Animation FX

The Animation effect is comprised of a series of sequential image frames which convey subject movement.

There are two types of Animation:

  1. Cyclical Animation: has no start or end point
  2. Terminal Animation: has a clearly defined start and end point

Animation footage may contain as few as 4 frames. The more frames, the more fluid the motion.

Cyclical Animation
  • A spinning propellar
  • Skipping on the spot
Terminal Animation
  • Striking a match
  • Hitting a ball

Design tips

4+ images

  • Left/Right: Faster
  • Top/Bot: Slower

The Animating subject should:

  • be set against a static background
  • have a simple uni-directional path
  • make small incremental movements
  • be confined to the middle 2/3's of the print (particularly for posters)
  • not track excessively in a horizontal direction
  • definitely not have a complex path
  • definitely not be positioned over a white, a pastel or plain colour background
  • not appear over a very dark background

For best results:

  • hand-held pieces should preferentially animate top/bottom
  • use "busy" detailed, colourful or patterned backgrounds
  • consign copious text & information to the regular backside print
  • avoid white as it will be contaminated by colour in the other image/s
  • avoid white due to ghosting through it from the other image/s
  • avoid white as it can be contaminated by slight colour misregistration
  • avoid small italic text and diagonal lines due to "staircasing" by the lens
  • avoid small, fine text and lines as parts can break up under the lens
  • avoid Serif font styles as the narrow strokes and ticks can disappear


  • Fewer frames may have a more stuttered movement, but each frame will be seen with greater clarity.
  • More frames will lend themselves to smoother movement. In terminal animation, the bookend frames are assigned a longer dwell time, whilst the in between frames will have a motion blur.
  • Not all sequences are candidates for animation.

Artwork setup

Litho Offset Printing
Inkjet Poster

File colour mode:



File colour profile:

U.S Web Coated (SWOP) v2

Adobe RGB (1998)

File colour channels:

CMYK only

RGB only

File resolution:

300 ppi

200-300 ppi

File type:



Image safe area:

3 mm inside trims

10 mm inside trims

Document bleed:

3 mm beyond trims

10 mm beyond trims

Custom shape:

Knife layer or file

Knife layer or file

Rich black (small area):

C 40 M 0 Y 0 K 100

Rich black (large area):

C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100

Max. total ink coverage



Outlined or embedded

Min. size 12 pt (75 LPI)

Min. size 10 pt (100 LPI)


Outlined or embedded

Photoshop File
  1. Order frame layers in their correct sequence.
  2. Number layers.
  3. Rasterize text or include fonts.
  4. Backside print design (if applicable) to be supplied as a separate high resolution PDF, Indesign, or Illustrator file.
  5. Supply Zipped.