Step 1 - Girl Emoticon and Boy Emoticon
Open a new file, size 100 x 50 px. Draw a simple setting, a light brown floor and a light pink wall behind. I am now going to make two little emoticons, one blue (boy) and one pink (girl), I will use this little cliche. Remember this psd tut is about animation so the emoticons are not the focus point. Working with small areas you must Zoom in the canvas so you see every detail so use the CTRL and '+' to Zoom in, CTRL and '-' to Zoom out and CTRL and '1' for Actual size. Draw a perfect circle using the Ellipse Tool and pressing SHIFT button on your keyboard. I will use a blue tone Gradient for this shape and also a blue Stroke.
Draw another elliptical shape below the previous layer using a light brown to create the emoticon shadow.
Create a new layer above all the others and draw some face features. Use the Pencil Tool, size 1 px.
Select all the three layers from above and put them into a group called Boy. Repeat the steps, this time to create a girl emoticon, using pink tone colors. Put again the layers into a group called Girl.
Our scene looks like this for now:
Step 2 - The Animation Basics
For making an animated gif in Photoshop you have to use Animation Photoshop feature. You can find it here: Window Menu - Animation. You will see that in the bottom part of your screen another area apears, called(of course very predictable) animation. First I want to explain a little all the buttons from this new area:
- Selects Looping Options: this says how many times your animation is played before it stops. It can play forever or you can set a number of times to loop.
- Select First Frame, Select Previous Frame and Select Next Frame are obvious, help you navigate trough your frames.
- Plays Animation Button starts playing your animation until you press Stops Animation if Forever looping option is set. Otherwise the animation stops playing after the setted number of times.
- Twins Animation Frames opens a new dialog box where you can say how many transition phase frames to add at one time and what will enherit from its twin layer: position, opacity, effects.
- Duplicates Selected Frames, duplicates the layers that you selected. Use SHIFT to select a frame range or CTRL to select individual frames.
- Deletes Selected Frames, deletes the layers that you selected. Use SHIFT to select a frame range or CTRL to select individual frames.
You can see that every frame has a number on top meaning the position of every frame and a number of seconds from 0 (no delay) to 240 seconds(maximum time). The number of seconds is in fact how long every frame stays on the screen before the other frame comes. You cad drag and drop the frames to change their position.
Step 3 - Make GIF Animation in Photoshop
Let's start our actual animation. So remember we have two groups Boy and Girl to work with. I could merge the layers but this way I can modify the shapes and colors easily. So we have a initial frame that contains all the visible layers. Set the Delay Frame Time to 0,2 sec. You can see that if you change the position, color, style etc of a layer, the change is seen in the frame also. Press Duplicates Selected Frames and you can see that a new frame is created. Now move the Boy Group and the Girl Group so that they meet in the center of the screen. Press Tweens Animation Frames(default settings) and set 5 frames; you see that the Frame 2 becomes Frame 7 ; you see that 5 intermediar frames were created so that we obtain a smooth motion from position a to position b.
At Frame 7 add three cute little hearts. I have created an animation for these hearts moving them up and down and using again Tween Animation Frames. I have a total of 31 Frames. The easy way to create them is to make the animation for the cyclic hearts effect and just select the frames and press Duplicates Selected Frames. For the Last Frame change the Delay Frame Time from 0,2 sec to 2 sec.
Step 4 - Save Photoshop Animation
Now it is time to save our photoshop animation. Go to File Menu and choose Save for Web & Devices. In the new window choose GIF, Looping Options - Forever (or choose to stop after a number of times) and Save. If you open the animation in an image previewer on your desktop it won't work! To see the animation you have to open the GIF in a web browser.