How to animate a monster

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In this video tutorial you'll learn how to create the illustration of a monster in Adobe Illustrator. You'll also learn how to export it to Adobe Photoshop and use Photoshop’s timeline to animate it and add life to the illustration. Prepare to bring the magic of animation into all your projects.

Hello, my name is Maria Keller and I'm a digital artist from Mexico. Today I'm going to show you how to create an illustration in Adobe Illustrator and export it to Adobe Photoshop to create a simple animation. All the keys and shortcuts used are going to be displayed on the screen so you can follow along. Let's begin. The first thing we're going to do is create a new document. I have already created mine to save time but I'm going to show you how I did it. You're going to go here: File>New, or you can press Ctrl+N on your keyboard. A new document window is going to appear. Here, I select the size of 800 x 600 pixels. And made sure that my color mode was RGB, and my raster effects were Screen: 72 ppi, and I hit OK. I'm going to hit cancel because I have already done this. You're going to have here your new document. The first you are going to create is a head. So I'm going to select here the shape tools, or go here to the shape tools. Probably by default, you're going to see this Rectangle tool. But if you click and hold the click, you're going to see the rest of the shape And if you release the click here, where the little arrow is, you're going to see that you can detach this window and place it around here, because we're going to be using a lot of these shapes. We can have them close to our canvas, or you can press the shortcuts, whatever works for you. I'm going to select the Rectangle tool by clicking here or pressing M on my keyboard. And then, I'm going to click and drag to create a rectangle. Here at the top, you can find the shape properties. And here, you can see the rectangle width and the rectangle height. I'm going to make the rectangle width 250 and the rectangle height 180 pixels. And now, I have my rectangle. Also here on the top, you're going to find the align tools. And I'm going to click here to make sure that I'm aligning to my art board, and then click here on the Horizontal align center, to make sure that my shape is centered. Now, the next thing I'm going to do is round my corners. I'm using Illustrator CC, so as you can see I have these little circles on the corners of my rectangle. Now, what they do, is that they allow me to round m corners, by clicking on them and moving them. If you don't have Illustrator CC, there are other ways you can achieve this same effect. You select your shape and go: Effect> Stylise>Round corners. And here you can see a little preview. And, by moving this radius value, you can see how I can achieve almost the same effect. I'm going to cancel, because I'm using CC. And I'm going to use these circles to round the corners. Also here, on the top, where the shape properties, you can see the corner radius. Here, I'm going to type 50 because I want my corners to be rounded on that radius. Then I'm going to fill the shape with a blue color that I had already selected, but you can feel free to make your monster in the colors that you like. Then, I'm going to go here to the Ellipse tool or press L on my keyboard, and create and ellipse that is around this size. And I going to make this 600 x 70, and I'm going to fill it with white. And I'm going to make another ellipse. And this time I'm going to make it 30x35 pixels, and I'm going to fill it with a darker blue color. And as you can see, now I have an eye and a pupil. And for me, the best way to make the other eye and the other pupil; is to select both shapes by clicking on one, and pressing Shift to select the other shape, and go: right-clic> Transform> Reflect. And make sure that I'm reflecting on the vertical axis, you can preview here. And make a copy. Now if I move it and press Shift, so it only moves in one direction, you're going to see that I have both eyes now. Now what I want to do, is select this eye, and then press Shift to select the other eye, and go: Object> Compound Path> Make. Or you can press Ctrl+8 on your keyboard. Then, I'm going to select the face with Shift. And then I'm going to go: right- click>Arrange> Send to back. Or you can press Ctrl+Shift+[. I'm going to do the same with the pupil. So, I'm going to select both of them and go: Object>Compound path>Make. Or press Ctrl+8. I'm going to select all the shapes and go here on the top to Horizontal align center. So they are all aligned on the same axis. And I'm going to create the mouth. Now to create the mouth, I'm going to go here to my Pen tool, and go here around the middle of the eyes and make a point; and then go here and make another point. But this time we're going to click and drag a little bit. I'm going to swap the fill and stroke, because this is the color I want for my stroke. And I'm going to select B, sorry, press B on my keyboard. Or select here the Selection tool. As you can see, I've made a mouth. And then I'm going to select my mouth. And you can go here to the stroke, or if you don't have this window open, you can go: Window> Stroke, or press Ctrl+F10. And I'm going to change the width to 4. And here on the top, you can see the Variable width profile. I'm going to click there, and select the Width profile: 1. So this has a little bit of difference between one point and another point. Then I'm going to make some fangs, so I'm going to go a little closer by pressing ctrl +. And then if you want to pan here you press the Spacebar or press H on your keyboard. And you select the the Hand tool. I'm going to go to the Pen tool again by selecting here or pressing P on my keyboard. And then I'm going to make a point here, then another point here, then another one here and close. And then make another point here. I'm trying to make little triangles, so they are the fangs. And I'm going to go to my Selection tool or press B on my keyboard; and select all of them, and fill them with a white colour and remove strokes, I don't need them. And there you go, we have two fangs. Now, I want this stroke to be on the front, so I'm going to select that one, and right-click> Arrange>Bring to front; or Shift+Ctrl+] , OK. Now I'm going to create some horns for my monster. So, I'm going to go here again to the Rectangle tool or press M. And I'm going to make some rectangles around this size. I going to make them 60 x 30, and I'm going to fill them with a darker blue color, and I'm going to send them to back. Again, you can do: Transform>Arrange> Send to back, or Ctrl+Shift+[ . Now, I want the top of the rectangle to be rounded, so I'm going to go to my Direct selection tool or press A on my keyboard. And make a selection of the top anchor points of my shape, and then I'm going to move them. I'm actually going to make the corner 10 pixels, no sorry, probably less, probably 5. So they have some roundness, and as you can see, only the ones that I selected, the ones around the top, are the ones that are getting rounded, the other ones are still straight. And I'm going to use my Hand tool to go a little up, you can press the Spacebar on your keyboard. And I'm going to select the pen tool again to make some other triangles, by making a point here, and then making another point here while dragging a little bit, and then making another point here and close the shape. And I'm going to select this beige color. And I'm going to send it back, again, Ctrl+Shift+[ . And now, I'm going to select both this shape and this shape and move them. And while moving it, I'm going to select Alt so I create a copy, and Shift so I can move it only in one direction. And then I have both my horns. And I'm going to select them, and I'm going to actually group them by pressing Ctrl+G, or go: Object>Group. Now I'm going to select this new group that I created, and make sure that I'm aligning to the Horizontal align center. And at this point, I can actually un-group these because I don't need them to be grouped. OK, now I'm going to create some hair for my character. So I'm going to go to the Pen tool and make a point here in the middle of the horns, and drag so I can create these handles. Then, I'm going to go here and drag again so I make these curves. And then I'm going to go here and just click, then I'm going to go here and drag a little bit, and then just click and drag a little bit, and just click and drag, and click and drag, so that you can make these nice handles. And there you go, you have a piece of hair. And I'm going to fill it with a kind of green- blue color. OK. Now, the next thing I want to do, now that I've created the head, is to make sure that I'm working in an organized way. So I'm going to rename this layer: "head". OK. So next thing I want to do, is create the body. And I'm going to actually go here to my layers. If you don't have your layers window open, you can go: Window>Layers, or press F7. And here, you're going to create a new layer by clicking on this icon. And I'm going to name this new layer: "body". And on this new layer, I'm going to create a rectangle with the Rectangle tool, or press M on my keyboard; and make a rectangle around this size. And then I'm going to change the values from 130 pixels to 80 pixels. I want the body to be behind the head; so I'm going to go to the layers, and click on the body and drag it down so it's below the head, and again I'm going to align it to my Horizontal align center, so it's sitting on the center of this character. Now just as I did before, I want to round just two of the corners, not the four of my rectangle. And I'm going to select the Direct Selection tool or press A on the keyboard, and select the bottom corners of of my shape, and then I'm going to round them. And this time I'm going to round them all the way to the center, so it's going to be 40 pixels. And now, I have my body. And I'm going to change the color to a green color. OK. Now, I want to create one arm. So, I'm going to create a new layer and place it below the body, and in this layer.... sorry, this is going to be the monsters left arm, but in my eyes it's a right arm so I'm going to call this: "right arm". And I'm going to select the shape and go.... I'm going to make sure that I'm on the right arm layer; and then press P or go to the Pen tool. And then just go here, and make another point here and drag a little bit. Then make another point here and drag a little bit, and make another point here. I going to actually get a little closer so I can see fine, so I'm going to press Ctrl+ a couple of times. And then I'm going to click and drag here, and then click-and-drag here, and then click-and-drag here, then just click, and then click and drag a little bit. As you can see, we have our arm. If you don't like a point of your arm, for example I think my thumb is too big; you can go to Direct selection tool or press A. And just select that anchor point that you didn't like, and move it around so that you get the shape that you like. OK, so I'm going to move this anchor point too, and I have one of the arms. I'm going to create on my body, on the layer of the body. So I'm going to select the Pen tool and make kind of a rectangular shape. Probably go to Ctrl+Z, to undo, like that. And then I'm going to go here, and then here, here, here. And now instead of closing it, I'm going to click and drag a little bit. Then click here, then click and drag a little bit, click and drag a little bit, and then just click. And I have my hand. Just like I told you before, if you have something that you don't like, just press A on your keyboard. You can go to the Direct selection tool, and move around your anchor points, so that they are in the place where you feel like your hands are working, OK. And here I'm going to actually move this anchor point here, so that it aligns with the arm. And there you go, I have the other arm. Now, I don't want this straight kind of angle here; so I'm going to go to the Direct selection tool, and make a selection of all the anchor points that are here. And then just round the corners as much as I can. It's going to be like that and now I have a rounded corner. And I'm going to select these arms, and actually make them a bit darker. And I want this hand to be on its own layer, so I'm going to select this hand. Or actually, I'm going to first create a new layer, and I'm going to call this new layer "right arm". If you don't know how to rename a layer, because I think I have omitted that so far, you're going to double-click on the name, and that's how you can rename the layer. It's important your name your layers because that way you are going to know exactly where your pieces are going to be. So this part of the arm, I just want to send it to back, so go: Ctrl+Shift+[ . And then this... I'm going to select this hand; and you can see when you select this, you're going to see this little square right next to the layer. And all you have to do, is just click there and drag it to the layer you want to change the selection. So I'm going to change it to the left arm, and now the arm is on its own layer. And I'm going to move it all the way to the top, because I wanted to be in front. And now we have both arms. And I'm going to select... to create a new layer, and place it all the way to the bottom. And I'm going to rename this layer "legs". OK. And I'm going to go to the Pen tool again, and then make a point here, and then make another point here, and then make another point here, but this time you're going to click and drag a little bit. And then we can drag a little bit. And there you go, now you have a *foot. Now again, you can select the Direct selection tool or press A, and move your anchor points until you're satisfied with your work. And again, if you want to make the other leg, all you have to do is: right-click>Transform> Reflect, and make a copy of it. And there you go. Now I'm going to select both my legs. And I'm going to actually group them temporarily, by pressing Ctrl+G. And then I'm going to make sure that they are aligned, by clicking here on the Horizontal align center. And and I'm going to un-group them by right-click and click here on un-group. Or you can go: Object and Ctrl+Shift+G or press here. OK. Now I have my legs back where I want them. Now I'm going to create a line. So I'm going to swap the colors and make a stroke. And I'm going to make it black so you can see what I want to do. And I'm going to select my Pen tool by clicking here or pressing P on my keyboard. And I want to make a point here, and then a point here. Then I'm going to make another point here, but I'm going to drag a little bit to make a little curve. And then I'm going to press B, so I can go to my Direct selection tool. And I'm going to do the same with the other leg. So I'm going to press P on my keyboard and make a point here, then here, and then another one here but dragging a little bit... And now we're going to use the Pathfinder tool. And if you don't have the Pathfinder window open, you can go here: Window>Pathfinder. Or Ctrl+Shift+F9. And you're going to have these Pathfinder tools. And I'm going to select both my legs and the line I just created; and I'm going to go here to the Pathfinders, and I'm going to find this one, the first one that is called "divide". And what this is going to do, it's going to divide the shape by the line that I just created. I going to do the same with the other one. And probably you didn't see a change, more than that the the outline is changed; and that is because the shapes are grouped. So I'm going to select them, right-click and go Ungroup. That way I'm going to have individual pieces. And I'm going to make the parts that are going to be kind of the shoes, a darker blue color. OK, there there we go, we're almost done. And I'm going to select the Ellipse tool, and make a little shade in there, and send to back: Ctrl+Shift+[ . And fill it with a grey color. OK, I'm going to Ctrl - to go a little... zoom out, to see my character. And, I think that's looking great. And one thing we can do is play a little bit with his body. So I'm going to press P and make sure that I'm on the layer: "body". And I'm going to make some lines, by just making a point, and then making another point here, and dragging a little bit to make a little curve. And then if you want to break the tangency, because I want them to be like, straight here; I'm going to click here again on the anchor point and that's going to break that, and then I'm going to do the same here, and it doesn't matter if you have a shape looking like this. And I'm going to do the same here. And I'm going to select both the shapes with the Selection tool, and make them a darker green. And I'm going to select all the shapes with Shift, and then I'm going to go: Edit>Cut, or Ctrl+X. I'm going to select the body, and go here to select the Draw inside mode. And then I'm going to go: Edit> Paste in place or Ctrl+Shift+B. And as you can see, when you go to the Draw inside mode; every shape that paste there is going to be a mask with your original shape. And if you double-click outside that, you're going to be outside that mode, you're going to be back to Draw normal. So that's it. Now, I have to think what I want my character to do on Illustrator. So I want my character to blink. And to make it blink, I'm going to create the eyes that are going to be different. So I'm going to select the pupils and the eyes by pressing Shift. And I'm going to create a new layer, and I'm going to call this layer "eyes". And then again, just like I told you before, you're going to go find this little square right next to the layer, and you're going to move it to the layer where you want to move the selection. Now the eyes are on *their own layer. And I'm going to click on the eyes and then go to the....and drag this layer to the new layer, and that way I'm going to make a copy. As you can see, I have a copy of the eyes. And I'm going to rename this to: "eyes 02". And what I want to do is, when you close your eyes you kind of have your eyelids covering your pupils. So I'm going to go to the Pen tool, and make sure that I'm on "eyes 02". And click here, then click here, then go all the way around. And then click here, and then go all the way around, close my shape. Then I'm going to do the same with the other side. With the other eye, sorry. And there you go. I'm going to select both these shapes, sorry these four shapes. And I'm going to fill them with the darker blue color. And I'm going to also select the pupils, and I'm going to go: Edit>Cut. Then I'm going to select the the eyes, and then I'm going to go again to Draw inside mode. And then I'm going to paste them by going: Edit> Paste in place or Ctrl+Shift+P. And as you can see now, They are masked inside... the circles that are making the eyes. So I'm going to duplicate this to make another copy, and I'm going to call this: "eyes 03". And on this "eyes 03", I'm going to double-click. And when you double-click, you access all the shapes are inside your mask. And I'm going to select everything, and then press Shift and select the eyes, so I de-select them. And actually first I'm going to do another thing. I'm going to select these eyes, and go to the darker blue that I picked. And then I'm going to select everything but the eyes, and then delete them. As you can see, I have these eyes that are blue. And I'm going to select the Pen tool and go here in the middle of the eyes and create a line. And then make it a little bit.... drag it a little bit to make it a little bit curved. And I'm going to use my my Eyedropper tool or press I on my keyboard, to select the same color that I had on the the mouth. And you can see they are the same, but this one doesn't have the width profile, so I'm going to add it. And then I'm going to select this, and press Alt + Shift to make a copy, and just move it in one direction. And there we go. Now we have our eyes close...our eyes half closing, and our open eyes. And this is going to help us a lot when we go to Photoshop and create our animation. OK, so now we're ready to export our work to Photoshop. And I would recommend that you save your work, all the time because it could be that sometimes the program crashes or something, so save your work. And then you're going to go: File>Export, and you're going to go: Export as. And here, you're going to make sure that you save the type as Photoshop, PSE. You can call it whatever you want, but I'm going to call it "monster animation", and I'm going to hit Export. And then here, you're going to make sure that your color mode is the same, the RGB we picked at the beginning; that our solution is the same: 72 ppi, and that you select Write layers. And you can embed or not you're ICC profile. And you're going to hit OK. And it depends on your computer, so you're right now you're going to have your Photoshop file selected. I mean, sorry, saved. So I'm going to go to Photoshop now, and I'm going to open my monster animation that I just created. OK great. And as you can see, it exported all the layers that I had on Illustrator. And what it did, is that it constrained the proportions to just where you had your last pixel. So I'm going to go here on the crop tool and make it a little bit bigger, so that I can have the same thing that I had before. And, here on the top you can select this 860 pixels so that it has the same ratio as before. And then you're going to select Crop. OK, so now we have all our layers. You can see that I have my arms, my eyes and everything there. OK, good. So next thing we're going to do, is go: Window, and we're going to go Timeline. And this is going to open the animation on Photoshop. And I'm going to create a video timeline by clicking here and Create video timeline. And you can see here that, every layer that I had here, has a lasyer also here on the timeline. So we're going to see what I want. First I'm going to make the blink. So I'm going to select "eyes 01" and I'm going to hide the layers for now. And I'm going to go and make it... I'm going to go to to the end of the timeline. And just click and drag to make this layer smaller...I'm actually going to make it... not that smaller. But this one, "the eyes 02", I'm going to make it like this, so it lasts 0.02 seconds. And then, these three, I'm going to make the same. And then here, I'm going to select the eyes layer and I'm going to go here to the scissors. I'm going to go to the scissors. So that I have one piece of the layer that has that same length as the other. And then I have the other that is longer. So I'm going to have the eyes, and then I'm going to move by clicking on the center, that way, I can move the whole layer. And move it here, and then the "eyes 03" here. And then right where the "eyes 03" ends, I want to move my eyes copy, the one that I cut before. And then, I'm going to end my timeline by going here, and dragging this around a second. If I press the Spacebar, you can see that the animation begins. OK so you can see how this guy is blinking. And probably if you don't like that this guy's doing it so fast, you can add one more second. We'll probably double it by going to 4. You can play around with this. And here on the bottom, you can see, you can make this smaller or bigger, so you can really see what you're doing. So for now I'm going to go back to 2, 'cos I think that's good. So now we have our blink. Now, I want to move the arm. So, I'm going to go to my layers, find the arm, this one, the left arm. I'm going to go: right-click. I want to show you why I'm doing this; because, if I go to the left arm here, and if you click on this little arrow here, you're going to find the things that you can keyframe on Photoshop. So it's the position, the opacity and the style. So this is great because you can play with this. And if you want to, for example, animate the positions, you just click here and you can make that property be animated any way you want. But in my case, I want to a keyframe the transformation because I want to rotate my arm. So I'm going to go: right-click> Convert to a smart object. And when I do that, and I again open the properties that I can keyframe; I can see that I can now, keyframe the Transform. So I'm going to go to the beginning, and set a keyframe by clicking here on the stopwatch. And then I'm going to go here, around ten frames... Click again, but this time... I'm going to get a little closer so you can see by clicking Ctrl +. And I'm going to press Ctrl + T to bring my transformation. And here, in the middle is the anchor point. So I'm going to move it around here, and just move my arm here, and hit Enter. Now you can see, that the arm rotates just as I wanted. I'm going to go to the frame 20 and select the key. And I want the same position as the first one, so I'm to click on that one, right-click and hit Copy. And then click on this one, and right-click>Paste And I'm going to show you what I just did. You can see now that my character is waving and saying hi, by just doing this little loop animation. And the next thing I want to do, is work a little bit with the other arm. So I'm going to go to the right arm, and again: right-click>Convert this to a smart object. So I can keyframe the Transform and I'm going to open it. So i can see the Transform keyframes. And I'm going to go and set another keyframe here, again the same that I did on the other arm. I'm going to make another keyframe here. And this time again, I'm going to get closer, a little bit by pressing Ctrl +. Then Ctrl|+T to open Transformation. I'm going to move my anchor point here, and then move it just a little bit here, and hit Enter. And then again, I'm going to go to the frame 20 and I'm going to set a key. And I'm going to click on the first key frame, so I can make a loop, and make a copy. And then go to this keyframe and paste that same motion. So I'm going to go here and make a preview by pressing the Spacebar. And you can see how that arm also moves a bit. And the reason why I want that arm to move a bit, is because I want everything but the legs to move a little bit down. Because when characters are still, they are not like, completely still, they move a little bit. So I'm going to go and select all my layers by clicking on this, "right arm", and then pressing Shift and clicking on my "left arm". And that way, I'm going to select all of my layers. And I'm going to: right-click and I'm going to Convert to smart object. And all the animation I did before is still there, but now I can go to my left arm and select my Transform again. And then go to 10 probably, and I'm going to Ctrl + a little bit, and I'm going to move it a little bit down. And then I'm going to go here to the frame 20, make another keyframe. And just as I did before, go to the first keyframe and right-click to copy the animation. And then to the last one, right-click to paste the position. OK. So now, I'm going to show you what I just did. Now, we have this little character, moving up and down and all the other motions with it before. And there you have your gif. You can export and I'm going to show you how you can do that. You're going to go: File>Export>Save for web. In Illustrator CC it says legacy. Or you can press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S. And then the Export window is going to appear. And here you're going to change the .png to .gif or .jif, depends what you want. And I'm going to select, instead of once I'm going to select forever, so that the looping option is forever. And you can play here the animation to have a little preview. And now we don't have a background, we could have one, if you want to have a background. But if you want it just to be white, you can uncheck the transparency and then you won't be transparent. And I'm going to save this .gif or .jif as "monster animation" and there we go. With this, you're going to have your file that you can show to your friends or post on social media. And now, I would encourage you to see what you can do with the animation properties. And try to probably, add style or play with your opacity and see what you can get with your projects. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Thank you
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11 months ago

Great tutorial!

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