How to Animate a Picture, Text, or Graphic

Wanna put a little wiggle, fade in, flash, or bounce in your pics? Of course you do! Now Pro subscribers can animate a picture, animate text, or animate graphics and stickers with a single click of the mouse. Really, we can’t stress it enough—animation has never been easier to add to your designs.

To get eye-boinging animations in your designs, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Select the layer of your design to animate.

  2. Click Animate on the customization palette.

  3. Choose the animation style to apply.

  4. Click the Play button to preview the animation.

  5. Download your finished design as a MP4 or GIF.

Take a deep dive into the simple steps below in this tutorial, and then learn more about the kinds of designs you can make with animation. Create social media posts and images, ads, digital flyers, emails, and so much more with just a subtle touch of movement, or get jiggy with it and set your whole design aflutter. Let’s get started!


Detailed steps for using Animation in PicMonkey

The steps below will show you how to animate multiple layers in a design such as this one.

Step 1: Select the layer of the design to animate

First things first, create design in PicMonkey that has editable layers (so you can animated them). That means you can open a template, upload a photo and add some text or graphics, type some text onto your canvas, or simply add a graphic or two to your canvas. Now, select the layer to animate by clicking on it.

Step 2. Click Animate on the customization palette

The palette associated with the type of element you selected will open (graphic, image, or text) and you'll see the Animate button on the palette. Click it!

Step 3. Choose the animation style to apply

With 11 animation options to choose from, you will find something that works just right in your project. Try out the different moves on your graphic or text or image to see which works the best with your overall design. You'll see that some animations start with your graphic off-screen (like Slide In), for instance, while others remain in perpetual motion like Jiggle.

All the animation movements available to apply to your designs. Note that the green stars are looping motion animations, while the orange are entrance motion animations. 

There are two types of animation: looping motion and entrance motion. 

  • Looping motion: This type of animation is in continuous motion, on an unending loop. If you download your design as a MP4 this animation type will persist throughout the length of your video. If you download this animation type as a GIF it will also move during the entirety of your GIF loop.

  • Entrance motion: These animations enter at the start of your GIF or MP4 and then stop at 1.5 seconds. If you download a design with one of these animations as a GIF the animation will repeat every :06 seconds if your GIF is on a loop. If you download as a MP4, however, the animation will play for 1.5 seconds and remain stationary for the duration of the clip. 

  • None: When you click the Animate button and choose an animation type, your design element is now animated—that means if you decide to “un-animate” it later then you’ll need to select your element, click Animate, and then select None in the Animate fly-out menu.

Step 3b: Animate more layers in your design if you want

Don’t limit yourself to just one animation in your design! The animation features also work to make text and images move. Any time you see an Animate button on a customization palette, you can apply an animation to whatever it is that you have selected on your canvas. Think: swinging text and a throbbing heart graphic as your next Valentine card!

Step 4. Click the Play button to preview the animation

Once you’ve applied an animation and moved on to another element of your design, the object you animated will be appear to be unmoving on the canvas. To see it move and preview your whole design click the Play button on the bottom tool bar. This function is especially useful when you have animated multiple layers to see how all of the design elements work together!

Step 5. Download your finished design as a MP4 or GIF

When you are finished with your design, download it as either a GIF or a MP4. A GIF will export as a loop. When you download these file types to your desktop they can sometimes take a few minutes depending on file size or your internet connection speed. Don’t worry because we will email you a link to download your video file when it’s ready. 

PicMonkey hack: Check your email on your phone to download the video to your mobile device.


5 animation designs you can make in PicMonkey

Okay friends, time to stretch your animation wings and fly! Here are just a few of the gorgeous designs you can make in PicMonkey using animation. Get inspired by what you can create and try the animation tools (and more!) for free with a seven-day trial of a Pro Subscription.

Animate a photo for an Instagram post

Start designing quickly with a pre-sized Instagram post template

Using a winning combination of shape cut-outs and movement makes this Instagram post a real scroll stopper. Before animating your photo try the Background remover tool so only your subject remains on the canvas to animate.

Pro tip: Export your animated post as a MP4 because you can upload videos to your Instagram feed, but not GIFs.


Animate text for your YouTube end card

Beautify your channel with YouTube design templates

For those viewers who make it all the way to the end of your video, give them some options to keep up with your content since they're clearly a fan. Create custom YouTube end cards with a little bit of jiggle to entice your audience to further engage. Use our social media graphics and choose from hundreds of beautiful fonts to apply to your animated text.

Pro tip: YouTube thumbnail templates are the same dimensions that you'll need for an end card: 1280 x 720 pixels. Start with a right-sized blank canvas, or browse design templates to get started fast.


Animate icons on a Pinterest pin

Serious about pinning? Check out our Pinterest pin library for fresh ideas!

We love to go to Pinterest for inspirational ideas—whether or not we actually end up remodeling that bathroom, making that surprise cake, or following through on our initial commitment to Keto. Pins provide just enough space for showing off a few simple steps, or highlighting a handful of product features. Showoff and highlight to the max when you animate icons to catch the eyes of browsing Pinterestinas.

Pro tip: Learn about different pin styles and sizes and how you can make them all in PicMonkey: Use a PicMonkey Pinterest Template to Create a Primo Pin.


Animate stickers to liven up your Facebook cover 

Get inspired to design when you browse our Facebook cover templates

Facebook covers are prime real estate and so often we forget to make the most of that space—like displaying designs with animation, for instance. Have a little fun with your Event page cover and add some subtle movement to get your guests hyped. Browse our enormous graphics library for the perfect sticker to adorn your cover banner.

Pro tip: Make animated stickers to use again and again. Create a transparent background canvas, add a graphic to it, animate the sticker. That's it! Keep it in your PicMonkey cloud storage, or download as a PNG.


Animate an email image

Lots more to see over at our email templates library!

Send better email when you add a little motion to your missive. Try animating both text and an icon or image to direct the reader's eye to what you want them to really notice, or the button they really oughta click. You only get a few seconds to catch your email recipient's attention (assuming they open your email!) so make it wow-worthy.

Pro tip: After customizing your email design with animation in PicMonkey, you'll need to download as a GIF to use in email. We recommend creating GIFs for email that are no longer than 6-10 seconds.

Make moving designs with a PicMonkey Pro subscription. Try free for 7 days!

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Before this she worked at Intiut, and before that started a non-profit, and before that had a radio show, and before that worked at Ms. magazine, and before that went to UC Berkeley, and before ALL of that grew up in Alaska.