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Create interesting animations in no time with layer masks and tweens

Added on Tuesday 28th of March 2006 01:08 am EST


Adobe Photoshop 7/CS/CS2, Adobe ImageReady

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

When your client asks for a creative animation, but they want it yesterday, the stress that sets in more or less clogs the creative juices. You need something that looks great that you can set up quickly. Using layer masks to isolate imagery and tweens to fade it all together is a fantastic way to do both.


To produce an interesting animation that utilizes layer masks and tweens, we’ll:

     Add variety to an image quickly with duplicate layers, hue adjustments, and layer masks.

     Demonstrate how to transpose your layers into animation frames in both Photoshop and ImageReady so you can easily follow along with the version you’re using.

     Show you how to change the frame delay for greater control over your animation.




New ideas inspire us to create. But when the ideas are suppressed by the tedium of our daily duties and we need something to uncover it, jumping into a new technique is as refreshing as a swimming pool on a hot summer day. Bring that technique to life with the magic of animation, and you’ll add another dimension to your design. And that’s like having lemonade to sip while you swim.



Create the artwork

For our technique, we’ll start with a muted photo of a daisy bunch, compile the artwork in Photoshop, and then animate it into a spectacular showcase of color, as illustrated in Figure A. To follow along, download the file from the URL listed at the beginning of this article and extract the file daisy.psd. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)



Note: If you use your own image, make sure your file isn’t flattened. If you have a Background layer in your image, [control]-click (right-click in Windows) and choose Layer From Background from the pop-up menu. Give it a name if you wish and click OK.






Layer the foundation

Before we can animate, we must create additional layers. First, we’ll create a colorized version of the original Daisies layer shown in Figure A. Then, we’ll create additional colorized layers with a subtle filter effect, which we’ll use to compile our animation.


To set up the initial colorized and filtered layers:

1.       Duplicate the Daisies layer and rename it Pink Daisies.

2.      Choose Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to desaturate the Pink Daisies layer.

3.      Select Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

4.      Select the Colorize check box and enter 347 in the Hue text box, 60 in the Saturation text box, and click OK.

5.      Duplicate the Pink Daisies layer and rename the new layer Pink Mask.

6.      Select the Pink Mask layer and choose Filter > Artistic > Watercolor.

7.      Enter 13 in the Brush Detail text box, 0 in the Shadow Intensity text box, and 1 in the Texture text box; click OK. Your flower layer should have a subtle filtered effect, as ours does in Figure B.



To create additional colorized, subtly filtered layers:

1.       Duplicate the Pink Mask layer and rename the new layer Blue Mask.

2.      Select the Blue Mask layer and Choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

3.      Enter -138 in the Hue text box to turn the daisies blue and click OK.

4.      Duplicate the Blue Mask Layer and rename the new layer Yellow Mask.

5.      Select the new Yellow Mask layer and choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

6.      Enter -150 in the Hue text box to turn the daisies yellow and click OK.

7.      Duplicate the Yellow Mask Layer and rename the new layer Orange Mask.

8.      Select the new Orange Mask layer and choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

9.      Enter -27 in the Hue text box to turn the daisies orange and click OK. Your layers palette should look like ours in Figure C.



To add the layer masks:

1.       Turn off the visibility for all of the layers except the Orange Mask layer.

2.      Press D to set the Foreground color to Black.

3.      Choose the Elliptical Marquee tool elliptical_marquee from the Toolbox.



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