Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Web Motion for Beginners: Create a Preloader

with Tom Green

Video: Project overview and plan

Learn how to create a preloader from an animated GIF, using After Effects, Photoshop or Fireworks, and Adobe Edge Animate.
please wait ...
Web Motion for Beginners: Create a Preloader
Video duration: 0s 24m 53s Beginner


Behold the lowly gif animation: it's making a comeback on the web, appearing as a preloader, or indicator that site content is loading. Join Tom Green, as he shows you how to make your own GIF-based preloader in this installment of Web Motion for Beginners. You'll learn how to export a series of fireworks-style explosions from After Effects, create an animated GIF in Photoshop or Fireworks (your choice), and make the GIF usable as a preloader in Edge Animate.

After Effects Fireworks Photoshop Edge Animate

Project overview and plan

Behold, the lowly GIF animation. Key to the secrets of the universe. Home of the elusive LOL cat. Bringer of the knowledge around how ice cream sandwiches are made. Though the lowly GIF has had a few rough years, it is making a remarkable comeback in the web universe. Used extensively, for example, by NASA, as you saw, to show us the marvels of the universe. The animated GIF is now being used to entertain and explain.

. And with the rise of motion graphics on the web, they are reappearing as preloaders merrily spinning away as the site's content loads into the browser. In this project, we're going to be creating a preloader, but it won't be your usual spinning ball countdown timer or other common animation. We're going to use exploding fireworks. Before we start, it is important to know the limitations of the format. It will help you as you produce the assets. First off, the GIF format uses a limited color palette.

This means you only get to use 256 colors or less. Now the upside of this of course, is small file size. Solid colors, not gradients, are best suited to the GIF format. Gradients tend to bend, a process called dithering, as the gradient colors are shifted to their nearest equivalents in the limited GIF color palette. This also explains why photographs are rarely, rarely as clear in the GIF format as they are in the JPEG. An animated GIF is closer to a flip book than a video.

This means each image in the sequence needs to be loaded and rendered by the browser. This is why the typical duration of an animated GIF is usually around two to three seconds. Also, size matters. Keep in mind, each image loads in sequence, so you have to keep the dimensions small, about 100 by 100 pixels, or smaller, to speed up the download and on screen rendering. Also, reduce the colors used to reduce the file size.

So what's the plan? We're going to create the fireworks explosions in After Effects, though any application that creates particle effects can be used. We'll work with three colors, red, green, and blue for the explosions, and keep the physical dimensions of the GIF to 100 by 100 pixels. We're going to output the project from After Effects and use two imaging applications, Fireworks and Photoshop, to do the same thing which is basically create the animated GIF using the output from Adobe After Effects. Again, any application that creates and animated GIF can be used here.

The animated GIF is then going to be placed in Edge Animate as a preloader, though it could just as easily be used in any webpage as a stand alone motion graphics piece. Why Edge Animate? Preloaders usually require JavaScript or Ajax, a synchronous JavaScript, in the HTML to work, and they are well out of the scope of this series.This explains why we're going to let the animate do the heavy lifting for us. Let's start making some explosions.

There are currently no FAQs about Web Motion for Beginners: Create a Preloader.






Don't show this message again
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Web Motion for Beginners: Create a Preloader.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a Member and Create Custom Playlists

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of online learning video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Log in

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

You started this assessment previously and didn’t complete it.

You can pick up where you left off, or start over.

Resume Start over

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.