Create an animated signature
Welcome, in this tutorial you will learn the basics of the animation function of photoshop to create the following signature
This tutorial is made for photoshop cs3, in older versions you can’t create animations in photoshop and you will need to export your signature to imageready to create the animation. The steps in both photoshop and imageready remain the same, so you should be able to follow the tutorial even when you use imageready
To get stared we first need to create a signature which we can animate, not all signatures need animations so its a good idea to first decide what kind of signature you want.
My idea is to animate a gun so it looks like it is shooting.
Before we can start with the animation we first need to find a nice render and create our signature, so lets get started!
Creating the signature
First I searched for a render with some nice gun action on it and I found this great render cut out by Werewolf, since the focus of this tutorial is the animation I will keep the signature simple.
First I created the background by duplicating (right click on the layer > duplicate) the render a couple of times and moving the different layers around so it fills the whole background. Then I selected all the layers by using CTRL+Shift and I merged all the layers into one layer (right click on one of the selected layers > merge layers).
Now I added a simple Angled Strokes Filter to the layer (Filter > Filter Gallery > Brush Strokes > Angled Strokes) to finish our simple background:
Now add your main render, text, border and a bit of light on the top of your signature. I also added some C4D effect renders near the blast to spice up the explosion
Prepare your signature
Before we can start the animation we will need to prepare our signature for the animation.
We want the explosion/blast to become visible for like 0.1 second and than disappear again, so we need to be able to make the explosion layer invisible. We could of course just click on the icon in front of our render, but this would also make our character and gun dissapear, and we only want to blast to be gone
Thats why we need to cut out our blast from the original render and paste it on a new layer, to do this use the Lasso Tool (L) and with a feather of 0 make a selection on your render layer around the blast like this:
With the selection selected copy and paste the blast on a new layer, now press delete on your original render to remove the blast on that layer, now make your blast layer invisible (click on the eye in front of the layer) and it should look something like this:
You should now have the gun explosion on one layer and on another layer your render without the explosion.
Time to add the animation!
In photoshop go to Window > Animation and the following window should pop up:
Click on the icon I marked to create a frame animation.
1: Determines how long the selected frame is visible
2: You can switch between repeating the animation over and over, or just let it play once
3: Preview/stop your animation
4: Create a new frame by duplicating the selected frame
Select the first frame and set (1) to 2 seconds, this means that our first frame will be visible for two seconds.
With this frame selected click on the eye in front of the layer(or folder read below) where you have put your explosion on, this will make the explosion invisible on our first frame.
Organising your layers
When creating animations, or signatures in general it is usefull to rename your layers and organise layers that have the same function (for example: background, text, lighting) into the same folder.
As you can see I have added my explosion layers inside a folder called explosion effects, this way I can quickly enable and disable all explosion layers.
Now click on (4) to duplicate this frame, this time set the time for this frame on 0.1 seconds.
With the new frame selected click on the eye in front of the layer to make the explosion visible on this frame.
Now duplicate this last layer, leave the time on 0.1 seconds but this time make the explosion invisible again.
Repeat these steps a couple of times so you will have 3 layers of 0.1 seconds with the explosion visible, and in between these layers a layer of 0.1 seconds where the explosion is invisible.
If done right your animation menu should now look something like this:
Saving your animation
You will need to save your signature as a .gif file, if you save it as a .jpg or anything else the animation will be lost, so when saving your signature make sure you select to save it as .gif or your animation will not work and you will only see the first frame!
Now save your signature using File > Save for Web & Devices > save as .gif and it should look like this:
What you have learned in this tutorial
In this tutorial you learned how to open the animation menu and how the various functions in the animation menu work.
With this you learned how to create a simple animation by simply making a layer invisible and visible, of course you can do much more with animations so use your imagination and have fun!