Monday, March 3, 2008

Few days ago, I was playing with Photoshop and ImageReady, and I came up with something really delicious :). I was trying to make an animated Display Picture or Avatar for Windows Live Messenger 9 (which supports recently animated avatars). So I mastered an amazing technique that I’m going over step by step below. Note that this is an advanced tutorial because it involves the usage of Pen Tool, Layer Mask and Tween (ImageReady). Here’s what we’ll be working on


Abstract Shine Animation

Let’s start:

Step 1

Open Adobe Photoshop and press CTRL + N to create a new image:


New

Step 2

Set the background color to #000000 (black) and the foreground to #122c52.

Step 3

Filter > Render > Clouds to get something like the following:


Clouds

Step 4

Select the Pen Tool, make sure the “Paths” option Paths is selected in the toolbar. Draw the following shape:


Pen tool shape

Step 5

CTRL + SHIFT + N to create a new layer (Layer 2).

Step 6

Select the Brush Tool, set the Foreground color to #ffffff (white), master diameter to 4px and hardness to 100%.

Make sure your selected brush supports Simulating Pressures:

Simulate Pressure Brush

Step 7

Select the Pen Tool again, right click on the image and press Stroke Path…

Stroke Patch Menu

Step 8

Set the following options in the Stroke Path dialog:


Stroke Path

Step 9

CTRL + SHIFT + N to create the third layer.

Step 10

Select the Brush Tool again and increase the Master Diameter to 5px.

Step 11

Right click again on the image and press the stroke path. Then apply the same options.

Step 12

Hide the Layer 3 by unsetting the eye in the layers panel:


Hiding Layer 3

Step 13

Select the Layer 2 from the Layers panel. Then, Layers > Layer Style > Blending Options… and set the following settings (Outer Glow and Color Overlay):


Outer Glow

Color Overlay

Step 14

You will get something simillar to this (do not remove the pen tool selection):


Layer 2

Step 15

Now, we’re done with Photoshop, we’ll start editing with ImageReady:


Edit with ImageReady

Step 16

ImageReady will open. Window > Workplace > Default Workplace to arrange your windows.

Step 17

Window > Animation to show the animation window:


Animation Window

Step 18

Now, we will show the Layer 3 (that we already hided in Photoshop) by setting the eye back.

Step 19

Be careful here!!! Drag the Layer 3 in the Layers Panel to the “Add a mask” button in the bottom to create a mask of that layer. Select the Brush tool and clean up the white area in the mask. Then unset the link between the layer preview and the mask:


Layer Mask

Step 20

Here’s the tricky part. Although it can be done in many ways, but i find this way the easiest. Select the Brush Tool (I think it’s already selected :)), set the foreground color to #ffffff (white) and select the following Brush:


Brush for the mask

Step 21

Make sure the mask is selected! draw with you free hand a line like this (Note that you will only see this line in the Mask preview in the layer panel):


Line

Step 22

You should see in the Layers panel the following:


Mask 1 Preview

Step 23

Let’s start with the animation now. Press the 1st Frame in the Animation windows and press “Duplicate current frame” icon to duplicate the layers state.


Duplicate frame

Step 24

Now make sure the the mask of the layer 3 is selected, select the Move tool and Press Shirt + Right like 25 times to reach the following state:


Moving the mask

Step 25

So, we have moved the line mask from left to right. It’s time to animate it! The frame 2 is selected, hold CTRL and click on frame 1 to make them both selected. Then press the Tween icon:


Tween selection

Step 26

Apply the following Tween settings:


Tween settings

Step 27

A set of frames will be created for you. Select the 1st frame, scroll to the end, hold SHIFT and click the last frame. You will have all the Frames selected. Click the delay drop down on any of the selected frames and choose Other:


Other Delay

Step 28

Enter 0.03 seconds as a delay between the frames:


Delay

Step 29

Now select the last Frame alone by clicking on it, and set its delay to 5 seconds:


Last Frame

Step 30

We’re done. It’s time to save the animation as gif. Make sure the format in the "Optimize" panel is GIF:


Optimize Panel

Step 31

File > Save Optimized As! :)

Open it with Firefox, because Firefox renders the Gif formats faster than Internet Explorer (I’m not sure about Safari or other browsers).


Abstract Shine Animation

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