How to Make an Animated Graphic in Canva

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Canva made the words “graphic design” less scary. The problem was, if you wanted to make an animated graphic like a GIF, there were still plenty of reasons to be anxious (and not, it wasn’t about how to pronounce the word).

What is an Animated Graphic?

Now, if you’re reading this, you have an idea of what an “animated graphic” means; that is, to you. But, that definition might actually differ than what someone else is thinking.

So, for now, we are literally talking about giving life to otherwise still images, either on their own or as inter-connected elements. Thus, this is not simply how to upload a video to Canva or use a Canva video element to create a GIF.

How to Make an Animated Graphic in Canva

So, actually animating the graphic is quite easy, and just requires the click of a button. The “difficult” part is coming up with the idea, and making it worthy of animation.

For instance, and this will be explained a bit below, there is a limit as to what you can do with your animations. So, sometimes simple is better, where you focus on one main idea, and then carry that out through the animation.

Canva Animated Graphic Examples

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

Zooming around the track!

Building big things!

Thinking of big ideas!

Where is the Animate Button in Canva?

The animate button in Canva is located at the top left of your screen. Importantly, to see the button, you need to ensure you’re not currently clicking on an element.

How to Create an Animated Graphic

1. Conceptualize Your Idea

Before you jump into creating, think about what you want to do. With animated graphics, you can have one page that animates, or, you can have multiple pages that animate.

The best way to think about it is, if you want a story to unfold, then do multiple pages. Meaning, the first page will lead to the second page, and the second page to the third and so on.

Here is an example of how you can use multiple pages to grab attention and tell a story, or, to let the message unfold.

1. Add Your Graphics

As mentioned, think about your goal. Are you just trying to be sleek and creative? Then maybe you don’t need a ton going on. Are you trying to catch someone’s eye? Then you might want to add more graphics so that each one is animated and eye-catching.

2. Select Your Animation

Then, simply add your animation effect. I went over each of these in my post on how to animate word text in Canva, and each is the same regardless of whether they are applied to text or graphics.

3. Check Your Animation

When ready, hit the play button on the top right near the download section to see how your graphic plays out. You can let it run its entirety to see how graphics enter and exit the page, if you wish.

4. Download the GIF

Last, when all is complete, head to “download” and select “GIF” for file type. Once your download is complete, you’ll have a file just like an image that you can upload for use!

Things to Keep in Mind

One big thing to keep in mind is the fact that each element will load its animation separately. So, if you have text that has a shadow layer, or an icon on a circle background, the layers will go through their animations separately.

If you want these elements meant to be one, but constructed as two or more, simply highlight them and “group.” Now, when you run the graphic animation, the elements will run as one group rather than multiple elements.

Now, as you get playing with Canva’s graphic animator, you’re probably going to get to a point where you have done all you can do, and/or wish you could do more.

For instance, one thing I wish was possible was to be able to apply different animation effects to the different elements rather than all elements having to take on the same animation. So for example, the moon would “rise” but the next on the page would “stomp” rather than have everything “rise.”

The other thing you might be wanting to do is to play with the timing and speed of each element’s effects. For instance, in my example here, I feel the “stomp” is too quick. I’d also like to be able for it to “loop” but right now, if you want to move on to another page, even if the same page and content, the graphic will disappear and then reappear rather than just keep moving on-screen.

Are you on Canva Pro, or simply the free version? If Canva is in fact a tool you’re loving, Canva Pro gives you even more reasons for such love, with the ability to magically resize designs, upload custom fonts, and so much more.

Or, just pay $5 for someone on Fiverr to create it for you. I’ve definitely swallowed my pride a few times and just hired a freelancer on Fiverr for quick turnaround, and often receiving something better than I could have done myself. 

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