This Week I've Taught Myself How To Produce GIFs, Instagram Video And Use Textures
This week, I challenged myself to research ways of developing my online digital marketing skills by producing GIFs and Instagram Video with the use of different textures.
My first examples below shows the Instagram test video I produced earlier this week; combining textures, animations, and the square video.
My first step was using photoshop. I designed and laid out every element to my exact specification of how I wanted it to look. I wanted to try out a "window" glazed look and so took to using two different textures; sand and scratch.
I applied the "screen" effect on both so that the blacks were removed and to allow for my line-patterned background, which also has a "gradient ramp" effect applied to it, to come through. I also created a vignette on the sand texture, so that it would only be visible on the edges. I then darkened the effect entirely. The purpose of this is to guide the important visual areas to the centre of the graphic. In turn, this also helps prevent dead space.
I then transferred the Adobe Photoshop file directly across to a new 10 second composition in Adobe After Effects. The Big Screen logo is animated with two masks using the "trim path" effect and scales in an out; also with a 0 - 100 - 0% opacity.
The full 16:9 ratio video is then exported as a 720p video using Adobe Media Encoder. It's important that the square of the video remains central to video's area. I airdropped the video to my iPhone where I then uploaded the video using Instagram. Instagram automatically saves all of the content I upload as a square video so I now have both the 16:9 aspect ratio version as well as a square video that I can use across other social media platforms.
It's great that SquareSpace can use GIFs as it's header banner image. After publishing this post, I'll be interested to see if it maintains the animation across all social media sites or if it's just kept within the confines of this website.
GIFs are pretty much one of the best, low-capacity alternatives to videos for social media posting. They're great for adding onto posts that don't have imagery and sometimes can convey more of a story than an image. They're also great for video teasers for the likes of Youtube.
So how did I create the banner image? Well, it was a lot easier than I thought it might be.
Firstly, I designed the artwork in After Effects which I then animated. For those who don't know, After Effects works very similarly to Photoshop but with the addition of animated sequences. GIFs can last up to the recommended length of 6 seconds, so I created a 6 second composition and started animating from there, using the Royal Wedding photo.
Once I had created the animation, I exported as I usually would do, like any video using the standard After Effects settings. Then, I opened this video in Photoshop. I never knew photoshop could actually handle video but to my surprise, it worked seamlessly (though it did have to think for a few seconds before it opened).
Using Image > Image Sizes, I then rescaled the image down to 320 x 180 pixels. It needs to stay small in order for the likes of Twitter and SquareSpace to handle the file with ease. I then went to File > Export > Save For Web and saved it as a GIF and there you go, a small tiny brilliant GIF ready for use across the Big Screen website and social media.
You can buy texture packs online though, there are many free ones for you to take advantage of. My advice is to actually create your own. Take a camera, even a phone camera if you like and snap some shots of sand, brick work, grass or glass. You're then ready to apply textures for your work.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. I am constantly trying to develop my online digital marketing skills for cross-displined work. It's important to stay on top of the current trends facing social media so any personal development like this, is invaluable.