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I am an illustrator and I want to create a video with animation loops similar to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8a45UZJGh4

Sample screen capture: enter image description here

How is something like this done? Do they create separate frame-by-frame animation loops for each of the moving parts and combine them using a program? I mainly use Photoshop and was told it could handle something like that. If not, I also have After Effects although I'm brand new to it.

Please advise me on how I should move forward with this. Thank you.

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I will divide this answer into 2 parts.

1. The methodology

Define a "loop container". It is well known that you can divide 60 by several numbers. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, etc. This means that you can make a big loop of 60 frames and several sub-loops of smaller sizes and repeat them. You can fit 2 loops of 30 frames, 10 loops of 6 frames, etc. You do not need to use 60 or multiples of 60. You can use 20 if you want and have subloops of 5 for example.

But using a loop container is to optimize the loop, in the case for example if you need an animated gif. If you only need a video, you can add some randomness. You are not limited by the total number of frames.

2. The software

Use whatever you want or whatever you can. That animation could be a hand-drawn image on paper, digitalized and painted inside Ps, (or any other paint application, from which dozens exist), Or painted directly on that application.

Just keep separated the assets that are movable. The arm, the mini robot; and the elements that cover those pieces, the torso of the girl, the window, the city background.

Yes, you could hand-draw each frame, of those assets.

I would not assemble them inside Ps. There are far better programs to do that. Any video editor will be better. If you name a sequence, for example, the arm, as Arm-01.png Arm-02.png, etc. The video editor could import that as a sequence. Then you just paste the assets on a layer and compose.

The train does not need to have more than 1 image, it just has an original position and an exit position.

Use Premiere, or if you are not paying for the full Adobe suite, use Davinci Resolve.


Some animations do not require you to draw more than 1 image. You paste it into a "mesh" and deform the mesh.

Here is an example: https://youtu.be/TNjIyaVvPdg?t=32

You can do that in Blender. https://www.blender.org/

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  • Very helpful, thank you. Let's say for example I have an illustration of a palm tree and I want it subtly swaying back and forth. Would I need to draw out each frame or do these programs have automated features for these types of basic movements? I think a frame-by-frame would look cooler imo but in some instances I may need to save some time.
    – Desi
    Aug 11 at 0:42
  • That is another type of animation. Normally you put the drawing on a mesh and deform the mesh.
    – Rafael
    Aug 11 at 0:45
  • Congratulations for posting the first how do i animate this simple thing post that is simple. @Desi theres no one way to approach this. It ultimately depends on the method you choose. You could construct the palm out of multiple pieces then move each ondividually. Like cardboard cutouts. You could then rig this to follow a series of bones or a spline. You can also animate each frame separately but this is generally harder work and harder to get to loop properly. You can also use a lattice deformer, or expression diriven. You can animate forward, or backwards or towards the middle
    – joojaa
    Aug 11 at 4:47
  • One can create keyframes and draw inbetweens.
    – joojaa
    Aug 11 at 4:49

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