware- make your selection

I don’t think they even had this tool on Star Trek. The Content Aware Fill. Yes, this feature is similar to the Healing Brush – however it is also a bit different too. The Content Aware Fill likes to have a selected area to focus on. In my case with the bird head – I made a loose selection around the head and lower neck area.

From the menu Edit > Fill.

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Step 6 – Fill with Content Aware 

From the Contents menu > select Content-Aware. Press OK. Photoshop will then review the selection area and attempt to fill the selection with content-aware content.

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For this image I ran the content-aware feature 3 times on the same area. In this case I don’t mind losing the background windows. I may have to revisit the background to tweak – but for now, a quick crop (to remove the white frame).

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Step 7 – Clean Up and Align 

I now have four layers – the background (with the body of the bird), and three bird heads (with transparent background) on the remaining layers.

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Step 8 – Access Photoshop Animation Timeline  

To access the Photoshop animation tools. Go to the top Menu Bar > Window > Timeline. 

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Step 9 – Working with Photoshop Animation Timeline 

Working the Photoshop Animation Timeline is fun. However, you may have to first turn it on. From the Timeline Drop down select Create Frame Animation. 

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On the Timeline – Select the playback length.

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As well as being able to control the playback time for each frame – you can also control the playback for the entire animation. On the lower part of the timeline you can choice how you wish for your animated gif to playback.

Playback Once, or 3 times, or Loop forever. Or, press other and make your own custom playback. computer_training_photoshop_animation_009cCreate a second Frame. Toggle off the layer with the left head. Toggle on the mid head.

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I am pausing the first frame for half a second – the slight pause will give the viewer that impression that they are simply viewing a simple 2D photo – then the action happened.

Step 10 – Working with Photoshop Timeline Frames. 

With the placement of the first two frame – a simple animation has been created. More time was spent prepping up the image files. However, the next step is where you can really get creative with the frames. Adjust the playback length for each frame, while controlling the other all control of the animation.

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