Create your own gif with Express Animate


The most commonly used animations are gif images on websites. A gif animation is an image in one file where several frames are played in succession. This creates the illusion of a movie. Using Express Animate you can create your own gif. And much more!

Go to the webpage to get Express Animate. When you start the installation program, choose to get the Dutch version. When Express Animate is launched for the first time a little later, it is recommended to select the option Open sample project to select. Then you can get a good idea of ​​how this tool works based on a few examples. The Express Animate work window deserves some explanation.

Working window

Anyway, once the sample project has been read in, you will see a seemingly complicated work window. That was a bit scary at first! Make yourself comfortable by pressing the play button that you see at the bottom left of the preview window.

The animation plays and you immediately see that everything revolves around frames. Frame after frame is played, creating the animation. Later on, it’s up to you, as the artist, to make sure that your frames also follow each other in the right way. And while those frames follow each other, the placed objects change in position, size, shape and color, among other things.

In the meantime, we are still faced with an impressive work window. A little explanation, we go clockwise from top left. Of Menu you can skip the ribbon and control directly. Here you can, among other things, save the file, operate the bulletin board and read in objects.

Then we go to the ribbon with Home, Object and Suite. on Home lists the most commonly used tasks, such as being able to load media and being able to add objects. Object can be used to draw objects, among other things. Suite refers to all other NCH products that can apparently be installed side by side.

On the Canvas Panel all objects are put down and roughly manipulated. Well considered, your video is made in this place.

You use the control window to play a preview of the video. A grid can be displayed and a magnet can be switched on. You can also zoom in and zoom out here.

On the timeline you can see how the frames follow each other. What happens at what time? You will soon use that timeline to make animation changes.

It Object Panel you use to fill in and position the objects in detail. From position to color, everything can be set in great detail here. Of course, the options offered differ per type of object.

It Composition Panel provides an overview of all objects in the Canvas Panel. When you select an object, it will be highlighted in the Object Panel.

The Express Animate work window. Above all, don’t be put off!

New project

Click on the ribbon Home and then the button New project to create a new future animation. As expected, this results in a completely empty work window. Press the button Add text to place some text on the Canvas Object. And while you add the text with the help of a mini-editor, you immediately see that text appear in three places: in the Canvas Panel, in the Object Panel and in the Composition Panel.

By the way, you can always use the mini-editor again by clicking on the text object in the Canvas Panel. Take this opportunity to place some more texts on the Canvas Panel. Use the arrows in the Object Panel to place those texts in the correct hierarchical position in the Composition Panel. Give the texts all their own color to make some distinction. Admittedly, we haven’t created an animation with that yet, but all the objects needed for that animation are now in the project.

All the objects needed for the animation are now in the Canvas Panel. Now just let it animate.

Create animations

And then we get to the complicated part of Express Animate: actually creating animations. We want to change the objects that were previously placed on the screen in terms of position and size, among other things. That animation takes place on the timeline and in the Object Panel. You are supposed to fill in other object properties at regular intervals. At one (first) moment the object has its first properties. At the other (next) moment the object gets new properties. And so you go on.

Example: the start position is the first frame and then you set an object to a size of 100 percent. Then you move the timeline, after which you give the object a size of 150 percent. And if you then click on the play button, you will see what the result of this adjustment has become. Then it becomes a repetition of moves, because the above applies to all individual objects; crisscross each other.

You can also adjust properties such as position, size, rotation and color. Exactly what those properties are depends on the type of object. A text object simply has different properties than a drawing object, a picture or a movie. Express Animate ensures that the changes you set are applied evenly when the animation is played. And, of course, these properties can still be adjusted afterwards. And so on, until your animation is completely to your liking.

Save animations

Well, the animation is ultimately satisfactory. Initially, you save the animation (for reuse) as an Express Animate file. Immediately after you go to Menu, File and Save video. Then choose the option File, but you can also upload the animation directly to various internet services. You then export to a Video file, for which a dialog box appears where you can specify what kind of video file it should be. We choose a gif file here, but Express Animate can handle many more video formats. The resolution and the frame rate (both determine the final file size) can also be adjusted.

Express Animate has multiple export options.

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