Designing and Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion
Illustration by John Hersey

Exporting the final animated GIF file


From:

Designing and Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Exporting the final animated GIF file

In this movie we'll prepare and export the final animated GIF file. Now the first thing that we need to is set up this animation so that it repeats endlessly, and you do that by dropping down to this item that says Once in the bottom left corner of the Timeline panel. Go ahead and click on it, and choose Forever, and that way this animation will repeat over and over again. And to test it, you can either go ahead and click on that Play button down here at the bottom of the panel, or you can press the space bar.
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Watch the Online Video Course Designing and Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion
1h 26m Intermediate Aug 14, 2014

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Learn what it takes to design your own mind-bending illusion, in this installment of Designs dekeConstructed—the series that breaks down popular graphic designs and show you how to re-create them on your own. Deke starts out by drawing an "impossible" Penrose triangle and a golden ball in Adobe Illustrator. Next, he plots a path for the ball to follow around the triangle. Last, he moves to Photoshop, where he shows you how to animate the ball with a combination of layer masks and the timeline.

Topics include:
  • Creating an "impossible" triangle with hexagons and gradients
  • Drawing and filling the golden ball
  • Drawing the path of the ball
  • Creating frames as layers
  • Animating your artwork in Photoshop
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Exporting the final animated GIF file

In this movie we'll prepare and export the final animated GIF file. Now the first thing that we need to is set up this animation so that it repeats endlessly, and you do that by dropping down to this item that says Once in the bottom left corner of the Timeline panel. Go ahead and click on it, and choose Forever, and that way this animation will repeat over and over again. And to test it, you can either go ahead and click on that Play button down here at the bottom of the panel, or you can press the space bar.

And as soon as it makes its entire loop, right there it's going to go ahead and replay. Now, assuming that everything looks good, and you're not having any stumbling blocks, you can go ahead and tap that space bar again in order to stop the playback and now what you want to do is return to the very first frame, whether by scrolling to it and clicking on it, or you can click on the select first frame icon. Then we'll go ahead and scroll all the way to the end of the animation and Shift + click on it. And notice this duration interval right here that's set to zero seconds, go ahead and click on any one of them It's going to affect every single frame, and you want to choose Other.

And the idea here is that if you don't set some sort of delay, which serves as a kind of frame rate, then it'll play differently inside of every browser on the planet. So what we're looking for is a delay that equates to 24 frames per second, and if you get a calculator and you divide the number one, just enter one, hit divide, and then hit 24, you'll end up with this value right here, 0.04, and so that's what we want for the delay. You'll end up with the value of 0.04.

So go ahead and enter that value into the set delay field and then click okay, and you'll see that value represented at the bottom of each and every frame. All right, now, you want to go up to the file menu and choose the Save for Web command. In order to bring up the Safe for Web dialogue box, as soon as you can, make sure that the file format is set to GIF. You also want to set the second option to selective, you want the number of colors to be maxed out to 256, and you want to change the dither algorithm from diffusion as by default to noise, which is going to give you a lot better result.

Now, I've already set things up in advance, so I'll just go ahead and click off this option in order to hide it. You can have transparency turned on or off. I actually recommend that you go ahead and turn that check box off in order to get the smallest results possible. And that's going to require Photoshop to go ahead and recalculate all the frames. Now, if you'd like to go ahead and preview the effect, you can click on the play button here inside the dialogue box, and that'll give you a sense for whether things are playing back smoothly, and it'll show any weird, sort of, anomalies that are happening inside that GIF file.

But, in my case, everything looks great. So, I'll go ahead and click the stop button, in order to stop the playback, and then I'll click on the save button, in order to save off my animation. And I am going to go ahead and change the name of this file to one that I have copied in advance, which is ball travels around impossible triangle, and that way we have a detailed and discoverable name in the event that we post this file to the web. And now to save the file, I'll go ahead and click on this save button, and it will take a moment to generate every single one of those 252 frames.

But you'll know Photoshop has done its thing as soon as it hides the Save for Web dialog box. And now, lets take a look at what Photoshop's come up with by switching over to the folder that contains this new file, and then I'll go ahead and click on it to select it, and I'll right click, on the file and I'm working from the standard Windows Explorer here on the PC. On the Mac you would be looking at a finder folder. And now go ahead and choose open with and I'm going to open this GIF file with Google Chrome, but you can choose any browser that you like and if you're not seeing the application you want, then you can choose the default program.

But in my case we're going to switch to Chrome as we're seeing here. And that friends is how you use Photoshop to export a mind bending animated optical illusion to a smooth playing GIF file.

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