Photoshop Animation Experiments #01

Lately, I’ve been exploring animation techniques using exclusively Photoshop. Ever since the new Timeline Panel was introduced in Photoshop CS6, I’ve tried to find new and inventive ways to create complex animations. Once I figured out that Smart Objects can hold animated keyframes, it became even easier to create seemingly complicated animations. Below, I will show you three separate animations and how I used Smart Objects to create them. Note: I am simulating 3D animation in these clips (I do not actually use the 3D features in Photoshop).

Paper Roll

A Closer Look:

As with any complicated animation, it’s important to beak down the components into simpler animations. My first step was to create a disc. Since Photoshop can only animate the position of a regular layer, I had to convert this into a Smart Object in order to animated the scale. At this point, I created a simple animation of a shrinking disc that moved to the left.

Paper Disc Demo

The unrolled paper trail was a simple trick. I created the shape of the paper and then keyframed it to move in sync with the disc.

Paper Trail Demo

Lastly, I put these pieces together to form the basic idea of my animation.

Paper Roll Demo


A Closer Look:

The animation started with drawing two shapes: a circle representing the face of the clock and the minute hand. I merged the shapes into a single layer to keep the animation simple. Then, it was a matter of converting the layer to a Smart Object in order to animate its rotation.

Clock Rotating Hand

Converting the layer into another Smart Object allowed me to transform the clock into perspective without affecting the rotation animation.

Clock Perspective

I repeated the same technique for the hour hand. I was able to use the Blending Options to make both hands appear on the clock.

Clock With 2 hands


A Closer Look:

I started with a square shape and converted it into a Smart Object. This allowed me to animate that shape’s rotation.

Cube Square

Similar to the Clock animation above, I converted this layer into another Smart Object and transformed the shape into perspective.

Cube Perspective

I duplicated the animated layer and positioned it to represent the top and bottom of my cube.

Cube Layers

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