How to Create a Loading Circle Animation in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Loading Circle Animation in Adobe Photoshop


Hey, everyone! Howard Pinsky
here with another Photoshop tutorial, where we’re going to be creating a very simple ‘loading
circle’, which you can use on your websites, or before your video projects. This effect,
which you can see playing here, is going to take advantage of some of Photoshop CS6’s
improved animation capabilities, leaving you with a silky smooth result. Let’s get to it. In terms of the size of the document, 1280
x 720 pixels should be large enough for most projects that you’ll be working on, but feel
free to start larger or smaller if you wish. As for the shape of the circle, there’s a very handy custom shape that comes with Photoshop
that will work out great for a design like this. Grab the Custom Shape Tool from your
Tools Bar, then at the top on the Options Bar, open up the Shape Picker. By default, this shape may not be available,
so you’ll have to load in some additional shapes. Open up the Shape Picker’s menu by
clicking on the gear icon at the top right corner, then choose the Shapes pack towards
the bottom. This will allow you to append them to the end of your current list of shapes,
or replace them completely. And when they’ve been loaded in, scroll down until you see the Circle Frame shape. This
will give us that donut shape that we’re looking for, which you can then drag out on your document
as small or large as you wish. The color of the shape doesn’t matter at this point, as
we’re about to add a Gradient Overlay. And to do that, let’s hop into our Layer Styles with a simple double-click on the new shape
that we just created. Let’s start out with the Gradient Overlay, which is going to define
the colors for our design. Before changing any colors, you’ll want to set the Style to Angle. This will allow us
to create a gradient that will travel around the circle as we adjust the Angle. Once that’s set, clicking on the Gradient
Bar will bring up the Gradient Editor. We’re going to be working with four stops. The two
on each end, then two near the left side, which will help define the color of the glow.
One is going to be placed around the 30% mark, and one around 40%. Clicking right underneath
the bar will add a new stop. Now, the second stop from the left, the one placed around 30%, is going to be the glow’s
color. Let’s set it to blue for this example, but you can choose any color you wish. The other stops will be set to all the same
color. We’ll go with an almost pure black. Once you’ve set one of them, you can simply
click on the others, and sample right from the gradient bar. Good, that’ll complete the gradient. Next,
we’re going to add an Inner Glow to add a bit of shine to the circle.
Once the glow has been added, start by changing
the color to a pure white, the Blend Mode to Overlay, and the Opacity to 100%. Down
below, set the size around 25 pixels, then change the Contour to Ring. Of course, if
you’re looking for a different style of glow, feel free to tweak the settings to your liking. And that will complete the design, nice and
simple, and ready to animate. To begin the animation process, we first need to reveal our timeline. This is usually found
at the bottom your workspace, but if it’s not visible, you can activate it under the
Window menu. When it’s visible, you’ll likely need to press the Create Video Timeline button to begin
animating. If your button currently says Create Frame Animation, click on the arrow to the
right, and choose the Timeline option. Once the Timeline has been created, you’ll notice that your layers appear in the same
order as they do in your Layers Panel, and each layer can be expanded using the arrow
to the left. You’ll want to expand the shape layer that we’ve been working on. Expanding the layer will reveal all the different
elements that can be animated. In this case, the Position, Opacity, Style and Vector Mask.
Because we’re dealing with Layer Styles, we’re going to be animating the Style element. Once you’ve identified what you’ll be animating,
clicking on the stopwatch icon will create the first keyframe of the animation. At this
point, we want to use the playhead to go to the next point in the animation. Now you would think it would be a two step
animation, but it’s not that simple, and I’ll explain why in a moment. When you’re at the next point in your timeline,
the gradient needs to be adjusted, so a simple double-click on the Gradient Overlay Layer
Style will open it up. Here’s why it’s not a simple two step animation. For the Angle value, there’s no way to tell
Photoshop to rotate 360 degrees, clockwise, and if we were to go straight to -90 degrees,
Photoshop wouldn’t know if you wanted to go clockwise or counter-clockwise, so we need
to give Photoshop a nudge. So instead of -90 degrees, we’ll set the Angle to -89 degrees.
This way, Photoshop knows to rotate the Angle clockwise. Now when you press okay, a new keyframe will
automatically be added to the timeline. Now we can go to the next point by moving the
playhead, once again. This time, when we adjust the Angle value, we’ll want to set it at 92 degrees. Again,
this will give Photoshop a nudge as to which direction to rotate the angle. And again,
when you accept the changes, a new keyframe is added. Now before we play back the animation, you
can also set the last frame of the animation by dragging the end-point right to the current
position of the playhead. One rotation will be enough, because if you want the animation
to loop, under the Timeline’s menu, you can choose to loop the playback, if you wish. Now pressing the Spacebar, will playback your
animation. The first playback will be a bit choppy, as Photoshop is rendering each frame,
but after that, the animation will be silky smooth! Here’s one more neat advantage of using Photoshop
CS6. Layer Styles can now be added to groups, so I go ahead and place this shape layer into
a group, by holding down Shift and clicking on the New Group icon, I’m able to further
stylize this design, even after it’s been animated. For example, I can add a Pattern
Overlay to give it a bit of texture. Photoshop comes with a bunch of nice textures which
may work well on a design like this, and of course, you can change the Blend Mode to blend
it in nicely. Again, after applying styles, the first animation will be a bit choppy, but it’s smooth sailing
after that! From here, you can export it as a movie file, of save it as an animated gif,
if you choose. And that’ll do it! A simple animated loading circle in Photoshop CS6. As with all tutorials,
take what you’ve learned in this video, and make it your own by changing the colors, or
adjusting the Layer Styles. If you enjoyed this video, please “like” it, comment on what you’d like to see covered
in a future video, and check out my other tutorials at IceflowStudios.com. Take care.

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