Before You Start
I provided a Photoshop document with two selfie photos if you’d like to use it to practice these steps, or you can take your own selfies and give it a go.
Step 1: Start with a Photo Shoot
You’ll want a series of selfie poses for this project. Ideally, each shot should be from the same distance. Someone else can take the pictures, or you can set your phone on a tripod or solid surface and use the camera's burst mode as you strike multiple poses. Open your two favorites in Photoshop. My document measures 1080x1080 document because a lot of social media sites accept that size.
Click the eye icon on the Layers panel to hide one portrait layer as you focus on the other layer. Then choose the Object Selection tool, drag to select the subject, and add a layer mask to remove the original background. Repeat this process on the second portrait layer.
Step 2: Refine the Selection
If some details weren't perfectly selected, you can refine the edges of the portrait. Select the Brush tool, set it to a soft tip, click the layer mask thumbnail, and then brush along the edges with the color black to hide, or white to show, details from the original image.
Step 3: Set a New Tone
Add adjustment layers above your portrait if you’d like to change its color. To convert to black and white, add a Hue/Saturation layer and decrease the Saturation. Then right-click and choose Create Clipping Mask so the adjustment applies only to the portrait on the layer below.
Step 4: Create Some Contrast
A Levels adjustment is a great way to create rich contrast in a black and white photo. I added a Levels adjustment layer with the settings shown below, and then created a new clipping mask.
Add adjustment layers and clip them to the second portrait layer. If you’re using the same adjustments on each photo, you can copy and paste the adjustment layers and move them above the second portrait before creating the clipping mask.
Step 5: Add Colorful Backgrounds
Photoshop has gradient presets that make for colorful portrait backgrounds. Create a new layer and drag it below both portraits. Add a Gradient adjustment and choose one of the gradient styles to fill the new layer. Add three more gradient layers with different color combinations.
Step 6: Prepare to Animate
The Timeline in Photoshop lets you create frame animation from layers. Click the eye icon to hide all layers except for one of the gradients. Show the Timeline and click the Create Frame Animation button. Photoshop adds the visible gradient layer. You can change the timing for the frame—I used .2 seconds and set the loop option to Forever.
Step 7: Add a Picture to the Frame
Now that everything is in place, we just need the portrait. With the frame still selected in the Timeline, click the eye icon to show one of the portraits in the Layers panel to automatically add it to the first frame.
Step 8: Repeat the Cycle
Make sure the first frame is highlighted and click the + icon to duplicate it. With the new frame selected, hide the current portrait and gradient in the Layers panel. Show the second portrait and a new gradient. Repeat this process to alternate portrait layers until you use each gradient style. I created four gradients, so I had four distinct frames. I selected all of the frames and copied and pasted them to double the length of the animation. Some social media sites have a minimum length requirement for animations, but you can copy and paste additional frames, or set the timing for each frame, until your animation is at least the minimum length. Press Play to preview your animation before you share.
Step 9: Save it for Social Media
I exported this project as an .mp4 file to upload it to Instagram. You can see my settings in the screenshot below. After you export the animation, you can use a variety of techniques to get it to your phone’s camera roll for sharing to social media. I saved my project to my Creative Cloud Files folder on my computer and then accessed it from the Creative Cloud app on my phone once it synced. You can use your favorite cloud app or even email it to yourself. Then, share it with the world.
Set a Goal to Share
Take some selfies, add fun backgrounds, and tag @AdobeCreate so we can revel in your creativity.