Animated Profile Creation

I’ve been asked a few times if this animation on my Instagram feed was done with a Photoshop Action or Plug-in. While I guess you can create an Action to do this, I did it all manually. It started with a self-portrait that I edited in a mobile app called Prisma. Prisma is a hosted application, which means that the processing is not done on your mobile device. You need to be connected to the internet and your image is sent to their servers, processed, and sent back to you. Read their Terms of Use to make sure you are comfortable with all of it.

For this image, I took my photo and sent it to my mobile device. Then I used various Prisma effects and saved each effect on the device. I then sent those renditions back to my computer and opened the folder in Adobe Bridge. There I selected all the images and clicked Tools > Photoshop > Load Files Into Photoshop Layers.

Once in Photoshop, I clicked on Window and selected Timeline to show the video timeline at the bottom of the screen (see screen shot). I then clicked on Create Frame Animation in the middle of the timeline box. That added one frame to the timeline. Next I clicked on the control box in the upper right corner of the timeline and selected Make Frames From Layer, which added all the rest of the layers into the timeline.

Now I needed to select all of the frames on the timeline to set the duration of each frame. Click on the first frame and Shift-click on the last frame to select all of them. Then click on one of the frames where it says 0 sec. In the pop-up menu I selected 0.5 (1/2 second)*, which got applied to all the selected frames.

Then I clicked on the word “Once” below the frames and changed that to Forever. Now you can click on the Play button near that to see your animation play. If you are happy with the result you are ready to export to video. Click the controller to stop the animation from playing. To the left of the word Forever at the bottom of the screen is another button. Click on that to Convert to Video Timeline.

Select all of the frames, click on 0 sec on one of the frames and set the time duration for the frames. Then click Once and select forever. Then click the timeline button to the left of Once/Forever to convert to a video timeline.

Select all of the frames, click on 0 sec on one of the frames and set the time duration for the frames. Then click Once and select forever. Then click the timeline button to the left of Once/Forever to convert to a video timeline.

The buttons along the bottom will change. Now the second button is an arrow. Click on the arrow to open the video render dialog box where you can name your file and tell it where to save to. I left all the other settings at their default (see the screen shot) and clicked Render. It took a few seconds to render the video and I was done.  

Once you have your MP4 video file you can send that to your mobile device and then post on Facebook as a video profile image or post to Instagram.

*I believe that on Instagram your video has to be at least 3 seconds long. If your video is shorter, go back to Photoshop and duplicate all of your layers before clicking on Make Frames From Layers. This will double the length of your video. I also believe that on Facebook the video has to be 7 seconds or less to be used as a profile image, so you might need to make your transitions faster (try 0.3 seconds instead of 0.5) .