SCBWI Canada East Blog

December 3, 2017

7:50 PM 3
I’d been thinking it would be fun to make a gif from one of my illustrations for a while & the Make Art That Sells Holiday contest prompt inspired me to make it happen!

 (MATS will have the winning entry animated but I wanted to try making a gif on my own.)

I'd love to see more SCBWI Canada East holiday GIF's! 

If you haven't done this before it's quite easy, all you need are your illustrations & some basic photoshop skills. To assist you (& as an aide-memoire pour moi) here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Add the elements you want to animate on separate labelled layers. For my illustration - the "glow" from the light & the steam. 

2. Open Timeline by selecting Window - Timeline. The timeline tool will open at the bottom of the screen.

3. Click on Create Frame Animation.

4. Click on the little bar icon just under the thumbnail of your illustration.

5. These little bars are the layers you want to adjust & arrange. 
You can drag the edges to make the bars smaller (less time or fewer frames). 

            You can also slide them apart so that the different layers appear at different times as I've done below.

6. Click the play button to view your animation. To have a continuous loop, check the Loop Playback box under the settings icon.

7.  When you're satisfied with your animation, select File - Export - Save for Web

8. This screen will pop up - Change the preset to GIF 128 Dithered. At the bottom, under animation select Forever for your Looping Option. Don't forget to click SAVE!

I painted my illustration traditionally using watercolour, ink, & copics. Then used a Kyle Webster watercolour brush & a Wacom tablet to add the "glow" & steam in their appropriate layers. Plan ahead and use those layers to your full advantage. If you look carefully I missed a light - luckily the rest of the strand still lights up despite the dud.

Happy Gif-ing!

And don't forget to share if you do one of your own. (To share on FaceBook you'll need an image url - paste that in your status update. I think it's straightforward to post them on Twitter but Instagram you'll need to do a work around.)


  1. Very nice tutorial. Now I have to see if I can do it, too.

    1. With Facebook you have to post a link, On Twitter you have to convert it to an MP4 - if it's less than 6 seconds it will loop but with a slight pause. There may be an easier way. But I'm still enjoying my gif!

  2. Very cool - but I don't think I have access to Photoshop? Is it something you have to pay for? Happy holidays!