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I actually am having a lot of fun making this article. By accident, I discovered an incredibly easy way to make animated gifs while reminiscing about my summer pizza job as a kid. Back then I worked for minimum wage taking orders and busing tables in the local pizza joint. Saturday mid-afternoons tended to be slow so to while away the hours I would take the order pad and draw little stick images of airplanes flying across the bottom, a ladybug or stick person would wavy and walk across the bottom of the pad sometimes with a message like “Hey there!” for my co-workers. That same doodle process creates a fun Canva animation using simple graphics. Starting with free icons and graphic elements or creating your own by building from scratch is straightforward in Canva resulting in one of a kind Canva Gifs. The starting point for making images to use in Canva animations is easy, so I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner.
This is the animated Facebook gif I will make using Canva.
Sometimes when I’m so excited about finding a new cool toy or technique I actually miss the obvious. LOL. When I wrote this about a week ago I added instructions to use ImgFlip to create my gifs. Yup, that still works but I’m working in Canva and I knew about the animated gifs and videos there. So while ImgFlip is still an option for those not using CanvaPro, I’ve added a section for those who do use CanvaPro because it will create the perfect sized animated gifs as well as the perfect sized mp4 videos. So check out the last section for CanvaPro animations.
How To Create Canva GIFs
Using Canva to create images for animated gifs isn’t hard to do but it takes a couple of techniques to make the animation look right; these techniques anybody can do but it requires a bit of patience. So let’s take a look at how to make fun images that can be made into an animated gif to promote your online business or website. Plus, with Canva you can recreate this animated gif in the correct sizes in minutes – no lie- for all your various social media platforms.
I’ll demonstrate the process by creating a Canva animation example, but I need to lay the groundwork using a few concepts. First, is my concept of “frames” which is used when creating animation or videos. In this case the “frames” in the animated gif are Canva images. Each “frame” a.k.a Canva image is basically the same background image with one major element or graphic changing locations between each successive image. This is just like what I did when I doodled on the pizza order form pad. Each page I doodled on had the same exact stick image but it moved to a new location on the bottom of the form. When quickly flipping through the pages the stick image appeared to move across the bottom.
Canva Animation Steps
Decide on the graphic that will move within the animation. I recommend keeping it simple when creating with Canva images. My graphic element is an airplane with a text banner message. The background of the animation is the sky created with cloud elements selected from free Canva assets or created with intersecting circles and ovals. Any headline title and/or subtitle text goes at the top of the background where the “clouds” are. The created graphic moves below the text within each “frame” a.k.a image; the collection or series of images is then made into an animated gif using freeware.
Using Canva’s group command keeps all elements making up the airplane relative to each other as it moves within each “frame” or image. Let’s take a look at the steps needed to actually do this.
Canva Animation Example
- Decide the graphic you want to use for the animation. Since I don’t want this article to get long and complicated I’ve selected a free airplane element from Canva’s library. I change the colors to my brand colors and add a guideline across the entire graphic below the airplane which gets removed once all the frames, “images”, are completed. The guideline is there to keep the image from bobbing up or down when I recreate it in each frame at a new location.
- I add a triangle turned sideways to the line and a ribbon attached to the triangle; placing my text message on top of the ribbon/banner completes the “graphic” airplane element that will move within the final animated gif. To complete this step, I select all of the elements: the airplane, line from airplane to banner, triangle, banner message; then I group them using the Canva group command.
- Now for the boring part. I’ll copy this Canva image about 30 times simply by using the icon above the first image.
- In each copy from the 1st one to the last one, I place the airplane at the proper location to move it across the image background. I can drag the grouped airplane – banner horizontal using the guideline or I can use the left / right arrow keys to move the element accordingly.
- Once the 30 images are complete, I save and download them as JPG images.
How To Create A Free Animated GIF
This is just as easy because I use an online site called Imgflip to upload my 30 images, modify the timing so it looks the way I want to and download the animated GIF. That’s 3 steps that anybody can do.
- Go to Imgflip.com and click on “Images to Gif” tab then click the button “upload images”.
- Use the lower half of the options to drag images into the appropriate order if needed.
- I modify the delay settings to 300 ms but that will depend on the number of images created so this setting may increase or decrease according to how the resulting animation looks using the uploaded images.
- I selected “This image is NFSW” and “private” since I’m not going to share or re-sell my animation.
- Click in the Title box and add a title.
- Click on the Generate Gif button.
- Download the animated Gif. It will be a named with a weird number but that is easily changed by right-clicking and renaming the file.
Once the animated gif is created it can be used for Pinterest animations, Facebook animations or Instagram story animations. There are caveats because each social media platform has different size requirements and requirements on how long the animation can be. Those specific requirements are easily addressed; first, resizing the images in Canva using the resizer tool allows the images to be modified accordingly for the social media size requirements. The newly sized images can be downloaded for each social media platform and made into a separate animated gif for each platform. The timing requirement is addressed while creating the animated gif by changing the delay so that the overall time that the gif runs meets the requirements of the social media platform that the gif will be posted on.
Here’s how the Canva Animated Gif turns out as a Pinterest gif.
I did have to re-size the clouds, text, and airplane which wasn’t an issue since I grouped each and resized the groups to fit within the dimensions of Pinterest sized pin. I also didn’t need quite as many images since the width of the Pinterest images is half the size of the Facebook images. It turned out just as nice and since Pinterest pins are tall and narrow like Instagram stories the resizing feature of Canva will work pretty well to turn this into an Instagram story GIF. Looks darn good and took me about 30 minutes to create the airplane, copy the images and about 2 minutes to create the animated gif! 🙂
Using CanvaPro Animations
Ok now, here is the easiest way to create your Canva Animation with CanvaPro. It’s like a 1 step.
- With the design open, click the “Publish” button at the top to see the drop-down menu. For MP4 video, select Video and download the MP4 video of the images. I’ve found that the video needs to be sped up a bit but that’s super easy with a program like Screencast-o-matic which is roughly a $20/year fee.
- Option 2 under the “Publish” button is the “Animation” option. Selecting that option show 2 choices: “Movie (MP4)” or Animated GIF. Select the “simple” choice to change the timing from slow to fast and then download the GIF.
I still like ImgFlip because of the better controls on speeding up or slowing down the animation. However, once the images are converted into either an animated GIF or an MP4 video with Canva there are many available methods for editing GIFs and MP4s.
In conclusion, making images for Canva Animations is straightforward; create the original image, copy it multiple times with the element moved into new locations, download the images, and create the animation. Once the original image is created, the rest of the steps are easy.
If you’re stuck on what to make for the “moveable” element within the animation, just check out my resources. I am creating unique image packages for animations that can be used for holiday or sale promotions on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram stories. You just simply use as is or modify the colors for your needs; you’ll need to upload the images to Imgflip after making any branded color changes and then download the animated GIF.
If you don’t have an account with Canva you should register for one and create your own amazing designs. I like Canva-pro and feel it’s worth the small monthly fee but you can always start with the free version. If you’d like to see how to use Canva to grow your online business, check out my mini-course “Canva Ninja Quickstart“.
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