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.
Animations: Animation-1642 and Animation-1644
Mask: 400 from package 8, and 404 from package 9
Please do not use any of the licensed supplies without purchasing them first.
First off, unzip all supplies.
Open the mask(s) you would like to use. You don’t have to use the ones I have chosen.
Select > All
Edit > Copy
This will save a selection of the white areas in the mask.
You can now close that mask.
Open a new 800 x 800 pixel canvas. Be sure it is set to 72ppi resolution.
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.
Place the paper on the canvas that you would like to use. You can either drag and drop it onto the canvas from your file browser, or you can use the File > Place… method. Just browse to the folder with the kit when prompted.
With the paper layer highlighted in the layers panel, to go Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode.
Edit > Paste
This will leave parts of the paper in red. This is good! If it doesn’t, then you will need to open and copy the mask again.
Select > Uncheck the Edit in Quick Mask Mode.
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Magic, right?? now you don’t have to worry about having an extra clipped layer.
Instead, you have a mask thumbnail attached to your paper layer.
Place another paper on your canvas.
Go to the other mask that you have open.
Select > All
Edit > Copy
Close the mask.
Back to your tag!
Highlight that second paper and repeat the masking process.
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode.
Edit > Paste
Select > Uncheck the Edit in Quick Mask Mode.
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Paper and masks done! For now…
Now, time for the elements!
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.
As a side note: I may have forgotten to mention this before. Sometimes, when you place an element on the canvas, it gets REALLY tiny… This is because the element has not been saved at a 72ppi resolution. You can manually fix this by opening ALL of the elements of the kit and changing the resolution yourself. Image > Image Size…
Don’t forget to save before closing the elements again.
THIS particular kit does not have that problem, but I am pretty sure you have encountered it before.
Back to the tut.
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.
To rotate and transform each element, place it on the canvas and then go to Edit > Free Transform. You will notice the box encasing your element with tiny squares at all of the corners and sides. When you hover around the element, you will see your cursor switch to different modes for resizing and rotating. Don’t forget to hold the shift key when resizing to constrain the proportions. When you are done, click the check mark at the top of the screen, or simply press enter (twice, if necessary).
As you can see, these aren’t quite so random. I wanted to have a bit of symmetry in the tag without actually repeating the elements. This kit was PERFECT for that.
Let’s put something inside that frame, shall we?
You have a frame, right? If not, you can skip this part. We need to add a fill layer to the picture frame.
Highlight the layer UNDER the frame in your layers panel. Now drop the paper you would like to use onto the canvas.
Grab your selection wand from the tools panel. If you can’t find it, check out the basics page for a better understanding of the tools layout.
The Selection Wand options should look like this at the top of your window:
Click on the center portion of the frame. (And any other portions you would like to be filled)
In the upper menu of Photoshop, click on Selection > Modify > Expand…
Expand your selection by 2px.
Now highlight your paper layer.
Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.
Now you have a fill to your frame. Easy Peasy!
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 element and frame layers. Hold the CTRL button while highlighting to select more than one. 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 figurines. Highlight the layer UNDER the figurines.
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.
Since the banner hides the part of the tube that is cut off, we don’t need to feather the tube at all.
If you are going to resize your tag, DO NOT add the copyrights, yet.
Add the same drop shadow you did before.
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:
Be sure to choose gradients that match your kit and tube. To do that, click on the gradient and edit the little squares at the bottom. You can take colors directly from your tag by hovering the tag and clicking.
NOW you can resize and add your copyrights.
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 layer that you would like your first animation to appear ABOVE. I want mine to be right above the masked paper, so I am highlighting the second paper layer.
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.
You will see that all 25 layers are open and unhidden in the layers panel.
Select > All Layers
Layer > Group Layers
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! (ignore the missing frames here, sometimes it takes a minute for the thumbnails to load.)
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 25 frames.
You will see that your tag only has one animation layer visible per frame. 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 while still on the first frame. 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 the screen, set the blend mode to “Linear Dodge.”
Of course, this looks a bit odd, since the color doesn’t match the tag, but we are going to fix that.
Inside the group, highlight the top layer (Frame 25).
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black and White
You don’t have to adjust anything here if you don’t want, but if you have experience on Photoshop, you can adjust the contrast of the black and white by going to Window > Properties. In that panel, use the sliders to your liking.
Now you can click play at the bottom of the animation panel to check out your creation!
This is only the first phase, but you should have something that looks similar to this:
The animation is subtle, but it’s there.
Now collapse the animation group by clicking on the little arrow icon beside the group thumbnail in the layers panel.
It get REALLY complex now, so pay close CLOSE attention to each step.
Highlight the layer where you want the second animation appear above. I want mine to be behind the tube, so I am highlighting the layer just UNDER the tube layer.
Open the second animation.
Highlight all of the layers. Group the layers. And then duplicate the layers into your tag. Just like before.
This is going to take a little longer, since you have to do each frame.
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. The SECOND animation frame should be highlighted.
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 25 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!
Highlight the second frame in your animation panel.
Unhide the second layer of your new animation.
Highlight the third frame in your animation panel.
Unhide the third layer of your new animation.
Highlight 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 25 layers of the animation respectively into the 25 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.
Ohhh the colors suck, again, right?
Let’s fix it, again
Go back to the first frame in the animation panel.
Highlight the group for the second animation in the layers panel.
At the top of the layers panel, change the blend mode from “Pass Through” to “Normal”
Highlight the “Frame 25” layer in that animation and add another adjustment layer.
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map
You want to adjust the map to match your tag by double clicking the gradient thumbnail in your layers panel. Depending on your photoshop layout, the panels can be positioned in different areas. Mine is highly modified, but double clicking the gradient thumbnail will bring up the panel, no matter where it is hiding.
Here is a bit of a video to help guide you through it if you’ve never worked with the gradient map feature. (Best viewed at fullscreen.)
Once you are finished with the gradient, collapse that animation group, just like before.
Collapsing these groups will allow you to see what’s going on outside of the group a lot easier and keeps things organized, so you don’t accidentally unhide a layer you shouldn’t.
Press play to see if it works.
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!
There is a situation where you DON’T have to start over, though.
Hmmm… I just changed my mind, now that I have pressed play. I want the animation to be behind the frame instead of the tube.
So in the layers panel, highlight the second animations group.
It’s collapsed, right? If not, collapse it, because it will let you see where you are dragging.
Drag the whole group in the layers panel to be behind the masked paper layer inside the frame.
SO much better, now!
Time to finish things up.
If you want to keep all 25 frames in the animation, you can skip this part.
In the animation panel, highlight all of the even frames. Hold the CTRL (or cmd on mac) button and click through them.
Now click the trashcan icon at the bottom of the animation panel.
You should now be left with 13 frames.
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!
My “Forever List” can find their tags in their folders on Fotki.