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[Tutorial] Kawaii Sigs 101 (AKA how to git gud with animations)

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Because 2 years later and sigs are still bad, it's time to make that guide I promised a thousand years ago. 


Disclaimer: This is only a guideline and it's gonna be vague and dirty. You'll still need to figure out most of the stuff yourself. My workflow probably isn't the best, I just slam stuff together until it looks okay. 

If you can't make something that looks decent, don't expect animations to magically give you talent.



  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe After Effects CS6
  • Adobe Fireworks CS6
  • After Effects plugins like Trapcode/Magic Bullet/Knoll Light Factory/etc.

It needs to be CS6 because later versions are shit and got rid of most of the formats we will use. The plugins are not necessary but you'll need them for stuff like





Are you going to use an existing transparent gif? Then the first thing you need to do is prepare the gif for after effects. AE can't import transparent gifs directly. 

The first thing you need to do is open the gif in Fireworks and then save as .swf 


That way it will preserve the transparency and it'll look good when imported. 



Photoshop time! Open up photoshop, and do your thing. Make sure you make different layers for each thing and give them names that won't confuse you.

This guide won't teach you how to make something that looks good. That's up to you. Pick stuff that looks good together and just do your thing.

After you're done, save as .PSD, max compatibility, etc etc...




Open up AE. 

Go to file-> import and find the PSD file. 

Make sure you import as composition with editable layer styles:



Then double click the composition and you will see all the layers that you had in your PSD. You can now import the .swf file that you saved and place it inside the scene. 

You can use the time stretch function to make it shorter or longer. The overall length of the composition should be around 1-2 seconds at most, or else you'll end up with a huge file.



Learn AE if you haven't. There is a fuckload of tutorial sources on youtube/interwebs. ANYTHING YOU CAN DO IN AE YOU CAN HAVE IN A SIG. ANYTHING.

You'll need to learn this yourself since this little guide won't cover anything. There's too many possibilities of what you can make.

The only things you need to consider are:

a) Size/Length

B) Colors - GIF is a crappy format and only supports like 256 colors. Avoid gradients as much as possible, use similar colors, etc. It might look okay in AE but once it becomes a GIF it'll look horrible and grainy.


Some useful tutorials:







After you're happy with your composition, go to File -> Export -> Add to Render Queue.

Then in the Output Module, select custom, and then go with PNG Sequence and RGB + Alpha


This will make your composition into a bunch of images, one per frame. 



Go to Fireworks and select all the images. Open them but make sure you check "Open as animation".



After that, click Save As.. and select Animated GIF.

Go to options before you save and tweak the colors if needed. It will give you an image preview of what it will look like. Make sure you go to the Animation tab, select all, and set the delay to 0. 

After that just save it and you're done.


That's about it. The hard part is making it look good and learning AE, but with a little practice and lots of youtube tutorials, you'll do great. 


And remember kids, don't use bevel and emboss!


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I'm a busy man :(



and you never watched the spice girls



shut up, scary spice

Edited by Vorred

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