Join Owen Lowery for an in-depth discussion in this video Animating layers in the Photoshop Timeline, part of Motion Graphics Loops 01: Photoshop Techniques.
- View Offline
- [Voiceover] There are a few different methods for animating hand-drawn elements in Photoshop. I'll often combine different techniques into a single Timeline for looping animations. I'll start this animation by using separate Layers in my video Timeline for each of my frames. This is often referred to as the Layer method or Layer animation in Photoshop. Let's start by hitting Command Minus (-) so my Photoshop document is small and centered within my composition and I can see everything that I'll be animating on. I'll go ahead and move the Timeline indicator back to the start of the Timeline and now it's time to select my Brush.
I'll go over to the Brush tool here, click on it, and I'll go up to the Brush tool settings and I want to find something that looks really grungy and very hand-drawn style. Right here, this one that is 27, it looks like it'll be pretty good, let's take a look at how that looks. First, I want to make sure my Brush color is set to black by clicking on the color here and picking it, and I'll select Layer1 just to make sure I have a Layer selected, and I'm going to draw a quick little floor for reference before I start drawing my bouncy ball animations.
Click, hold down Shift, that looks pretty good. A little bit rough around the edges, just how I like it. All right, I'm going to rename Layer1 by double clicking on it and renaming it Floor. I'm now going to go to my Layer window and create a new Layer and I'm going to call this one Ball 01. Notice that everything that I do in the Layer window corresponds with everything that's happening in the Timeline window.
I'm going to lock off the Floor Layer by selecting it and clicking on the little lock icon here and then I'll select Ball 01 and I will go ahead and draw my first circular ball which I do not like. I accidentally have my Guides right here and when I tried to draw a circle it actually locked to the Guide right there and that's not what I want to happen. So I'm going to go ahead into my View menu and under Show I'm going to get rid of Guides, I'll uncheck that, that way this won't happen.
I'm also going to go back to my Brush tool and go all the way back to the Lock Layer in my History panel, now we're back to where we started. All right, Ball 01, let's draw a quick circle, looks good. Don't need to worry about it too much, that's perfect. I'm going to go ahead down and make another Layer, name this one Ball 02 and I'm going to quickly click on Ball 01 and I'm going to make this down to about 30% opacity by hitting V 3 on my keyboard.
And if you notice, I'm going to hit Command to zoom in a little bit, hold down the Space bar to zoom in, we can see that we only see a little bit of Ball 01's outline now. I'm going to make sure I actually have Ball 02 selected, I'm going to hit B on my keyboard to go back to my Brush tool. And since I want to use a little bit of squash and stretch instead of having it just jump up I'm going to go ahead and kind of use this to have it stretch out little bit, that looks pretty good. I'm going to go ahead and hit V 3 again to make that one a little bit transparent, create a new Layer, call this Layer Ball 03, hit B on my keyboard to go back to the Brush tool, and I might do one more, a little more squashed out, wobbly little ball looking one.
Looks pretty good. Hit V 3, going to go ahead and make another new Layer, make this one Ball 04, I'll hit B again on my keyboard, now it's going to kind of more quickly stretch out and start jumping through the air. I'm going to Command Minus (-) so I can see my whole Timeline again. Now I'm going to repeat this process and make my actual bouncy ball bounce all the way up into the air and kind of turn into a rectangle or a square because bouncy ball wants to be a square and then fall back down and form right back into the bouncy ball.
I'm going to go through these a bit quickly, you just follow along with your own animation. At this point I've created most of my animation or at least a good chunk of it so I'm going to go ahead and turn off the eyeballs and a lot of these lower balls so I can only see the last few frames and what's going on. Although I'm going to keep Ball 01 right where it is just for a reference. All right, so now Ball 11, I have it looking a little more square and it's kind of twirling a little bit as it falls back down to the ground, I'll hit V 3 again, then click on a new Layer, Ball 12, hit B on my keyboard, have it giving a little bit of stretch there, I'll hit V 3, bring it back down to 30% opacity, create another new Layer, Ball 13.
At this point it's about to come back in contact with the floor so I'll make it start to squish, I'll hit B on my keyboard for the Brush tool since it's coming back down, looking okay there, V 3, create another new Layer, Ball 14, click on it, hit B for Brush tool. I'm going to go ahead and turn off a few of these eyeballs again so I can kind of just see a reference between what's just behind it.
All right, V 3, create a new Layer, Ball 15, hit the Brush tool again, squish it down a little bit and at this point since I want to go a little faster I'll stop creating the Layers at 30% opacity and just create the new Layers for the last few at full opacity, Ball 16. I'll make this one got to come up, bounce again a little bit, create a new Layer, Ball 17, good, Ball 18.
And for this last one, since I want it to line up almost perfectly with my first frame of animation, I'll turn off all the eyeballs except for the first and previous and I'll actually go to Ball 01 and change its opacity from 30% all the way back up to a 100% so I can kind of see what I'm doing. And for Ball 18 I will go ahead and create something that is just a little bit off from a little bit squished but will line right back up to that when I make a loop.
All right, I'm going to hit V to go back to my Move tool. I'm going to go ahead and click, and select, and drag down so I can enable all the visuals on all of these Layers. Let's go ahead and make sure they're all filled in and then I'm going to click Ball 01 to Ball 18 and I'll change the opacity by clicking on this up here, just kind of click and drag it so it affects all of them back to 100% then I can close it up. So it looks like a bit of a mess up here, just one big, amalgamate of a bunch of lines.
So now what we need to do is go into our Timeline and I'm going to go ahead and click and drag it here so I can see more of it, I'll hit Command Minus (-) so the Photoshop document's a little bit smaller. And what I need to do now is I need to take all of these different Layers and I need to shorten them so they're just a frame long because each of these is supposed to be one frame. So I need to both shorten them and start to distribute them along the Timeline. So this can take a little bit of time because, if you'll notice, I'll select Ball three here, hold down Shift and select up to Ball six and if I go to the end it won't let me drag multiple at the same time.
Headachesville, right? So instead what I'll do is I'll just click Ball 03, I'll scroll up to the top of my Timeline, hold down Shift, select Ball 18, and I'll go ahead and move my Timeline indicator over just one frame. And I can do that using either the arrow keys or clicking and dragging so I'll just put it back to the front of the Timeline and just use the arrow keys and click once over so it's only one frame. And to save some time I'll go up to my menu here and I'll go to Split at Playhead, click on that, and what that does is it splits all of these into two different Layers and I can just go ahead and click and delete these multiple longer Layers that are way longer than one frame.
And it's just a bit faster than clicking and dragging each and every one of these. So now all I'm going to do is take these and distribute them along the Timeline, frame by frame, and then I'll scroll to the bottom and I'll bring my floor so it's just about the same amount of frames as the top here and I can actually do this by going ahead and closing the work area to the amount of frames I have which is 18 and then dragging the floor to match.
Okay, I'm going to close this up a little bit, drag it close, hit Command Plus ( ) so this is a little bigger. And now if I hit the Play button, oh yeah, we've got a bouncy ball with one little error going on right towards the beginning. So right here, what we're seeing, that little glitch sometimes happens when it's trying to render and preview the animation. So a lot of times you can solve that by either just slowly moving over this frame by frame to see your animation or by turning an eyeball off of a Layer and back on where that animation or glitch is happening.
All right, so now if we preview this we've got a little, loopy ball animation, jumping in the air, trying to be a square but not. To finish up this video, just to organize things a little bit more, I'm going to create a new folder in my Layer window by going down and clicking on the folder icon down here. It's going to make a new Group, I'm going to double click on that and name it Bouncy Ball. I'll go ahead and move this all the way to the top of my Layer window, then select Ball 18, hold down Shift, scroll down to select all the way to Ball one, so I select all these Layers then I can click, and drag, and drop this into Bouncy Ball and close that up.
And if you notice, our Timeline is a lot neater, a lot simpler, and if we want to look at these different Layers and animate or change them we just have to twirl this open and we can move these around, or redraw, or reposition, or retime as needed. And there we have our first bit of looping animation, a bouncy ball that desperately wants to be square.
- Working with the Photoshop Timeline panel and video layers
- Animating frame by frame in Photoshop
- Exporting animation and other media types to animated GIFs
- Preparing After Effects animation loops for Photoshop