Skip to content


Blurb Book

Animation in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial for Animation

Animation continued

Although your final animation must be produced in Photoshop you have many options of creating.

You may:

Scan hand drawn frames/other art(created by you)/objects and then work with them in Photoshop.

Import video footage (as stills) into Photoshop and re work them.

Work directly in Photoshop to create your animation and not include scanning or video.


How to set up your Photoshop document for your animation project:




Brent Green’s weird and wonderful work:


William Kentridge talks about process:


Helpful Hints

Scanning Tips

– Bringing flat art images into Photoshop for Video Use Whenever possible, start with a good quality image, and scan it two or four or more times larger than necessary (larger than the target resolution). For example, a corporate logo or other such art should be scanned at 300 dpi. Older photographs, or smaller, grainier images, should be scanned at 600 dpi or higher. Of course, these settings are way beyond what video really needs – 72 dpi. The extra pixels will be useful when adjusting sizes, adding motion, creating new backgrounds or transparencies, and when applying other special effects.

Extracting Elements from an Image

A very popular technique for video these days makes still photographs come alive on screen, showing a foreground subject moving against a static background. Adding small touches, like smoke rising from a cigarette, supports the deception and brings a realistic sense of motion to static images destined for video use.

Here’s one approach:
Use the Path Tool or Pen Tool to create an outline and select the figure in the foreground.

The Feather setting in the Select menu can be used to apply a softer edge.

Once the figure is cut from the background, paste it into a new foreground layer (a blank space in the background will be left, where the foreground element used to be.) In the layers palette, turn off the foreground element visibility and select the background layer. Use Photoshop’s Cloning Brush or Healing Brush, clone the background image into the edges of the blank area. When you move the foreground element in After Effects, for example, the background will appear complete and the cut will not show.

The Extract features is another approach:
Extract is very handy when you need remove a subject that’s surrounded other elements or textures, like a person standing in front of plants in the background, or even alongside people. Basically, a border is dragged-and-dropped around the selected element in an image; the area to be extracted is then filled.

To use Extract Image:
1. Open an image.
2. Select >Image >Extract (>Filter >Extract in CS) and a working dialog box will appear. 3. Select the pen (Edge Highlighter Tool) to draw around and highlight a border on the object to be extracted. 4. Use the bucket tool to fill the area that you want to keep. 5. Click preview and tweak the options to get the best results. Preview extracted images against backgrounds of different colors. Either the fill or the background can be highlighted by making choices in drop-down menu next to Show 6. Click OK and the chosen image will be isolated.7. Clean up the edges of the subject with the History Brush or the regular eraser. Experiment with brush size, border sharpness and the preview mode; even the tiniest detail, like a strand of hair or a leaf on a tree, can be included in or excluded from an image. An eraser and touch-up tool are also available.

Cutting Through the Background:

Whenever you want to cut or remove part of a comp background, one in which the background is a default color, just name it anything other than “Background” (the default name Photoshop applies)! Simply double click in the Layers palette; a dialog box for naming the “new Layer’ will appear.

Once it is renamed, any cuts or deletions to a selected area will become transparent to the background.

This is very handy for putting simple text or logos over video; or when creating masks and traveling mattes.

Images Get A Level Playing Field

Another important enhancement tool that you should use with every photo you plan on bringing to video is “levels.” Levels are the image adjustment tools in Photoshop that allow you to control the white, grays and blacks. Depending on the monitor you use, and the color space settings applied to your work, you may want to limit or otherwise control the display from Photoshop.

Select >Image >Adjust >Levels (or >Layer >New Adjustment Layer) to control and adjust the black and white levels in your image output.

The default Output is usually 0 and 255, as indicated by dialog boxes and two drag-able triangles. Most monitors will display images destined for TV more accurately with settings of 16 and 235.

Click on the preview box to quickly and easily see the overall corrections and adjustments.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to see exactly what pixels are being used for white and black adjustments. If so, hold down the Option key on Macs to show image threshold as you drag the slider back and forth. The image will be re-mapped in high contrast to help the differentiation.




For Homework


Produce two small QuickTime Movies.

Make one movie: tweening demo (bouncing ball)

Make the other movie: frame by frame demo (something of your choice)


To render a QuickTime movie:

File –> Export –> QuickTime Movie

Save as: yourlastname_lab1 / yourlastname_lab2

Place them in Dropbox in Lab Images.


These are just tests so that you become familiar with using the animation features in Photoshop.




A storyboard draw out, frame by frame, of your intended animation.

You may create this in Photoshop – but you must print it out.

Your entire animation must be present and accounted for.

If you plan on producing sound indicate that on the front page of your “flip book”


These sketches/Photoshop documents can be rough.

They do not need to be drawn perfectly.

But they MUST be a full representation of what you plan on making.

No exceptions.



I expect a tangible object that can be look at, discussed and evaluated.

Without this step you may not continue to your animation.


After Tuesday (15 November) you will begin your Photoshop animation outright.

Expect to work over/through Thanksgiving break and/or budget your time to account for the break.

Animation Guidelines

Animation Assignment

For the last project you must complete a PHOTOSHOP animation.

If you are working individually it must be 15-20 seconds in length.

If you are working as a pair (2) or a small group (no larger than 3) your completed animation must be 60 seconds in length.

Your animation must be 15 frames per second.

You must save your animation as QuickTime movie.

You will be handing in the final project on a USB thumb drive as well as placing in  Dropbox.

While I hope most of your frames are complex please rely on simple techniques to create movement.

The subject matter is up to you.

Choose a subject that holds your interest.

You will be working with/through it for a long time.

Your animation must be frame by frame.

You can use “tweening” as a tool within your animation not as your completed work.

If you are planning on rotoscoping from a movie file you must break the 1:1.

That means:

You cannot draw out the frames as they would be seen exactly from the raw footage.

You must alter the perspective, background, etc. in some way.

You must be creative and change the meaning.

*Your movie file must be original! That means that you took the footage yourself! You cannot use found footage, footage from the internet, or a friend’s movie clip.

You must be the sole creator of the footage.

Sound is not necessary; it is optional.

If you are interested in working with sound start to think of it “in dialogue” with your animation.

It should enhance the work not draw the attention away from the images.

All sound must be original. You must create it yourself.

Animation is repetitive work.

Pace yourself.

Start by doing some tests in Photoshop so you feel comfortable with the techniques.

If you have questions email me.

Writing Guidlines for Blurb Book /// Draft1



Two pages

Double spaced

12 point font

Times New Roman

About your series project.


•  This  text can be a narrative, poetic, an in-depth analysis of a larger social issue, etc.

•  It must link with your book’s conceptual backbone

InDesign for Blurb Book

InDesign lecture 1