This tutorial comes from yesterday’s experience of trying to figure out a workflow to create smooth animated gifs using my favourite animator of the moment, Apple Motion Version 3.
Create any animation in Motion using any of your favourite behaviours or filters. Keep it short however, as u want to end up with the least amount of video frames needed to make the animation smooth (but the point of using Motion is u don’t have to worry so much about animations on a frame-by-frame basis, so don’t get caught up here). For example, the avatar linked above is just 30 frames at 10 frames per second, or 3 seconds of animation.
Tip: create all artwork in PS CS3 extended. If u don’t have extended, u have to ask yourself why. It’s worth the extra. Import that layered file into Motion and use those layers to construct the animation. For example, the eyes in the coo coo bird are on layers of their own, so they can be moved about. (Note: the bird here is a redraw of Sonny by Grim Natwick, who also created Betty Boop, one of the most talented animators ever, inmo...in loving memory of him, and with his success at General Foods.)
Export an animation sequence using that QuickTime option, and then import the image sequence into Photoshop CS3 extended. Open the animation palette and u will see your image sequence on a timeline, as Layer 1, altered video. Clicking play reveals the animation does not loop. This is as expected, but what to do if what you want is a LOOPING animated gif? Go to Step 3 to find out.
First you need to “Flatten Frames to Layers” and then click “Make layers from Frames.” See the upper right side of the animation palette for these (and other) options. Almost there…now click “Convert to Frame Animation” and u will see what you would expect when creating an animated gif using Photoshop. Note: you may see an empty blank frame #1, dunno why, dunna care, just delete it. You can now select the loop “forever” option on the lower left of the animation palette so your gif acts like all others. Your animation now plays just like it did in Quicktime, but with a loop! Save for Web & Devices in Gif format and ur done…
Well, I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial on creating animated gifs from Motion (which is by far much easier then doing it all in Photoshop) and feel free to share this information with anyone in need. If you indeed do put this tutorial on a DVD and sell to make the big bucks, kindly send me one or two, or better yet contact me for a collaboration, as I have many more unique tips regarding FCP Studio 2 and Adobe CS3 Master Suite.
JJ AKA Coocoo
Phoenix Studios: Small A/V Production House in Kathmandu