Photoshop Animation Basics

Hello everyone, Amy here at School of Motion,
welcome to part one of our cell animation and Photoshop series. These five videos will give you a jumpstart
into the art of doing animation the old fashioned way. Real quick, we’d like to thank Wacom for being
an amazing supporter of School of Motion, and for making the Cintiq a beautiful tool
that makes this sort of animation much easier to do. Today we’re gonna cover the basics, we’ll
install a Photoshop extension called AnimDessin and then we’ll see how to make a Squigglevision
style gif. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started. Alright everyone, so let’s get started with
frame by frame animation in Photoshop. Photoshop wasn’t really made with animation
in mind, so there’s an extension that we’re gonna go and grab from the Adobe Exchange
that makes animating in Photoshop a lot easier. You’re gonna go up to Window, and Browse Extensions
Online. And then you’re going to close Photoshop while
we’re installing this or it might give you an error. Alright so that should’ve brought you over
to this Adobe Add-ons area. Once you’re here you’re going to go down to
the search bar and you’re going to type in Anim, A-N-I-M, dessin, D-E-S-S-I-N. That will bring you to the AnimDessin 2 extension. You’re gonna click on that guy and hit Install. And that’s all you should have to do. It will automatically sync through your Creative
Cloud account. So now that that’s installed we can actually
go back into Photoshop and start working on stuff. The first thing we’re gonna do is we’re gonna
load that extension that we just installed. To do that you just go to Window, Extensions,
AnimDessin 2. That will bring up this little panel here. The first thing, we’ll open the Timeline using
this key here. Most of you haven’t even seen the Timeline
yet. But here it is, it exists. I like to dock mine over onto the left side
because I’m on a Cintiq and I have a lot of screen real estate to work with. When I was on a normal 1080 monitor, I actually
just kinda kept it at the bottom here. Just put it wherever it’s comfortable for
you. The other thing that I like to do is I like
to tear off my layers pallet because I do access this a lot and sometimes I like to
move it around the screen with me while I’m working. You can setup your workspace however you want. I’m actually going to load a preset that I
have saved off for myself. So let’s talk about frames here. This is the first, very important step to
being able to animate really cool stuff in Photoshop is we just need to know how to add
frames and how the exposure time of those frames effects the way our animation is going
to look. The best way to figure that out is just to
kinda get in there and do it. For those of you with a free student account,
I’ve created this Photoshop document that you can download. What’s up with these lines? If you feel so inclined, you can actually
count the lines and you’ll see that there’s 24 of them here or you can just kind of trust
me that I didn’t screw this up and there are 24. We’re gonna go over to our, in our Timeline
we have this little dropdown menu here, we’re gonna go and do Set Timeline Frame Rate. If you look, Photoshop defaults to 30 frames
per second, well we want to be at the animation frame rate of 24 frames per second. One line for each frame. We’re actually gonna start adding frames and
we need 24 frames on ones to make one second of animation. How do we actually start doing that? You’re gonna go up and hit New One Frame Exposure. We’re gonna draw a little ball here. But if you look, it says I can’t do it. And that’s because the current time is outside
of the range for the target layer which is Photoshop’s fancy way of saying that our time
slider here needs to be moved back so that it’s over this frame. ‘Cause right now it’s trying to read a frame
that doesn’t exist. We’re gonna hit our arrow keys. The left arrow, more specifically, to go back
in time and we’re gonna see that it’s not working. Because those aren’t turned on by default. So we need to go over to the AnimDessin panel
and hit Timeline Shortcut Keys On/Off. Now we should be able to hit our left arrow
to go back a frame. Or if you need to go forward you hit our right
arrow. Real easy. Now we can actually draw just a little simple
circle or if you wanna go crazy with it, draw a line, draw X’s, whatever you want. But I’m gonna stick with circles because they’re
the easiest to see in this case. You just draw a ball right above this line,
that is frame one. Since we’re gonna be doing ones, or one frame
exposures first, we’re gonna hit another one frame exposure. We’re gonna drop this down onto here. And that’s gonna create a video group. Video groups are like containers that hold
all of our frames so that Photoshop can play them back sequentially to make an animation. We’re just gonna name this as ones. And we’re gonna keep drawing but now we can’t
see where our ball was previously in the frame before and that’s kinda important because
we need to be able to line this up so that our ball’s not kinda all over the place when
we’re drawing these. We’re actually gonna turn on our Onion Skins. Onion Skins give us the ability to be able
to be on different frames and actually see the frames before and after that current frame
that you’re on. If we actually open our Onion Skin Settings
you can see we’ll have frames before, frames after, and then our blend mode. I’m going to leave this on Photoshop’s default
setting of Multiply and then I’m just gonna draw my next frame. It’s okay if you need to Control Z and redo
things a couple of times just to get it looking right. I’m just gonna make another frame and you’ll
see this time it’ll just add it right after the other ones. I’m just gonna continue going all the way
across here, one dot above each of these lines. I should end up with 24 layers when I’m done. So you might be wondering why I’m drawing
all of these dots out instead of just using like the Lasso tool and duplicating these
frames and then transforming them. It’s just because I wanna get some practice
in drawing, even though these are relatively simple shapes, later on we’re going to get
into some more complex stuff and that’s where all of this practice drawing really comes
in handy. There you have it, we now have 24 frames up
here. If you look up at our Timeline, that is one
second of animation right there. I’m gonna set our Work Area End at that 24th
frame and we’re going to turn our Onion Skins off and we’re gonna play this back really
quick just by hitting the Play button or the space bar. And there you go, you’ve just animated something. This is just one frame exposures again. And now we’re gonna go ahead and we’re gonna
go back and we’re actually going to do the twos. What are these twos? The short answer to this is that on ones,
each drawing is being displayed for only one frame so we had to draw it 24 times. On twos, each frame is being displayed for
two frames, so we’re only going to have to draw each frame of animation 12 times. Now let’s add some two frame exposures. Don’t select that, just hit New Two Frame
Exposure, make sure you’re not selected on this or it will try and add it somewhere in
that group sometimes. We’ve added our new two frame exposure. We’re going to go back. We’ll pick a different color. Say, orange this time. And this time, we’re only going to draw every
other line. We’ll start here. We’ve got our orange ball, we’ll add another
two frame exposure, and look, it skipped this line here. We wanna draw it above every other frame,
so all of these dashed lines here. Again, I’m gonna have to do this to make our
video group. We’ll name twos. We can turn our Onion Skins on again for the
same reason we did before, so that we can see things and keep things in line. And now we’re gonna go through and just draw
underneath every other one of those dashed lines. You’re gonna notice we’re gonna end one spot
on here shy of the ones, and that’s okay because we only needed half as many frames, so only
12 frames, to get here, and that is exactly where it would end. No worries that this frame of travel gets
clipped off. We can turn our Onion Skins off. Let’s play this back, and you notice right
away how different these two feel. This one at the bottom, the twos, has a more
steppy kind of feel to it. This is actually more commonly used in most
animation, like Looney Toons and things like that. Everything is done, or most things are done
on twos. That’s because it’s a huge time saver, that
was half the amount of effort, but it still looks good and when you’re doing animation
it still plays back nicely. The difference between the two is, in use
at least, is typically with the ones, you’re gonna see this for more fluid and fast traveling
stuff, capes and liquid and drops and things like that, that’s where you’re going to use
your ones for. Your twos are pretty much gonna be used for
everything else when you’re animating things. Unless you want that super, super smooth look,
and then you can do every single frame. That’s the difference in how ones and twos
look. Now we can actually get into really cool stuff,
like animating a gif that’s looping in a Squigglevision style. So now that we have that very basic foundation
of just how to add frames going for us, we can actually start to do much cooler stuff. Like I said, with that gif that we’ll create
now. To do that, we’re actually gonna create a
document from scratch this time. We don’t have to open our Timeline panel because
that’s already up so let’s do a New Document Scene. This time, AnimDessin’s actually gonna bring
up our Timeline Frame Rate for us so we can just set it right here instead of going into
that menu. We’ll stick with 24. The other thing AnimDessin is gonna do for
us at this point since we made a new document through that is it’s going to create this
video layer for us and actually add a one frame exposure in there. If we zoom in, there’s our tiny little one
frame. There it is, one frame. If we wanted to stick with twos, all we have
to do is increase that frame exposure by one and now we have our two frame exposure like
before. I wanna change my document size too. I wanna get this to be square. I’m gonna do 1080 by 1080. And hit Okay, and we don’t care about the
clipping in this case. Let’s actually make a candle with like a flame
that’s doing this Squigglevision-y flickering thing. Squigglevision is a great example of just
how a slight shift in your line work can actually have a dramatic effect on the appearance of
something when it’s going one frame at a time. We’re going to make our candle base, and for
that I just want a normal layer in Photoshop. I’m just gonna make a new layer and it’s gonna
drop it, I actually want it below my animation. We’ll drop it down there and we’ll call this
our candle base. I’m gonna pick a color, I’m gonna do this
purple, and I’m just gonna quickly draw kind of a loose sketchy candle over here. We just kind of a have a nice, fun, loose
candle hanging out over here, doesn’t have to be anything super realistic, we can just
have something fun and stylized for this. And before we actually start animating, let’s
take a quick look at some drawing tips that will help you get the same look for this candle
that I did. Let me show you something really quick. You see these two lines here, and if you notice,
this top line is just kind of uniform, and there’s not a whole lot of variation to it. Whereas the one on the bottom has much more
variation. We start with a thinner stroke and then we’re
moving over to this thicker stroke. That’s something called line quality. Basically it’s a variation in how your line
looks. And this is what really brings an illustration
to life. It makes it more dynamic to look at because,
let’s face it, looking at something that has a uniform stroke all the time is actually
pretty boring. So the way we’re gonna get this look in Photoshop
is you’re going to have to make sure that you have some sort of pressure sensitive tablet
or in my case I’m using the Cintiq. You’re going to go up to the Brush Options
panel, sometimes they’re docked over here on the side, other times you’re actually going
to have to go into Window and Brush. And then you’ll see that this comes up. And then we’re gonna make sure that Shape
Dynamics is turned on and you’re going to want your Control to be Pen Pressure. And then you also need to make sure that this
little toggle switch up here is turned on, ’cause that’s what’s gonna control this globally. That’s all you have to do to get it set up
to work, and then you just have to practice a bunch with varying how hard you are pressing
on the screen or the tablet. And it’s as simple as that. We can just have something fun and stylized
for this. We’re gonna go back into our Animation layer,
and we’re going to draw a flame on it. Let’s pick our orange color. Just draw that first frame. So we’ve got our first frame drawn out and
now we’re going to do another two frame exposure like we did before, turn on our Onion Skins,
and draw a second frame. We don’t have to be real precise while we’re
drawing this. We just kinda wanna get close-ish but not
too dramatically off from where we’re at to give it a nice, squiggly kind of wiggly feel
to it. I’m going to do 12 frames of this. I’ll just keep going on twos so that I have
a complete one second animation going. So now we have all 12 of those frames drawn. We can turn our Onion Skins off. Let’s zoom out here. So we can see everything. Zoom out even more, there we go. We’ll end our work area. Let’s hit Play. So there you go. It’s squiggly and it’s wiggly and it’s moving. I was just going really fast and loose with
that line work, and for something like this that’s really stylized, this totally works. This isn’t really looping, we’re getting a
pop here when it’s coming back to the beginning. If we wanted to make this thing loop, we want
it to go from all the way up here and then come back to the beginning. The easiest way to do this is to take our
animation and we’re actually going to duplicate this, but we have to put it into a group first. Let’s group it. We’ll do Control G to group. We’ll call this Fire. And if you look, this is now a solid line,
kinda like you would see in an AfterEffects timeline layer. This just makes it easier to grab things and
slide them around instead of having to select a whole giant range of frames and try and
grab them and move them back and forth. Let’s get this thing to ping pong back the
other way now. So we’ll duplicate our Fire group. Slide this over. And we wanna zoom in so we can see a bit better
and then move our work area over. Now of course if we play this back, it’s just
gonna cycle through like it did before. We need to reverse these layers. Layer 12, which would be this end frame, is
all the way back at the beginning here. Let’s move all of these so that layer one
will be at the top. And layer 12 will be at the bottom. I wanted to point out really quick, in your
Timeline, even though this is kinda at the top of your layers stack, it’s your last frame
and over here, frame one corresponds to this end. So whatever’s at the bottom of your layers
stack is going to be the first frame that it plays and whatever’s at the top will be
the last frame. Let’s flip these guys around. Now it will go forward and then it’ll go all
the way back to the beginning. Why are we getting these weird pauses here? That’s because we didn’t really make our loop
seamless. Technically what it’s doing since we left
frames one and 12 in this second group is we now have a four frame hold each time. If we check this out, this would be frame
12 and it’s playing for two frames. And here’s frame 12 again for a second set
of two frames. We don’t want that if we’re trying to get
something to loop nicely. Drop out frame 12. And then the same thing’s gonna happen at
frame one because this is doing the same deal here, playing for two frames and then two
more frames, creating that four frame hold. We don’t want that so we will delete that
out. And sure we ended up dropping a couple frames
off the end here but that’s okay in this instance. We will just nudge that back and now our candle
flame continuously cycles back and forth in kind of like a ping pong type of expression
here. Little bit of AfterEffects came out in me. It’s ping ponging back and forth and looping. We’re gonna say that we’re totally happy with
this right now and we’re going to see how to export a gif. We’ll go up to File. And then we’re gonna do, I believe it’s Export,
yup. And it’s in 2015, Save for Web has been moved
to a legacy item under this Export feature. It used to be out in the normal menu here
as Save for Web in 2014. Well for some reason you can’t export a gif
using this new Export As feature. I don’t know why but that’s what they chose
to do. You’re gonna go to Save For Web Legacy. If you’re in 2015. That’s where you’re gonna find all of your
gif options. We select gif. We don’t need the dither which is that noise
stuff, I think I said that right, maybe I didn’t, but we don’t need the noise in there. We’re gonna stick with 256 colors. We can kinda zoom out so we can see our whole
thing. The other thing I’m gonna mention is that
our looping options are always defaulted to once, so we want this to go on and on forever. And then once you’ve got all of that set up
you’re just going to hit Save. And then save it out to wherever you would
like. So that’s it for lesson one, now go make something. We wanna see what you came up with. Send us a tweet to @ScoolofMotion with the
hashtag SOMSquiggles so we can check it out. Make sure you sign up for a free student account
so you can access the project files for this lesson and from other lessons on the site. And you’ll also get a couple of other cool
perks like weekly MoGraph updates and exclusive discounts. I hope you all had a lot of fun with this
lesson and I’ll see you in the next one.


  1. Joel Akeldama August 11, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    One annoying thing that happens to me when I use my "step back" hotkey (I don't use undo, I like going back more than once), is that the cursor of the current time frame (blue peg with the red line going through the timeline) goes back to the previous frame as well, so I end up drawing in the previous frame without even realizing it.

    Any way that I can avoid that? Or keep it where it is?

  2. Huy Le August 14, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you! This series is very very useful. I've learnt a lot from it.

  3. German Andres Moreno Rojas September 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Is this extension still compatible with cc 2017? it doesnt load!

  4. SAINT200690 October 18, 2017 at 12:44 am

    hey Im searcching AnimDessin2 but its saying 0 Items? & I just paid for it?

  5. Moki October 25, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I have a problem, when i click at onion skin nothing happens ? 😀

  6. gawslin December 24, 2017 at 4:22 am

    I can't for the life of me get Animdessin, I instal it, but once I'm in photoshop it won't show up in extensions. I need help!

  7. Nativefall December 31, 2017 at 12:15 am

    Add on doesnt appear

  8. Michelle Wallace January 23, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I like your tutorial speed and how you show which parts to click and all that stuff, but I don’t think AnimDessin exists anymore. 🙁 I hope your other videos still apply.

  9. Carole Boudreau February 13, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    I also can't seem to upload AnimDessin. Photoshop won't reconized it.

  10. Carole Boudreau February 13, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    I couldn't install at first with both creative cloud and extension manager but I was able to open it with

    Open ZXPInstaller, select AnimDessin2_CC17.zxp, Restart Ps > Window > Extensions > AnimDessin2

  11. RedDirtAlley Photography March 6, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    GREAT tutorial Amy! I can't seem to get AnimDessin2 to install in PS CC 2019 🙁 I've tried all of the variations on the Adobe Creative Cloud Add-on page and nothing works. Do you know of any updates or workarounds for the newest PP CC update? Thanks for the great animation tuts!

  12. Sidsel Johansen March 22, 2018 at 10:23 am

    This worked for me 🙂

    How to Install in CC 2017 – Version 2.1.0
    April 03, 2017 – by Myles Robinette

    Open ZXPInstaller, select AnimDessin2_CC17.zxp, Restart Ps > Window > Extensions > AnimDessin2

  13. _Happy _Days_ March 29, 2018 at 3:25 am

    i cant unpload a gif to youtube…

  14. Alan Nakano April 16, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    love you guys!

  15. Ahmed Zeyada May 10, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    amazing thank you

  16. Pooru Animations by Paul Gonzalez May 17, 2018 at 12:04 am

    I have a question. How do you use camera work on Photoshop? Please respond my comment

  17. Billy May 21, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Hey everyone who is having trouble downloading! follow this link: and copy it to the extension manager and you'll be good to go.

  18. Ghostah Edits May 23, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    would you recemend using photoshop to animate or to use animate cc and why thanks

  19. malcolmricci June 5, 2018 at 9:03 am

    This seemed to be the only way that I managed to successfully install AnimDessin 2:

    Download this Extension Manager:

    Then download this package from GitHub:

    Use the extension manager to install Animdessin 2 and AnimCouleur too 🙂

  20. Viskit July 20, 2018 at 5:45 am

    AnimDessin is giving me a heartburn

  21. coldguy420 Oh, okay September 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I keep getting the message "could not use the brush tool because the current time is outside the range of the target layer" any help would be appreciated 🙂

  22. Cathrine’s Art November 22, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    i cant open the first website, it just says "not found". what do i do?

  23. Isaac Munslow November 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    She really sounds like Ali from college humour

  24. Harmony Sweet November 24, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Hey, thanks a lot for this video! Can I just ask which brush are you using for the candle because the lines have a really nice look.

  25. Julia December 2, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I just want to start my YouTube Chanel

  26. CESAR RODRIGUEZ MONTIEL December 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

    I can only draw stick figures, and for that reason i'm out 😂 – Sharks

  27. Jeremy Shuback December 11, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    How to install:
    1. Download Extension Manager (
    2. goto (
    3. download AnimDessin2_CC17.zxp file
    4. Open Extension Manager
    5. Drag AnimDessin2_CC17.zxp file to Extension Manager
    6. Installation success!!!
    Have fun and create some great animation.

  28. Aron Brand January 12, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    this doesn't work for PS CC 2019?

  29. SĦȺĐɆ February 18, 2019 at 3:33 am

    I don't understand why you can't just use Animate CC.

  30. Meiko Namo February 21, 2019 at 10:42 am

    where can i get photoshop?

  31. Jeste Nobody March 2, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Does this work with Photoshop CC?

  32. Amr Soliman March 8, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Hi can i do that without animdessin ?

  33. Drawn To Life March 28, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    I'm guessing this does not work for Photoshop cs6? I sadly don't have cc and can't actually afford to pay for a monthly subscription.

  34. MotoQuick April 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm


  35. Geso Kraft April 29, 2019 at 6:14 am

    эи вы не русские!

  36. juneru May 20, 2019 at 4:48 am

    anyone else completely unaware photoshop had animation abilities???

  37. Pollyzoom Allen May 22, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    I can not get Photoshop CC to even load this. Too bad.

  38. ANA PORTILLA May 22, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Which Cintiq are you working with? which one do you recommend?

  39. Vinyl Rebel May 24, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Doesn't work…have tried everything I could, not found in my extensions folder, uninstalled 4 times…nothing. This doesn't work.

  40. Iluvrocket May 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    HA HA I got that shirt too

  41. Aidan Daniels June 2, 2019 at 2:52 am

    I like your Michigan accent

  42. Outline _ June 5, 2019 at 7:53 am

    the 64 dislikes were an accident

  43. MissMaddyMakes June 10, 2019 at 4:46 am

    Hi! I was wondering what extension I need to get using the most updated photoshop? I tried getting the extension in the tutorial but it's too outdated

  44. BeeBunn 678 June 16, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    A tablet? I cannot afford one of those.. All i have is a pc and a mouse i wish i had a pen

  45. Metal Zboy June 17, 2019 at 4:26 am

    This is how you do things the hard way…lame

  46. Victor Multanen July 3, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    thanks a lot for this lesson!

  47. Visual Music Animaciones August 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    please spanish!!!!

  48. Dan Walter August 31, 2019 at 12:41 pm


  49. Yordi Habesha September 14, 2019 at 9:10 am
    Crate your own animation

  50. tsundere lim October 7, 2019 at 1:59 am

    I really need help w my pen setting, my drawings look like a pixel. Is there a way i can make my drawings to not look like a pixel?? Pleaze help mE!

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