Although it’s a highly effective way of drawing a reader into a piece of communication, email offers limited support for animation. And because of these limitations, it’s important that we have maximum control over the animations we produce and use in email. This is so we can keep the file size down and stick to the most supported format – gif.
There are many tools available to create animated gifs. Even Canva, a favourite among social media marketers, has some animation options to bring extra depth to simple designs. Unfortunately, the platform offers minimal control. Resulting files are too large for email, and edits are difficult.
Our tool of choice is good old Adobe Photoshop. Adobe has a plethora of film and animation tools and applications. Simplicity is seldom key when power is paramount. But when it comes to email marketing, simplicity can often be most powerful. Bells and whistles destroy braincells.
Now let’s take a detailed look at one of the little animations we created for our campaign…
How to create animated gifs for email
Firstly, select Timeline from the Window menu.
Simplicity is key. Make sure other graphic elements in your mailer are saved optimally as separate images.
In email HTML, CSS animations are possible in some email readers. But they’re better suited for user interaction rather than keyframe animations, which draw attention without initiation from the user. CSS animation is not supported in Outlook on a Windows machine, so it’s difficult to justify the effort to create it.
Changing anything on frame 1 will change it on all frames. This is the default setting in the Layers panel, and it can be unchecked.