For this tutorial I will be using Photoshop and Imageready 7, since that's the one I have. I'd imagine that it's very similar, if not the same, in other Photoshop versions.
Once you know how to do it, animating is really easy. Because no matter what you're animating--a character moving a limb, shaking his head, or just talking and blinking--you just need this one tutorial! :D
I'm going to be animating the head-shake sprite of my Kristoph knock-off, Roy Alce
-Photoshop and Imageready
-Basic Photoshop knowledge
-Every frame of the animation you want. Whether it's in a sheet or not, it doesn't really matter. Also, I personally prefer the backgrounds to be transparent (that's how people usually post their sprites, anyway). Animation is pretty easy; the hard part is making the sprite....
Onto the tut!!
Step 0 (Sheet-users only): If you have a sheet, cut the frames that you want to use, and put it in photoshop, one sprite for each layer. For the sake of using less memory, and making things easy, use one copy of each frame that you will use
. So for instance, if you are going to be making a 20-frame sprite that is 5 repeating sprites, just copy one of each of those 5 sprites, not all 20 sprites.
My sprite is going to have 7 frames, but I only need 4 sprites/layers:
Step 1: Turn the visibility off all your layers, and then transfer your sprite to Imageready.
To transfer to Imageready, just click this button:
This will transfer your file to Imageready, and open Imageready if it isn't already opened.
(Step 1.5: If you are doing a basic sprite, like my head-shake or talking/blinking, and just about all your frames will be the same amount of time, you should do this. In the window that has the frame, click '0 sec' and set it to the time you want all your frames to be. If you're not sure, .2 is a good amount for basic sprites like talking/blinking.
Oh, and even though it says '0 sec' initially, it doesn't play for 0 seconds and skip that frame--it just goes really quickly.)
Step 2: Create frames until you have the number of frames you want. If you don't know, you can just make a few/a bunch now, and then add/delete frames later as you need them.
Step 3: Add in your sprites.
Click on each frame, and then add the sprite you want for that frame. Just start at the first frame, make the sprite for that frame visible, go to the next frame, etc. (For help on which sprites to use in which order for talking/blinking, see end of the tut)
When you animate something in Imageready, you can only change 5 things:
1. The position of the image.
2. The opacity of the layer.
3. The visibility of the layer.
4. The visibility of effects on the layer.
5. The blending mode of the layer. (Normal, Overlay, Dissolve, etc)
1. The composition of the layer. (This includes adding/removing things, and changing the size)
2. The composition of the effects of the layer.
Whenever you change certain things in the first frame, it will be changed for every frame. This is important for when you work on the first frame of your animation.
The things that will change in other frames are those 5 things in the first list of Tangent 1. So if you set the opacity of a layer in frame 1 to 70% and blending mode to overlay, that layer will be like that for all frames. However, there is one exception: changing position. It doesn't change the location in other frames to where you moved it, but how you moved it.
Let's say that Layer A in Frame 2 is 5 pixels to the right of Layer A in Frame 1. If you move Layer A up 5 pixels in Frame 1, it will only be moved 5 pixels up in Frame 2, and they will still be exactly 5 pixels apart, not in the same position.
So when you make the sprite in the first frame visible, you will need to go back and make it invisible in all the other frames.
Anyway, back on topic. You should now have this:
Except with your number of frames, your duration of each frame, and your sprites.
Step 4: Edit the duration of each frame.
Now, if you did talking/blinking, or something like that, and did step 1.5, you barely need to do anything! But if you do have a sprite like that, and you didn't... you need to go through each frame and set the time. You also need to do this if you have a sprite that uses different timings for each frame. Just click the 'X sec' and pick the time you want! (Or enter in your own if it's not there.)
Because this headshake would not loop if it were in a game, I am going to extend the last frame to .5 seconds in order to split each loop of the sprite.
Step 5: Check the animation.
Just hit the play button near the frames to watch your animation. Make sure it's okay, and make any necessary adjustments. If you need to edit the composition of a sprite for whatever reason, go back to Photoshop
. Except for the fact that it can't animate, Photoshop is better than Imageready in almost every way.
Step 6: Optimize the animation.
Click the little blue arrow, and optimize! Just make sure the 2 things are selected in the box that comes up and press OK.
This will not have an immediate effects. However, if you skip this step, your animation will decrease in quality when you save it!
Step 7: Save!!!!
File --> Save Optimized As, and you're done! Just make sure to save it as a gif.
! You have animation!!
Tips for talking/blinking: There are really 2 main ways to animate the sprite. You can do it either way you like.
I will tell you what to do for each frame, in this format:
Frame #: Duration of Frame in seconds/Mouth position/Eye position
For the mouth and eye position, C is for Closed, O is for Open, and H is for Half-Closed/Half-Open (whichever floats your boat)
Way 1: Talk, blink, talk, blink. This is the way most AJ sprites are displayed on CR.
Way 2: Blink while continuously talking. This is the way most PW sprites are displayed on PW, and my personal preference.
Also, a little trick: Instead of making whole new sprites for each combination of open/closed eyes and mouths, just make 5 layers: one layer that has the entire sprite, with the eyes open and the mouth closed, one layer that is just the sprite's chin with the open mouth, one layer that is just the sprite's chin with the half-open mouth, one layer that is just the sprite's eyes half-closed, and one layer that is just the sprite's eyes closed. When you make your animation, just keep that first layer visible at all times, and just change the visibility of the mouth and eye layers that you need on each frame!