Today I have a really fun tutorial for you! How to create a colourful flashing letters animation with Photoshop.
For this tutorial, we'll be putting our GIF/video together in Photoshop. A GIF is formed of still images called 'frames' that are strung together to make an animation. You can also export your animation as an mp4 video which is what we'll need for Instagram.
Before we put the GIF together we want to create our still 'frames' in a different programme - I'm going to call this our Storybord. I use Adobe InDesign to create my storyboard which is part of the Creative Cloud software, just like Photoshop is, but Illustrator is another option.
If you don't have any Adobe software perhaps you could use Canva to make your frames or you could even make them in Powerpoint/Keynote (export as png files). Then you'd need to use an online GIF maker like this to string your 'still frames' together. You can also download your GIF as a video from that same website (you'll need it in mp4 video format for Instagram).
Now I've covered the logistics and programmes I'm going to use (and options if you don't have this software)...Let's dive in!
Watch the video above for the full tutorial and then you can refer back to the action steps below.
First we're going to create our Storyboard. In this video I've done this inside InDesign.
Open a file at 1080x1080 px with one artboard/page initially. Make sure you have your typography toolbar open (go to Window > Workspace > Typography so that your type options are along the top) and your pages panel (go to Window > Pages) is open.
Now you can draw a box for your background colour, the RGB colour code I'm using for this pink is R 225, G 193,
B 197. Add your background colour to your swatches. Click your background box and lock it in place by going to Object > Lock.
Press 'W' on your keyboard at any time to see your pages with boundary boxes hidden (it will toggle on and off, unless you're on your type tool and clicked into a text box, you'll just type w's then!). Alternatively, go to View > Overprint Preview. Overprint preview is more for print purposes and I won't explain that right now, but it's a quick way when you're working on a web file to turn all your boundary boxes off so your pages look more clean.
Now we can start adding our typography! Draw a new text box and type out the words - I chose Fri Yay here, but you can try whatever you want. Download the font Montserrat Alternates I'm using for this here.
Highlight your words and centre align them, set the size to 180 (or whatever works with your words) and set the tracking to 100 to give each letter some breathing room. Make all your letters white.
Un-highlight your text by clicking onto your background, then click your text box so that the little white squares appear in each corner. double click on the white square at the bottom right corner - this should snap your text so it fits more snuggly round your text.
Now you'll want to centre align your text box to your page - with your text box still with it's little white corner boxes, go to your align panel usually in the menu on the right hand side, make sure you're aligning to the page and then centre it horizontally and vertically.
Once we have our text in the centre of our page, we can start to add our colourful letters in. Highlight your letter F and change the colour to orange (R 255, G 93, B 6). Add your orange into your swatches panel. This is our very first frame done!
Now in your pages panel, right click your page and select 'duplicate page'. This will copy everything exactly as it is onto a second page. It's important that all our text remains in exactly the same place on each frame, so by duplicating the page each time we can achieve this!
On our second page we're going to change out F back to white and then change our R to orange. And hey presto, this is our second frame!
We'll do the same until we've changed our last letter to orange.
On the next frame, change all the text to white again.
Then on the next frame we'll create the effect that the whole text is flashing - so change all the text to orange.
We'll then duplicate our fully white text and fully orange text 2 times so that we have 3 flashes.
Duplicate your fully white text one more time as our final frame before we'll want the animation to look back to the beginning.
Now we have all our still frames done, click file and export and save them as png files. You'll have each frame as a separate png file and so it's time to open up Photoshop to turn our stills into a moving GIF/animation!
With Photoshop open, and before we create a document, we'll go to File > Scripts > Load files into stack.
'Browse' to choose all the still frames we just made, click open, and 'ok'.
Now we want to make sure our Timeline panel is open (go to Window > Timeline). Now click 'Create frame animation' on the timeline, then click the tiny hamburger menu in the top right corner of the timeline section and choose 'Make frames from layers'.
Make sure the little drop down at the very bottom of the timeline says 'forever' so that the GIF will loop once it's exported.
The frames will usually be in the wrong order on the timeline (I'm not sure why this happens!) so we'll just need to rearrange them which should be pretty simple. Drag and drop to rearrange them. On each frame choose 0.2 seconds by clicking the tiny dropdown under each thumbnail.
Now when we press play at the bottom of the timeline we'll see our animation play in the correct order! This means we're done and it's time to export!
To export the files as a GIF go to File > Export > Save for Web. Choose GIF from the drop down in the second box down on the right and then 'Save' at the bottom and choose where you want to save your file.
If you want to upload your animation to your Instagram feed you'll need to export it as a video. This is easy! Go to File > Export > Render Video. Select the folder you want to save in and click 'Render'.
You're all done - Share your creation with the world!
Let me know how you get on with this and please do tag me on Instagram so I can see your wonderful animations!
Email me at if you have any trouble or to tell me what you would like to learn next!
Who am I?
Hello you! I'm Meg, a self-taught designer from Wales in the UK.
Back in 2014 I was working an admin job and hoping there was more to life. I decided enough was enough and in a few short years I talked my way into a graphic design role with no prior experience (just a serious work ethic!), went on to work freelance at design agencies, and later, set up my own business - Lemon & Birch.
I've always forged my own path and I'm here to make things just that little bit easier for you.