I am working on doing an Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) for a client and I want to make a really smooth simple animation of a notification bell ringing.

Typically I would use Photoshop to make a .gif, though I am after something that can help me create a more advanced, smooth result.

Any recommendations would be brilliant.

  • Hi Brandrally, welcome to GDSE! Could you maybe edit your question and add in some more detail? For example, what is the purpose of the animation? Will it be a long animation? Will you use it on a website, in an app, in a larger (animated) movie? Do you have experience in creating animations? What exactly do you mean by 'advanced' and 'smooth'? Do you have access to certain software that you want to use, because there are a billion animation tools out there.
    – PieBie
    Jul 26, 2018 at 14:57
  • Related: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/39613/…
    – Ryan
    Jul 27, 2018 at 12:44

3 Answers 3


I am subscribed to the Litmus's newsletters (litmus.com) and more than once I have been surprised by the animated gifs included in their emails.

They even have a very recommendable publication on their blog about how to include and optimize animated gifs in emails, although it's about animated gifs in general: https://litmus.com/blog/a-guide-to-animated-gifs-in-email.

From there I extract this text:

Not everyone has Photoshop chops, though. Many marketers and designers need to make GIFs out of existing video footage. While you could use something like Adobe After Effects, tools exist for most platforms that make GIF creation easy. On Mac, many people swear by GIF Brewery. Windows users can take advantage of programs like Instagiffer and GIF Animator. If you’re looking for online tools, there is no shortage of web-based GIF creators. There are even apps on mobile that can help you create GIFs!

Beyond Photoshop, I think Adobe After Effects has better animation resources.



Separate your workflow. First the animation, then the animated gif.

Use any compositing or animating program you want, then generate a video or a series of stills and transform it into a gif.

Try HitFilm Express, Blender or NCH Express Animate.


What you really need to be looking at is Disney's 12 Principles of Animation on Wikipedia available from most bookstores and a cornerstone book - Disney's The Illusion of Life on Amazon

You need to learn basics of ease in / ease out, squash and stretch, anticipation, etc. These along with keyframing and inbetweening is what produces smooth animation.

All of this can be done in Photoshop but it is often easier in a dedicated animation suite such as After Effects if you're a CC subscriber. That can depend on what look and feel you're going for. Hand drawn look Photoshop may be best. Vector look you may want After Effects. While 3D and you may want Maya. There are other applications as well and at times you'll want to use a combination of more than one.

Some great tutorials can be found on School of Motion and I'd encourage you to watch their entire Photoshop series.

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