the pigeon letters blog
How to Animate Lettering into Illustrations

How to Animate Lettering into Illustrations

procreate Nov 05, 2020

Do you ever see people posting fun animations in Procreate and think to yourself, “Man, I wish I could do that.” Well, congrats! Today’s your lucky day. I’m going to show you how to make a really fun animation, all in Procreate. You heard that right, PROCREATE! 

Hey friends! I’m Megan Wolf from Clover Letters and I am passionate about digital art and lettering. I love being able to put feelings and thoughts in the form of art, and this is my favorite way to do so! 

If you like learning by watching videos more than reading, scroll down to the bottom and find the video tutorial there! 

Supplies:

  

Step 1: Sketch and Refine

 

 

Draw your flower, a phrase, and anything else you want to animate together. Be sure to put these on separate layers. Have an idea of what kind of illustrations and words you’d like to mesh together to help you plan what will be easiest to execute. I chose flowers and words that I believe describe the character of God.

You could choose words to reflect what your community around you looks like, or some attributes of yourself, or maybe just some of your favorite words in general!

Some ideas: Creativity, community, togetherness, joyful, vulnerability, determination, good vibes, etc.

 

 

Reminder: Whatever illustration or word you want to appear first, make sure it's at the bottom of your layer panel. The word or illustration that is at the top of your layer panel will be the last thing that appears in your animation.

 

Step 2–A: Trace and Duplicated Refined Layers

 

 

To make these objects look like they’re moving in between each morph, redraw them with some slight variations.

 

 

For example, I drew two versions of each word and flower in my animation, and then duplicated the original and the traced version. That way, when you play the animation it looks like they’re wiggling back and forth.

 

Step 2–B: Turn Animation Assist On

 

 

Now that you have your finished illustration and word, turn on Animation Assist. I would recommend keeping it turned on the rest of the time. That way, you’ll be able to see all the layers so you can morph them properly on different layers in between. It will show you a constant preview of your work this way.  

 

Step 3: It’s Morphin’ Time

 

 

Sorry, I know, but I couldn’t resist a good Power Rangers reference. I’ll be blunt with you, this part takes the longest amount of time. This part can be confusing so feel free to scroll down to the video at the bottom if you haven’t already.

With Animation Assist on, create a new layer above the duplicated illustrations you just created. You’ll be able to see the previous layer with your word or illustration behind it, making it easier to see where you’ll need to draw. Start drawing some droopy-looking shapes that look like they’re almost melting into the word. Be mindful of the colors you use and where you use them to keep it cohesive.

 

 

Pro tip: If you are using multiple colors and your illustration is a different color than the word it is forming into, you can create “transition” colors so that it blends more smoothly. After you’ve drawn all your shapes/droplets for that layer, turn Alpha Lock on. Grab a brush to paint with (I recommend the Round Brush under the Painting tab) and reduce its opacity. Select the color of the word that it will be morphing into. Lightly draw over the shapes that you want to change colors of, and you’ll find that it creates a gradient effect with those two colors.

 

 

Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ll want the droopy shapes to be more pointed and intentional, looking a little bit like raindrops or long squiggly lines. These should be moving towards the next word or illustration so that it looks like it’s filling it out. Once you’ve breached inside your lettering (and you’re pretty much only drawing inside the word), you can grab the true color of your lettering and use that color to fill in the word so that it will blend cohesively when it animates.

 

 

Repeat doing this on separate layers until you get to the piece you would like to appear last. If you want to loop it the way that I did, just continue the process until it matches the very first layer/frame.

  

Step 4: Put It All Together

 

 

Click on the wrench at the top left. Select Share, then Animated MP4. Here, you can select how many frames per second you’d like it to be. The more frames, the faster your artwork will be. Select a number that you like the best, then click Export.

 

 

And ta-da! You’ve got yourself a beautiful, animated piece! Don’t forget to share this with #cloverlettersanimation and tag me @cloverletters so I can share your amazing work and fangirl over it with you!