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Deke's Techniques: Create an animated movie in Photoshop

If you’ve been following along with the last few installments of Deke’s Techniques, you’ll have all the raw material you need to create an animated movie in Photoshop. Watch this free movie from Adobe guru Deke McClelland to learn how to transform the falcon image and text into a frame-by-frame animation, using the Timeline panel in Photoshop.

  1. The first step is to rasterize your Smart Objects, so the effects remain intact for the rest of the technique. Open the Layers panel and click the Filter for Smart Objects icon. Choose Select > All Layers. then right-click in the image window and select Rasterize Smart Object from the popup menu.

Notice all your composition elements have disappeared from the Layers panel. Click the Filter for Smart Objects icon again to reveal them.

  1. Next, you’ll downsample the image. Choose Image > Image Size. Make sure all three check boxes at the bottom of the panel are turned on. Set the interpolation to Bicubic (best for smooth gradients). Change the Width to 1080. (Since the fields are linked, Height will automatically be changed to 720.) Click OK .

Open the Timeline panel. Click Create Frame Animation to generate a single frame in your timeline.

You can change the thumbnail size, if you so desire, by choosing Panel Options from the flyout menu and selecting a different size from the Animation Panel Options dialog.

  1. Go to the Timeline panel’s flyout menu and choose Make Frames from Layers. Now this makes a frame from every single layer in the image, but you don’t need them all. For example, the background image. Select that first frame and Opt- or Alt-click the trashcan icon to remove it. Repeat for the last seven frames.

  1. Go to the Timeline panel’s flyout menu again and choose Select All Frames .

Scroll to the bottom of the Layers panel and turn on the visibility of the Background layer.

To add a little bit of delay to the first and last frames, go to the Timeline panel, click the bottom right corner of the last frame, and select 0.1 seconds. Then Shift-select Frames 2-18, click in the bottom right corner of any of the selected frames, and choose

No delay.

  1. With the Frames 2-18 still selected, open the Timeline panel’s flyout menu and choose Copy Frames. Select Frame 19, open the flyout menu again, and choose Paste Frames. Choose Paste After Selection and click OK .

Reverse the order of the new frames by choosing Reverse Frames from the panel flyout menu.

To preview the animation, click the word Once at the bottom of the panel and change it to Forever to loop the animation and then press the spacebar to play it.

To add the text, Shift-select Frames 4-16. Then go to the Layers panel and turn on the visibility of the first squawk layer in the text & shapes group. Select Frame 15 and turn on the modified version of the text, the second squawk layer. Select Frame 16 and turn on the third squawk .

  1. Shift-select Frames 17-19 and turn on the text explosion group and all its layers.
  1. To fade the text as the animation progresses, perform the following steps.

a. Select Frame 24 and turn on the text explosion group and its layers again. Select those layers and change the Opacity to 0%.

b. Shift-select Frames 19-24. Shift-click the text explosion group in the Layers panel, and then choose the Tween option from the Timeline panel flyout menu.

c. Make sure Tween With is set to Selection. change Layers to Selected Layers. deselect the Position and Effects parameters, and click OK .

d. To make the last stage of the fade more subtle, select Frame 24 and Shift-click the squawk , impact. and balloon layers in the text explosion group. Change the Opacity of these layers to 10% .

  1. Press the spacebar to preview the complete movie.

The final animation.

And those are the steps to create a frame-by-frame animation in Photoshop. Check out the follow-up, member-exclusive tutorial in the library and learn how to export your animation as a QuickTime movie or animated GIF. Non-members can check out for a 1-week free trial.

Check back for more free videos, each week in Deke’s Techniques !

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