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Animating Photos


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  #1  
September 3rd, 2007, 11:09 AM
ManInTheMoon's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 12,171
First of all, you need are pictures that will work well for doing animation. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

<blockquote>- Animations are large files, so keep it simple. Use small actions that only require a few pics (around 3 or 4).

- It will work best with actions that repeat over and over and go back and forth (like waving, swinging, jumping). It would not work as well to have someone walking towards you because at some point they will have to disappear and reappear back where they started.

- Try not to move the camera when taking the pics. A tripod would be great, but it’s not necessary. Just make sure that you’re taking the pics from the same angle and with the same lighting.</blockquote>

It’s often hard to get the backgrounds to line up perfectly, so I usually cut out the pics. Because animation files are so large, you’ll want to resize your pics and make them fairly small. Also, you will need to enhance them. Be sure to watch your settings as you edit the first pic so that you can make them all look the same. Often times you just have to eyeball it anyway.

I have already done the previous steps on these pics, so you can just concentrate on the animation. (The enhancing could be a whole lot better, but it’ll do.) If you want to try this animation, you can take these pics and follow the rest of the tutorial.



Open a new file and paste all the pics onto their own layer. Line the pics up so they will be in the proper position for the animation. Sometimes it helps to reduce the opacity or change a layer to multiply so you can see through the image to the layer below.



Now is a good time to open up image ready and see if your placement looks right.

Create as many frames as you need using the “duplicates current frame” icon. In this case, we’re using 6. (Two frames are repeated in reverse order as she comes back down.)



Then for each frame you need to make sure the correct layer is visible and all other layers are invisible. Your frames should look something like mine. At this time, you can also guess at how long you want each frame to run. You’ll usually have to play with this part a little and run it a few times to see what looks right. Remember that you can select times other than the preset times. (You can see my settings for frame time delays highlighted in yellow.) Then play the animation. (Just like a VCR.)



Make any necessary changes and then try it again.

Next, go back to Photoshop and add a background, text, maybe a shadow to go with each image – whatever you want. Then go back to Image Ready and play the animation to see how it looks. If anything looks jumpy, like it moves around from frame to frame when it’s supposed to be stationary, or your stroke disappears and reappears or anything funky like that, you can ctrl+click on each frame, then make your changes it will make the same changes to each frame. That way you don't have to fix the same detail over and over again on each frame. (You can thank Rachel for that tip!)

Here’s my version with a background and text.



At this point, the file size is still under 100 k. Often times, it’s not. A few things you can do to reduce the file size are:

<blockquote>- Reduce the image size
- Reduce the number of colors used
- Reduce the dither</blockquote>



If there are parts of your graphic where there are big blocks of color, where there should be subtle shadows or a gradient, go back to Photoshop and add noise to that area (just 1 or 2%). It will look more grainy, but when you save it as a gif it won’t have those solid blocks of color.

You may also want to add a second animation like glitter. First you need to decide how long you need each layer of your new animation to run. In this case I have 3 layers of glitter that I would like to run for .1 second each. So you divide up your exsiting frames so that they are each .1 minute long or less. I broke up my first frame, which was .3 seconds long, into 3 frames and my glitter animation cycles through once while the orginal animation stays the same. The next 2 frames are .05 seconds each, so the glitter layer stays the same while the original animation changes layers and so on. Here is what the animation will look like with the new frames added.



The new animation brings the file size up to 145k, so you need to find a way to reduce that. I reduced the number or colors used to 100 and the dither to 90%.



Here's the result.



Let me know if anything is unclear or if you have any additional questions. Animation is so fun! Enjoy!
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  #2  
September 3rd, 2007, 11:35 AM
lynaiah2002's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Do you know if there is anyway to do that in pse??
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  #3  
September 3rd, 2007, 11:48 AM
Rachel's Avatar Just Rachel
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Quote:
If anything looks off to you, I suggest you delete all of your frames (by dragging them to the garbage can icon) and fix it Photoshop. Then try it again. It sounds like more work, but it's often easier to change it once in Photoshop then to make the same changes to each frame.[/b]
A tip about this. If you ctrl+click on each frame, then make your changes it will make the same changes to each frame.

Quote:
Do you know if there is anyway to do that in pse??[/b]
I have never animated in PSE, but I have it. I'll take a look later and see what you can do. Rochelle, is it okay to borrow your pics for it?
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  #4  
September 3rd, 2007, 12:05 PM
ManInTheMoon's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE
Quote:
If anything looks off to you, I suggest you delete all of your frames (by dragging them to the garbage can icon) and fix it Photoshop. Then try it again. It sounds like more work, but it's often easier to change it once in Photoshop then to make the same changes to each frame.[/b]
A tip about this. If you ctrl+click on each frame, then make your changes it will make the same changes to each frame.

Quote:
Do you know if there is anyway to do that in pse??[/b]
I have never animated in PSE, but I have it. I'll take a look later and see what you can do. Rochelle, is it okay to borrow your pics for it?
[/b][/quote]
Thanks for the tip! That is going to be sooo helpful! And by all means, take the pics! I don't know a ting about PSE, so I'm no help.
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  #5  
September 3rd, 2007, 01:09 PM
ShanMarie's Avatar Is it spring yet?
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Rochelle, that is a great tutorial!! I will see if I have any pics that will work for it and try it out!!!
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  #6  
September 3rd, 2007, 01:16 PM
kimbytx
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awesome tut...your ani always looks so clear when you save it and I always feel mine is grainier...but I seem to have the same settings...hhhmmm Do you have transparency or interlaced checked on yours?

that is a fab siggy too! Love it!
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  #7  
September 3rd, 2007, 01:41 PM
ManInTheMoon's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
awesome tut...your ani always looks so clear when you save it and I always feel mine is grainier...but I seem to have the same settings...hhhmmm Do you have transparency or interlaced checked on yours?

that is a fab siggy too! Love it![/b]
Thanks!

I have transparency checked. I honestly don't see a difference in the quality when interlaced is checked, but the file size way goes up.

I don't think yours look any grainier. I think you just enhance the photos better then I do so you really notice the difference when you save it as a gif. It's always going to be a trade off in some way.
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  #8  
February 20th, 2008, 06:11 PM
Bokkechick's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Wanted to say a HUGE thank you for this tut, Rochelle!! I just could not wrap my mind around animation before, and no matter how people tried to make sense of it, it just wasn't clicking...until now. Thanks for a brilliant tutorial!! Ste-by-step works for me:-))
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