Even the most perfect of Instagram pictures has room for a little more wow-factor. Illustrator Jessica Jansen (@layeringcontrast) will show you how adding small animations to your drawings or photos, using Adobe Premiere Pro, will bring them to life – taking them to a whole new level in the process.

What you'll need

Tip: Before you get going on your drawing or photo, think about what you’d like to animate as these will need to be created on separate layers.  

Create your project

Click New Project, name it and click OK to get started. Next, import all your assets – use your own, or find Jessica’s in the asset downloads. To do this, click File > Import. Then create a new sequence by selecting New Item in the Project panel, followed by Sequence.

Set up your layers

Drag your background photo from the Project panel onto your first layer (V1 in Timeline). Go to Sequence > Sequence Settings and change the Frame Size to ‘1080 x 1350’, which is perfect for Instagram. Then drag the additional illustrations onto your Timeline, stacking them above the first layer.

Prep your animating tools

Click the layer you want to work with, hit Effects and type in ‘Write on’. Then drag this effect onto the layer you’d like to animate. In the Project panel, change the colour to something bright so you can see what you’re doing – and change the Brush Size to be a little bigger than your illustration. Change Brush Hardness to ‘100%’ and the Stroke Length to ‘5 seconds’. Click Brush Position and then in the tool panel to the left of your Timeline, click Selection tool.

Start your animation

You’ll see a bright dot on your work area – this is the Brush tool you’ve just created. Using your cursor, drag this to where you’d like your animation to start. Head to Effect Controls and click the Toggle Animation next to Brush Position – that’s your first keyframe created. Go one frame forward and drag the dot a little further along the drawing and release it to create your next frame. Repeat this until you’ve reached the end.

See how it looks

Go back to the Effect Controls, click Paint Style and change On Original Image to Reveal Original Image. To see how it looks, pull your Playhead back to the start of your Timeline and hit play. If bits of your animation are revealed too soon it’s likely that your brush size was too big. You can adjust the size in Effect Controls to get it just right. You can also lower Brush Spacing to its lowest option – ‘0,001’.

Continue animating

Start on your next animation. You can choose where you’d like it to start by dragging the layer along in your Timeline. To make it appear in frame, go to Effect Controls and Opacity then add a keyframe (the small diamond-shaped icon) and set the Opacity to ‘0%’ at the start of the frame. Go three frames forward and add another keyframe set to ‘100%’ Opacity.

Add the finishing touches

You can adjust the keyframe timings and play around with the effects until you’re satisfied. Check out the video for a few more tips from Jessica. Ready to export? Go to File > Export > Media and you’re all done.

Download my practice assets



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