Drawing Class Lesson 3: Animating with Photoshop

Once you’ve finished your sequences I will begin to start showing you how to animate them in Photoshop. Now, you may be thinking, “Animating stuff in photoshop sucks!” and you’re kind of right. It can be a pain in the ass. There’s a lot of different ways to animate your hand drawn sequences and I don’t care if you use Adobe Premiere, Flash, or Imovie. But, and this is a big but, you’ve also have to be able to do some “Onion Skinning” which is a process where you can manipulate the opacity of each layer so certain elements stay in alignment.

So what’s onion skinning? According to Wikipedia “Onion skinning is a 2D computer graphics term for a technique used in creating animated cartoons and editing movies to see several frames at once. This way, the animator or editor can make decisions on how to create or change an image based on the previous image in the sequence.”

Back in the day this was done by drawing on semi transparent paper, or on a light box.

Now it’s done by taking down the opacity on layers which can be manipulated individually in Photoshop.

Take a look at this tutorial to see how to start using the animation window in Photoshop.

Now that you’ve got all of your frames imported into Photoshop I want you to manipulate each frame and start lining them up one by one. If you skip this step your animation will look bouncy and you won’t achieve a proper flow.

If you are still having trouble figuring out how to onion skin and animate in photoshop check out this great tutorial here.

The drawings can be scanned at school, however be aware that with 12 students, each of which will be scanning multiple drawings that this will take quite some time. If you’ve got access to a scanner then scan them at home.