In Memory

Be sure to read through the Animation How-To page before beginning any of my tutorials.  A knowledge of how the animation feature works in Photoshop will help you better understand my tagging methods.  The link is permanently at the top of this blog.

Mask of choice.  I am using Mask 183 from Package 4.
Tube from Anna Marine.
Scrap kit from Gimptastic Scraps.
Two different leaf animations from CDO.  They are found in Packages 121 and 122.
Evolve Regular font.  I got this font from THIS pack.

Please do not use any of the licensed supplies without purchasing them first.

First off, unzip all supplies.

Open the mask you would like to use.  You don’t have to use the one I have chosen.

Select > All
Edit > Copy
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode
Edit > Paste
Select > uncheck Edit in Quick Mask Mode

This will leave a selection of the white areas in the mask.

Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Layer > Layer Mask > Apply

Now you are left with just the white area of your mask.  However, you can see that there is still a bit of the black around the edges.

Layer > Matting > Remove Black Matte

Now your layer is all white!  However, if you would like to “slim” down your mask, you can do these steps.  Though, if you are happy with the result here, you can skip this part.

Right click the thumbnail of the layer in the layers panel.  Choose “Select Pixels.”
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Layer > Layer Mask > Apply
This is a subtle result, but it might make a big difference in later tags.

Image > Adjustments > Invert

This will ensure that you can see your mask for later use.  Save this as a .psd file.

Open a new canvas.  I always use 800×800 pixels.  Be sure your resolution is 72 Pixels/Inch.

I usually add a color fill layer to the tag so it is easily changed should I use it on a different color website.  Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color…
White usually works with most websites.

With Photoshop, you can always work with Smart Object to save all of your layers.  You can alter the original layer by double clicking on its thumbnail in the layers panel.

That being said,  go to File > Place Embedded

In the Open dialog, choose the mask that you just isolated.  This will place the mask in a Smart Object in the middle of your canvas.

You can also drag and drop items from your computer’s default file browser into the canvas.  This is the method I usually use.

Don’t forget to set the Transformation by double clicking the layer on the canvas, or clicking the checkbox at the top of the window. 

Right click on the mask layer and choose “Blending Options.”
Add a color overlay that will match your tag (if you don’t get it perfect, you can always change it later).  Click ok and continue on to the next part.

Now, time for the elements!

Instead of telling you exactly where to put what and what size to use, I am just going to show you a animated image of what I did.

As you can see, it is pretty random.  I just place the items where I think they might work.  Just arrange as many elements as you’d like around your tag.

We definitely want to add some shadows to our elements.  Without shadowing, the tag will just look flat. The secret to a good tag, is a good shadow effect.

Right click a layer (topmost works fine) and choose “Blending Options.”
I add a drop shadow and an outer glow.  It enhances the effect a bit.


Now after you have hit OK, right click the layer again and choose “Copy Layer Style.”
Highlight all of your layers (click the top one, then shift + click the bottom one) and right click again.  This time, choose “Paste Layer Style.”

It makes a HUGE difference to add shadows:

Now that we have all of that done, time to add the next details.  Tube and text.  Fun!

Choose where you want your tube to be placed. I put mine just below the candelabra.  Highlight the layer UNDER the candelabra.

Now drag and drop your tube onto the canvas. Resize and adjust it to your liking.  Always make sure you constrain your proportions while resizing.  Hold the Shift key while you drag the corners.

Add the same drop shadow you did before.  Don’t forget your copyright text!

Grab your text tool and add the name you would like.  Position it just where you want it and add a layer style.  This is mine:

     That leave us with the non-animated version of the tag!  If you wold like to keep the JPG version, you can save here.  Simply File > Save As…  and choose the jpg option from the drop down box at the bottom of the dialog.

Here’s where it starts getting complicated.

Keep your tag open.  Highlight the mask you added at the beginning of the tutorial.

Now File > Open… choose an animation that you’d like to use.  I am going to show you how to use the 25 frame animations that I have at CDO.  To conserve space, we will be cutting the animation time in half.

You need a fill animation.  This will need to be the type of animation that will fill the area of the tag completely.  That is why I chose RebelDezignsAnimation-365.

You will see that all 25 layers are open and unhidden in the layers panel.
Highlight all of the odd numbered layers.  Hold the ctrl/cmd key and click each one.
In the menu choose Layer > Group Layers

If you would like to use the entire animation, just highlight all of the layers and group them.

Now right click on your group in the layers panel and duplicate.  BUT DON’T HIT OK, YET!

In the duplicate dialog, choose your tag from the destination dropdown box.  If you haven’t saved by this point, you should see an “Untitled-1” option.  (but you definitely should have saved before now.  Remember, always save often.)

After you have chosen your tag, hit ok.  You can close the animation file without saving.

Back to the tag.

First of all, be sure your animations panel is open.  Window > Timeline

Now, you will need to click the “Create Frame Animation” button.

You will see that your first frame is already there.  But… ignore it!  We don’t need it.

On the right side of your animation panel, click the 4 horizontal lines.  Choose the option that says “Make Frames from Layers.”

Now, this made a mess of things, didn’t it?? LOL!  But no, not really.  You will see that it created a frame for every layer in your tag.  And that’s ok!

Click on the first frame in the animation panel.  At the bottom of the window, there is a trashcan icon.  That deletes the frame.  Delete all of the frames that aren’t part of the animation.  You should be left with only 13 frames (25 if you are using the entire animation).

You will see that your tag only has one animation layer visible.  You want this!

In the animations panel, click on the first frame.  You MUST BE ON THE FIRST FRAME to do any kind of editing to the whole tag.  ALWAYS make sure you are on the first frame.  ALWAYS!  I can’t stress that enough.  (except for later when I tell you to switch…)

Are you on the first frame of the animation yet?  Good.  Now we can continue.

In the Layers panel, unhide the background layer.

Unfortunately, most of the time, that only unhides the last layer for the first animation frame.  Just hide it again, and then unhide once more.  Photoshop has a strange sense of background layers.  It doesn’t play nice.  Thankfully, the bottom-most layer is the only one you have to click 3 times.  (I sure hope you got all of that.  It is hard to explain…)

Now, one by one, unhide all of the layers to your tag.  DON’T touch the animation layers, though!  Those are already spaced out the way they should be.  Leave those alone.

Highlight the GROUP that contains your animation.

At the top of your layers panel, change the Blend Mode to Luminosity.

Now you can click play at the bottom of the animation panel to check out your creation!

Looks pretty goofy, doesn’t it?  Yeah, I thought so, too…

Still have the group highlighted?  You should.

CTRL + click on the thumbnail of your mask layer.  This will select the pixels of the mask.  You should now have the selection in the shape of your mask.

Still have the group highlighted?  Fantastic!

Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.  Viola!  Now the animation is isolated to your mask area!  Pretty neat, isn’t it?


BUT!!!  We aren’t finished.  

It get REALLY complex now, so pay close CLOSE attention to each step.

Highlight the layer BELOW where you want the second animation to go.  I chose to put it directly behind the headstone, so I highlighted the layer UNDER the headstone.

Open the second animation.  I chose RebelDezignsAnimation-368 from Package 122.

Take the same steps as you did with the other animation.  If you halved the other animation, half this one, too.  If you used the whole thing, then use the whole thing here, too.

This is going to take a little longer.

Are you on your first frame?  Good.

Hide all of the new animation layers in the layers panel.  Alllll of them.   I really hope you are working with groups.  It sure does make things easier.

Now… here is where the fun begins.

In the animation panel, duplicate the first frame.  You should now be on the SECOND animation frame.

In the layers panel, unhide only the first layer in your new animation.

Back the animation panel.  Select the FIRST frame, again.  Delete it.  You should now have 13 frames in your animation panel, again.

Was that confusing?  Of course it was.  But, that little move will keep you from having to hide the first layer with each frame.

Are you still on the first frame of your animation?  Great!

Select the second frame in your animation panel.
Unhide the second layer of your new animation.
Select the third frame in your animation panel.
Unhide the third layer of your new animation.
Select the fourth frame in your animation panel.
Unhide the fourth layer of your new animation.

You see where I am going with this?  Yep.  Do this with all of the frames / layers.  It might take a few minutes to get them all in their proper place.

Did you end with 13 layers into 13 frames?  Good!

Now select your first frame in the animations panel.  Click play to see if your animation resulted the way it was supposed to.

If it doesn’t look right, you will need to click on the 4 lines at the top right of your animation panel and choose “Delete Animation”  and start over with all of the animation steps.  I hope that doesn’t discourage you… sounds pretty daunting…

But if it looks good, HOORAY!  That means you are done!

Oh, right!  Don’t forget to set your frame delay.

Now you will need to save your animation as a gif file.

In your animation dialog, use these settings:

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! It was a BIIIIIIIIG one!
But remember kids, just because you screw up a tag doesn’t mean you are bad at it.  A few hours isn’t that much time wink