Here's an example of the effect we're going to create
I realized it was a tiny example... so I just rushed through to make a larger one... I KNOW it's not as pretty as it should be but hey, I'm lazy sometimes...
First we just start off with a plain new canvas, white or black background, not too small, probably best sized over 100*100 for a good effect. In this example I have taken a 200*200 one. Press D to reset your colors (on the left you’ll see primary black, secondary white color).
Now, before we continue with the tutorial, I’ll explain the use of “actions” in photoshop. Actions are series of actions recorded, somewhat comparable to macros in office programs.
Since we’ll need to repeat a series of effects for about 4 times, I’ll also explain this feature.
For this, we’re going to need to activate our actions-tab, which you’ll normally find next to the history tab in that certain PALETTE
If you can’t find it, check your menu to see if it’s activated (windows>actions or simply press F9 to toggle show/hide the palette).
On the bottom you can see the controls for your actions. Press the map symbol to create a new set. This will be your personal folder, making it easier for you to find your own actions in the future. Name it whatever you want, I named it Set 1.
Then click the symbol to the right of the map symbol to create a new action.
This menu will pop up:
This is all just your own choice, whatever gets your mojo running. As soon as you click Record you’ll have to be cautious of what you do because every change to the document will be recorded into your action and thus repeated if you activate your action sequence.
So once you click Record, this is what you do:
Create a new layer
then cover it with:
Filter> Render > Clouds
Then we're going to add more contrast
Image> Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast
Filter> Blur > Smart blur
You don’t need to pick Smart blur specificly or go by my settings, as long as you get rid of the ruggedness of the cloud filter, if you want to get the same end result at least.
Then we’re done with the Action sequence, you can just click the stop button on the bottom left of the actions palette.
Now we only have to select the action sequence we just recorded, which I named transition, and click the play button in the action palette a few times. You could play around with this creating more layers, but I used just 4 for my effect.
Now, here comes another extra tutorial on the side, like the actions tutorial. I’ll now explain how to make tile-able images which you can use to make smooth animations instead of tacky ones as soon as they hop from last to first frame.
Select your rectangular marquee tool, hide your cloudy layers except for one. Select half of it, right click in your selection, make a new layer via Cut and you’ll end up with 2 separate layers as you can see on the right here:
Swap their positions !! Move the right one to the left side and visa versa.
To clarify, those 2 halves of the clouds layer you just made... move them to the opposite edges...
In photoshop cs2 you can just select the separate layers, right click and select merge layers, in versions like 7.0 you have to link the layers and merge the linked ones.
Select your smudge tool, set it to about 50% strength, size of the tool depends on the size of your canvas, and with a rotating motion fix the edge so you get a nice blurry crossing.
Keep in mind, this doesn't have to be gentle work, the only thing that matters here is that you dont see that straight line running down.
Concept here is: since you split the original image, you can already be sure that the left side locks in with the right side perfectly, and by blurring the middle just now with the smudge tool you’ll have an image you can repeat over and over without visible edges.
When you’re done with the smudge tool, duplicate this layer by either dragging the layer onto the “create new layer” symbol or with the layer activated and selected, top right side of layer palette, in the menu selecting duplicate layer.
Move your copied layer to either the left or the right so that it’s completely off the screen but just right on the edge of it and lock it together with your original layer.
You’re going to have to do this with your other cloud layers as well (in my case 3 layers). And make sure they’re placed in opposite directions, meaning if you place the copy of the top layer on the right off the screen, the copy of the layer underneath it will have to be on the left side off the screen.
Once you’re done with that, make every layer visible and set their blending modes to “difference”.
This is what you should have at this point, more or less...
>>>> As I redid the example with photoshop cs 3 I was reminded that this tutorial was written in the days when cs 2 was the new thing... in CS 3, there is no more imageready, you can simply activate the animation menu by selecting it in the menu: view >> animation. The rest should still be pretty much the same...
This is for those still using PS CS 2
Time to move this project over to imageready then for the animating part by clicking the lowest button on the toolmenu:
First thing we do in imageready will be... in the bottom menu, the animation palette, adding a new (second) frame to the animation by clicking this button:
This will automatically have your second frame activated, in which we’ll move all the cloudy layers around.
The ones off screen get moved on screen, pushing the ones that were on screen off. So here’s what you got right now:
You should see no difference in the image when comparing frame 1 and 2, but you can see how the layers containing clouds in frame 1 do not ( or at least shouldn't anymore) have any visible graphics in them anymore.
Now all that’s left to do is click the TWEEN BUTTON :
In our animation palette and insert the number of frames you want to use, depending on how much smooth and large you want the file to be.
Once you have tweened it, you should either delete the first or the last frame from your animation, seeing as they’re the same, which would cause a slight tack in your animation.
I've created an animation to explain the animating part (note: this is an animated image showing the different steps)
File, saved optimized as, and you’re done!
If you have any questions or problems with this tutorial, please post a reply here. If you create anything with this tutorial, feel free to show it off here as well. I'm curious how it gets put to use.
Heres an example I made back when I first wrote the tutorial to show a way of using it...
Friendly greetings, RazoR_