Create Easy, Cool Graphic Animation

I needed to create a graphic for a STEM-Health Camp at the community college where I work, Rappahannock Community College, in Virginia.

I tried a few static images, but the graphic needed to show three elements of the camp:

Arduino coding

Robotic prosthetics

EKG heart rhythm simulation

Here’s how I created the final graphic:

The Coding section was a free video download from Pixabay. I had to convert the MP4 video to a GIF so I could add it to the other GIF elements.

I uploaded the MP4 to EZgif.com and it returned a GIF. However, I needed to convert that GIF to individual frames. Easy! Back to EZgif.com and converted the GIF to a ZIP file of individual JPG frames.

Next, I found again on Pixabay, a static graphic of a robotic arm. After changing the colors and removing some elements, I silhouetted the arm from the base in Photoshop.

Then, I create a 50-page document in InDesign. I use InDesign a lot for animations.

I placed individual frames from the Coding video onto pages in the document, then I created the EKG by adding a red line segment, page by page.

Next, the robotic arm. I added the arm and the base to a page, then Control-A to copy it all, Control-J to go to the next page and Shift-Alt-Control-V to paste in place. That’s important as the X and Y axes are the same from page to page, otherwise the animation may jump around.

Then, on each page I placed the robotic arm, I would rotate it just a bit on each page in sequence.

After all that, I export all as JPGs. Then, it’s off to Photoshop.

File >> Scripts >> Load Files Into Stack…

With the animation timeline active at the bottom >> Create Frame Animation.

Then Make Frames from Layers. Reverse Frames, and all the individual JPGs are arranged in the timeline. Then, it’s just a matter of selecting the duration that works best, sometimes one frame at a time.

Then, output the whole thing as a GIF, size it correctly, reduce the number of colors if you can to save on size, and there you have it!

https://www.rappahannock.edu/stem

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Jeff Macharyas

Jeff Macharyas

Executive Director for Communications and Marketing at SUNY Morrisville in Madison County, New York.