How to Create Stunning, Professional Animations and Use Them on YouTube to Make Huge Profits

YouTubeWhat is the fastest, easiest and most effective way to make money online in 2014? Leave aside the thousands of guru products such as the “Lead Turbo Generator“, “Super Powerful Instant Money Machine” and all that crap that experienced crooks marketers try to sell us for $19.99. They claim that their products can make us rich in a matter of days; the truth is that if you make $10 with any of these, you may consider yourself very lucky. If you ask the question to any reputable marketer the answer will be one and the same: YouTube. It’s the largest search engine after Google (and they own that one too) and it’s becoming extremely popular especially with the younger generations. Obviously, when something becomes as big as this, people will start trying to exploit it commercially, the place gets filled with spam, and action will be taken. I don’t expect things to stay as they are now for long. Ranking YouTube videos is extremely easy, and, by ranking, I don’t mean simply ranking them within YouTube itself, but ranking them on Google too.

YouTube has a domain authority of 100/100 and most videos don’t have any links pointing to them. Add twenty or thirty no-follow links to your video, and you’re set to go for page one of Google:

Open Site Explorer

I am not going into that today. I’ve been toying with the idea of making YouTube videos since before the days I set up the Money Earning Sites Central, but still haven’t done much myself, yet. Lately, I have noticed several marketers who are ranking extremely high, for competitive keywords, on both YouTube and Google (with their videos) with apparently very little effort and links that, at best, can be considered as pure web spam. So I will be giving YouTube a serious try soon, but, before even trying, there is a concern I need to address, which is also the main reason why laid back from using YouTube. It’s the quality of the videos that the marketers are getting ranked on YouTube and Google. Sadly, they are total rubbish except for a few notable exceptions.

In my article outlining thirty-one tips to build a successful site, I insisted that “traffic is king“. I still believe that. You need to focus on getting traffic to have success online. Awesome content will not get you great traffic. Get the traffic first; think about the content later. With that said, if you have the traffic and your content is mediocre, you’re not going anywhere either. Articles and web pages can be modified after you get enough traffic, but you will not be able to modify a YouTube video, after you make it rank. Therefore, in this special case, quality should come first and traffic later.

To a marketer, a quality video is one that converts, and, in order to have our watchers purchase our products, three key ingredients are needed:

  1. Be truthful — Don’t hesitate to mention both the pros and the cons of your product in your reviews. This will convey trust in your readers or listeners.
  2. Be authoritative —in other words, don’t do like I do in my Saturday Updates. Show them that you know what you are doing and that you believe that you are better than anyone else at doing it … and prove that’s the case!
  3. Show them how you do it or how you have benefitted from the product or service being sold.

Focusing on step number two, today, I will show you how to prove yourself as an authority by creating professional presentations in your videos, which is the job I used to do for over ten years. A great presentation is not enough to qualify your video as high-quality, but it does help a lot in having people think that you are an authority on the subject. Think about it: we have two identical videos, same content, but one shot with a cheap camera and edited badly. The other is shot with a high-end camera, is professionally edited and has dozens of effects, captions and cool transitions. Which of these stands a better chance of conveying enough trust to you, as much as needed to make you take out your credit card? Who would you assume has shot each of the videos? Is it some teenage guy who wants to make a buck or two to take his girl to homecoming or a middle-aged professional with a great business team behind him? If you are trying to sell something to your readers or viewers, convert them into leads or just get a link, you want them to perceive you as a professional and an authority.

Today, I will be sharing with you a very neat technique to produce some great-quality animations of cartoons, for your videos. However, I will be assuming that you have Photoshop and know how to use it and that you can draw with a tablet, such as the Intruos Wacom. If you don’t have a tablet and you are unable to create your own art, you can purchase someone else’s art. I recommend you istockphotos since their quality is very high. I will show you how I animated Izzy the Penguin. He is a character that I created when I redesigned the Central, and is the little penguin that appears in the MES logo. I did not create Izzy thinking that one day I would be animating him. The idea came to me earlier this week that if I animate my logo during the introductions to my videos, I would be giving them a neat finishing touch. That’s why I decided to take a completed drawing and animate it, and also why you are getting the chance to learn this technique. Take note that this method can be used only for simple drawings such as Izzy and to achieve only simple animations, such as talking, blinking the eyes or simple movements of the arms and legs. This is the final result:

Animated-Google-Penguin

Cool, huh?

1. To begin with you need to open your drawing in Photoshop. Check the drawing carefully and decide which elements you want to animate. In my case, I decided to animate Izzy’s eyes, feet, left arm, right arm and beak.

  • Make sure that your subject is on a transparent background. If it isn’t, use the lasso tool to remove the background (you can do this in the same way in which you will separate the various parts of the body to be animated later on – see below). I like to use the polygonal lasso and Intruos 5 Tablet. I highly discourage you from using the mouse. It would be insanely time consuming.
  • If needed, enlarge the canvas size so that you have enough room to work (Image->Canvas Size). I like to enlarge the canvas to 150% before starting to work.
  • Make sure that you are working at a good resolution. You can adjust the resolution by going to Image-> Image Size. Width and height need to be around 5000 pixels. The resolution should be about 150 pixels per inch or higher (I use the maximum resolution allowed which is 300, but if your computer isn’t fast enough, that may be too much for you).

izzy-start

2. Use the lasso tool to carefully select the parts of the body that you want to animate. Use a tablet, not your mouse for this operation. You don’t need to be accurate where the body part meets with the transparent background, but you must be very precise where it meets with other parts of the body.

  • If you have never done this before, you may need to practice a bit before getting it right.

Izzy2

3. After you have finished selecting the body part to separate from the rest of the drawing, go to Layer->New-> Layer via Cut. This will separate the main drawing and the body part onto two different layers.

Izzy34. Repeat for all other body parts that you want to animate. When done go back to the main drawing and redraw any areas where there may be any “holes” left. The lasso tool, pen tool and paint bucket are your friends here. You may also need to extend the body parts a bit, depending on how you intend to animate them. In my case, I extended the feet and the right arm (see the images in step 6).

izzy45. Examine the image and its perspective and then decide which body parts should be placed upon the main image and which should go beneath it. In Izzy’s case eyes, beak and left arm are best ordered in a way to appear upon the body, where as the feet and right arm are best placed below it.

izzy56. After you have decided how you want to animate the various body parts, redraw each part or transform it using the rotate, scale and translate tools, which can be found under Edit -> Transform. Your animation will look more amateurish (in My-Little-Pony style) if you use the transform tools rather than drawing original art. However, getting this right the first time can be very tricky especially if you don’t know the rules of perspective, or have never taken any drawing classes. It’s better to stick with simple transforms than creating jagged animations. Most pros, these days, use a combination of the two techniques. For example, I used simple transforms to animate Izzy’s arms and feet. I manually altered the eyes and I combined three transforms and two newly created frames to animate the mouth.
In the examples below, I placed the frames near each other except for the left arm. I did this to show the differences between each frame. In practice, each frame should be drawn on a separate layer and on top of each other.
penguin_anim5penguin_anim2penguin_anim3penguin_anim6penguin_anim4penguin_anim1

7. In the layer panel (if it’s not visible, select Window -> Layers) select all the layers that form the animation of a single body part. Press Ctrl+G or Layer->Group Layers to group all the frames that make up an animation of a specific body part. Repeat for all body parts. You should aim at creating four or five distinct frames for each movement in the animation.

8. Once you have finished drawing the frames and creating groups of frames for each body part, go to “Window” and check that “animation” is ticked. This will bring the animations control panel.

  • animationThe animations panel initially shows one frame only. Click on the little arrow at the bottom of the frame. Choose other and set the delay to 0.08 seconds. This is the delay used in the professional animation industry.
  • Expand the groups of body parts which you created in step 7. Choose one body part from each frame, so as to create your character in the initial position.
  • Hit Duplicate Frame in the animation panel. Choose the correct body parts for the second part of the animation and untick the ones you used for the first frame. Repeat until you have one complete sequence.
  • When creating an animation, try moving the body parts together but there is no need for perfect synchronization. Old American animation relied way too much on synchronization of all body parts together. Move the arms and the feet together but begin to move the feet while the arms have already begun moving and then keep moving them for a couple of frames after the arms are brought to rest.
  • For a more natural-looking movement, vary the durations of the animations. For example, make your character blink his eyes slowly first and then fast. To do this, use all four frames you drew for the eyes to create the illusion of a slow blink, and then use only two frames (wide open and shut) to have him blink rapidly!

Feel free to share your stunning animations right here. If you need help or are having any issues with any of the steps listed above, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments section below. With a bit of effort you too can create stunning, professional-looking YouTube videos that convert.

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