PhotoShop used to ship with a helper application known as ImageReady, which was used for such things as animation. PhotoShop now has ImageReady features built-in, so we can animate our PhotoShop documents without exporting to an external application. In this tutorial, you will learn how we can add motion to our graphics and export as an animated GIF.

Animation was added to PhotoShop in version CS3, so this tutorial is aimed at Adobe PhotoShop CS3. ImageReady uses a similar process for animation.

The first thing we need to do is to create a new document. We will add some text to the canvas, and this is what we will animate:

Now, we will goto Window > Animation. You should see a window like the following:

This window will be used for creating keyframes of our animation. At the moment, we have just one keyframe – the current state of our canvas. We will now add a new keyframe. Click on the Duplicate Frame button at the bottom of the Animation Window () and we should have something like this:

We now have two keyframes, but they’re both exactly the same (because we duplicated). This is Ok because we want the keyframes to start off the same, and then we can make our changes. We will want the second keyframe to be at the end point, or next point of our animation – we will not have to recreate every step ourselves. Go ahead and make sure the second keyframe is selected, then drag the Text Layer over to the right-hand side of the canvas, like so:

Notice that keyframe 1 has stayed the same as the original, but in keyframe 2 the text is now over to the right. If we click between the two keyframes, we can see the differences on the canvas. Next, we can let PhotoShop do the animation of the in-between frames. This is called Tweening. Make sure the second keyframe is selected, and click on the Tweening button () next to the Duplicate button.

We will then be asked which frame we want to tween with, and how many frames we want to add. We will leave the default, 5 frames. Click Ok.

We now have 7 frames, each slightly different, which provide the illusion of movement. We can click the Play button at the bottom of the Animation Window to preview the animation.

If the animation is too fast, you can change the speed by clicking the small black arrow at the bottom-right of each frame, next to 0 sec. This will change the duration that the frame will show for.

We can repeat the process of animation to animate the text further, not only using motion, but Warping the text also:

To save as an animated GIF, we goto File > Save For Web & Devices, and make sure GIF is selected from the presets menu.