Hello! I’ll try to explain as best I can what I do. I actually promised someone I’d record myself making an animation, but my MacBook Air can’t really handle Photoshop and screen recording at the same time.
Let’s jump right into it. I’ll walk through how this was made:
To begin, create the image you’d like to animate. Every stroke has to be on its own layer. Labeling or grouping your layers is very helpful because it may be hard to keep track of the individual pieces.
Once your image is all set, it’s time for layer masks!
Unlink the mask from the layer. You’re going to be moving the mask around, and you don’t want the layer to come with it.
Hit cmd to view the layer mask directly. You can paint directly onto the mask in black and white. Black is where the image isn’t and white is where it is. You can drag the mask to continue painting beyond the art board.
Once you’ve made the first mask, you can hit alt and drag one layer mask onto another layer. You could paint each mask individually, but I usually create one and then rotate it to fit the layer.
Once every layer has a mask, open the Timeline by going to Window > Timeline. Create a second frame. The first frame should be all layers covered and the second all layers revealed.
Tween the two layers and then add a lot of layers at the beginning. Click on Convert to video timeline and stagger the animations.
Once you’re satisfied with how the animation looks, click on Convert to frame animation and adjust the frame speed, etc.
I hope this wasn’t too long. The entire process can take me about an hour or two because it can be pretty involving in terms of the process.
If you or anyone would be interested in knowing how I save my GIFs, let me know. I didn’t want to make this any longer than it needs to be. Thank you for your question :)