Animation in PhotoShop

The question was asked in class…

How to you make an animation…

Tween, ease out, ease in… Animation in Photoshop

Those are all animation terms…

1. Understanding Tweening in Photoshop

Tweening is a process that makes a series of frames in a video or animation. It is derived from the animation term “betweening”, mathematically it’s known as interpolation. In each frame the object being tweened is either being moved slightly or some effect has been applied to it.
Easement (ease in and ease out) refers to the kinematics or motion of the object being tweened… speeding up (ease out), or slowing down (ease in). The more frames “between” a beginning and ending of something moving, the smoother the motion! In Television there are 29.5 frames in every second and in the movies there are 24 frames per second. The Saturday TV cartoons, get away with as little as 5 “tweens” per second!


1 tennis ball, search the internet for “sports balls, clip art” or draw your own character! You can download this image…

Make a blank page…

If you are making a video for your widescreen TV or monitor, choose a “size” that fits the aspect ratio… An HD TV has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 Pixels, an old TV’s resolution is 720 x 480 pixels. Monitors vary, Scale accordingly…

Exporting for video is actually more problematic than just choosing the right “resolution”. In video/TV the pixels are NOT square. So if you are exporting for play back on a TV you need to make some conversions…

You can choose the correct aspect ratio using the following menu and choosing the pixel aspect ratio D1/ DV NTSC Widescreen (1.21)

Viseo aspect rattios 

I’m using 412 x 262 SQUARE pixels, one quarter the size of my Monitor. The layers panel is toggled on and off with the F7 function key. The animation palette is turned on with the Menu: Window > Animation.

The Tweens
Select the ball in the layers palette. (Layer 1)
Go to your canvas screen, use the move tool Keyboard “v” and move the ball to the edge of the canvas screen.
Now change the frame rate by clicking on the time under the first frame — change it to .1 or .2

Duplicate frame 1 with the frame duplicate button at the bottom of the animation palette making sure the ball layer (Layer 1) is still selected in the layers pallet.

Select Frame 2 in the Animation Palette. Use the move tool to move the ball to the bottom center of the canvas screen.

The First Tween
Now select frame 1 and press the tween button at the bottom of the animation palette.

Choose the # of frames to add (I’m using 5) and we are tweening with the “Next Frame”. Click okay.

You should see this in the animation palette.

The Second Tween
Now select Frame #7 
Duplicate frame #7 and select frame #8 (Click on the new frame #8 to select it) Make sure layer 1 is selected in the Layers palette and go to the screen canvas and move the ball to the edge of the screen on the right.

Now click Frame 7
This time we’ll Tween frame 7 and frame 8, and add 5 new frames between them…
your animation palette should now look like this…

Now select frames 7 through 13 (hold down the shift key and click on #7, then #13)
Use the pop out menu, (click on the tiny parallel lines at the top right of the animation palette) and choose Menu: > Copy Frames.

Click the last frame #13 and choose the Menu: > Paste.

In the requester choose “Paste After Selection”.

Now Select frames 14 to 20 and then select the Menu: > Reverse Frames…

Now you got it…

The next step is to select frames 1 to 7.


Then Paste After Selection {the last frame in this case frame #20}

Select the frames you just pasted and choose the Menu: > Reverse Frames…

To save your work, save the files as a .psd photoshop file to preserve the layers and frames.
And now you’ll have an endlessly bouncing ball — all it needs is sound effects… and more…

To Export the animation
Menu: File > Export > Render to Video

For the web or TV choose the codec h.264 if you can, other wise use MPEG 4 or a movie file format

For this blog article I saved it via

File > Save for Web & Devices… and saved the file as a .gif file

.gif files can be an animation, but you’ll only see the animation in a web browser or a mail client or a program that allows gif animation.

There is more to come, we’ll need to convert the animation to layers and a timeline… A static bouncing ball is boring, it ought to rotate or explode or something! Maybe that’s your homework or a project you’d like to take on!

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