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How to Create a Cool, Animated Photo GIF for Instagram in Adobe Photoshop

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Read Time: 4 min
This post is part of a series called Photoshop Portraits.
How to Create a VHS HUD Design and Vintage Photo Effect in Photoshop
How to Create an Animated Ghost Effect Action in Photoshop
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

Jump into animation effects with a fun, quick tutorial. Today we'll learn how to create a cool, photo GIF animation in Adobe Photoshop.

Watch the steps unfold in this quick video lesson and get all the details you need in the written process below. Head on over to Envato Market for more amazing effects like Photoshop actions.

Follow along with this tutorial over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used in the production of this tutorial:

1. How to Add Graphics to T-Shirts in Photoshop

Step 1

Start with a few solid images. It helps if you pick pictures with color schemes that blend well together. For the main model stock, I'll be using this Curly Model Photo from Unsplash. Then, to decorate her shirt, I'll switch out her original top with a few cool stocks from Envato Elements.

Check them out below.

To add new photos to your shirt for a quick animation effect, open the model image in Photoshop. Now, create a New Layer and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection over her top.

Fill the selection with a bright red color #f60001 using the Paint Bucket Tool (G). We'll use this layer to attach the shirts later on, so let's adjust its shape.

Layer masking shirts in PhotoshopLayer masking shirts in PhotoshopLayer masking shirts in Photoshop

Step 2

First, add a Layer Mask. Then Zoom in on the photo and lower the Opacity to 50%.

Switch over to the Brush Tool (B) and use a Hard Round Brush with 100% Opacity to paint black onto the Layer Mask.

Doing so will start removing parts of the red square. Use this tool to carve out the shape of the model's top. Keep Erasing these jagged edges until it's nice and clean.

Refine the layer maskRefine the layer maskRefine the layer mask

Now make the lighting more realistic.

If you have any areas that are affected by shadows, like the ones near the hair (especially underneath), feel free to use a Soft Round Brush (B) to soften the edges for a realistic shadow effect.

Soften the layer mask for shadowSoften the layer mask for shadowSoften the layer mask for shadow

2. How to Create a GIF Animation in Adobe Photoshop

Step 1

Let's set up the animation. Create four New Layers, one for each new t-shirt graphic. Shift-click to select them, and then set all four layers as a Clipping Mask to the red shirt layer.

Bring the shirt layer's Opacity up to 100%, and then set the Layer Blend Mode to Exclusion.

On each clipped layer, Copy and Paste the photos you like. I'll start with the night sky stock.

Paste the photos on new clipped layersPaste the photos on new clipped layersPaste the photos on new clipped layers

Step 2

For a more efficient file, resize the image sizes, if necessary.

Or, like with my tech photo, you can select just the areas of each photo that you want with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). When you're finished, you should have each picture on its own layer.

Add a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup, set it to FallColors.look, and then lower the Layer Opacity to 28%.

color lookup adjustment layer in photoshopcolor lookup adjustment layer in photoshopcolor lookup adjustment layer in photoshop

Step 3

To create an animation, go to Window > Timeline.

Hit Create Video Timeline, and then select the Frame Animation option. For an ongoing animation, make sure the Loop is set to Forever and the initial Time Delay to .1 seconds.

Create a gif animation in photoshop Create a gif animation in photoshop Create a gif animation in photoshop

Now Hide the Visibility of all the photo layers except for the sky.

Add the next frame, and then Unhide the tech layer on the same second frame. Unhide the leaves layer next for the third frame, and then finish up with the flower layer for the last frame (#4).

Preview your animation by going back to the start of the timeline and hitting Play

frame animation in photoshopframe animation in photoshopframe animation in photoshop

Save this animation as a GIF.

Keep in mind that you can get a smaller file size, if needed, by just resizing it. Screen recording software like Camtasia can also help you turn it into an animated video for places like Instagram.

Check out the final version below.

Frame GIF Video Animations in Adobe Photoshop by Melody NievesFrame GIF Video Animations in Adobe Photoshop by Melody NievesFrame GIF Video Animations in Adobe Photoshop by Melody Nieves

Learn More With Our Tutorials!

Inspired to learn more animation effects? Start with a Photoshop tutorial! Create engaging GIF animations to share with all your friends, and show us your results below.

Get Amazing Design Resources

Want to create videos like this? Download the resources used in this video:

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