This how-to guide is for illustrators and graphic designers wanting to create a social media animated gif like the one I created for a client above.

Initial Instructions:

  • I started out with 2 scanned sheets of doodles. (assets)
  • A hint of a color scheme.
  • Direction for the text to be stationary and the doodles to have movement.
  • Loop for social media.


I knew the client wanted to have this posted on Instagram and Facebook. I googled the limitations for both regarding file size and format of images and video since

I decided since Instagram has the most limited size (1:1 ratio), I would design for the square, but with something that could be cropped to a 4:3 ratio and still work. I also didn’t want to go over 10 seconds. Since I have 2 pieces of text I want to cycle, I decided on 3 seconds per text for a total of 6 seconds total.


My first goal was to come up with a composition for each text still. These would be the main keyframes that I will loop between. Because this is a simple loop. I didn’t storyboard this project other than the two keyframe compositions.


  1. Open .tif in Illustrator (all my asset scans are .tif)
  2. Autotrace making sure to ignore white under “Options”
  3. Select shape with Direct Selection (A) then click General Selection (V)
  4. Copy (ctrl-c) shape to a new document the correct size and resolution for the animated gif.
  5. Paste (ctrl-v) shape
  6. Create a composition with black shapes.
  7. Add color.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 for the second keyframe. For the LOVE OF SLEEP! SAVE IT! 😉
  9. Leave your saved Illustrator file open and now, let’s move into After Effects.
  10. Create a New Project
  11. Create a New Composition within that project
  12. SAVE!
  13. Import AI file into AE as Composition (this will be our blueprint)
  14. Next, I copy and past each shape from Illustrator into After Effects. There is no shortcut to this step. Each shape that is animated will need its own layer in AE.
  15. There are about 3 types of movements I’m doing.
    1. a bounce
    2. a reveal
    3. a shake


Open up Contents  > Shape 1 > Transform Shape 1

Scale (S) –

  • Keyframe 0% scale (nothing shows)
  • Move 3 frames to the right & Scale 100%
  • Move 3 frames & Scale 150%
  • Move 3 frames & Scale 90%
  • Move 3 frames & Scale 105%
  • Move 2 frames & Scale 100%

Select all keyframes Easy Ease (F9)


Select Shape Layer

Layer > Mask > New Mask

  • In Mask Path layer click  Shape and select Rectangle / Ellipse
  • Each keyframe, I shaped Ellipse mask to reveal the underlining shape.
  • To Hide, I copy and pasted keyframes and reversed order.

Jiggle Shake

Transform > Rotation (R)

  • Keyframe 0.0 rotation
  • Next frame keyframe +3.0
  • Next frame keyframe -3.0
  • Next frame keyframe +4.0
  • Next frame keyframe 0.0


Render Composition

Composition > Add to Adobe Media Encoder Cue

Select final size, speed, and format.


If you are like me your hard drive is almost full to capacity. In order for both Illustrator and After Effects to run smoothly, I attach external hard drives and have them used for extra scratch-disk space.