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Animation madness! Animated gifs in 3 easy steps!

Updated on December 13, 2016

Make snow, rain and water ripple effects in 5 minutes!

Ever seen those beautiful gifs that people send as animated greetings on forums and message boards? Or maybe you are familiar with those amazing landscapes that seem to move and come to life posted on Facebook or social media? Well, get ready to make your own DIY animations from any picture in a How-to-Make Tutorial that lasts 5 minutes! This tutorial requires no experience, no expensive software, no brushes, paints or pencils, no mess at all, you don't even have to be an artist - all it needs is just 5 minutes of your time and your crazy imagination. Follow me and make your own personalized animations to send to your friends, post on forums, decorate your website and more. Show off the beautiful animations created here in this tutorial and be the talk of the town.

This tutorial is on how to make rippling pools of water, rain and snow effects and add them to images or existing AVI videos!

You will create hundreds of dazzling scenes for your desktop or forums.

All animated gifs by: Arnaud S.

Yes, I'm going to show you how to create beautiful water rippling effects, delicate snow fall sceneries and romantic rainy day vignettes. How to make mouth-watering, eye-popping gifs, movies and divs out of any picture you choose.

We will be using just one, small, FREE program called Squirlz Reflect. Now folks, I don't work for them and I'm not promoting their company. All I want to do is share with you something I learned myself and that is, you don't have to be an artist to make something beautiful. The first time I used this little program I was amazed at the results and on how easy it was to use. And there are hundreds of uses for these creations. You can spice up your ho-hum forum or webpage with something beautiful and unique. Forget about hour long programming and complicated algorithms. No expensive software or editing skills are required. You don't have to be a computer genius to do any of these. Yes, even a child can do it. Right before your eyes you can enjoy amazing results in minutes. So what are we waiting for? Scroll down and let's get started.

When you're done, please feel free to leave some feedback at the bottom of the page. Let me know how enjoyable and easy this tutorial was for you and if you have the time, a comment or two would be appreciated.

All Tutorial Photos: by Arnaud S.

Equipment check - What do you need?

Nothing you don't already have.

• A Computer

• A Picture Any photograph or graphic you want to animate.

Squirlz Reflect

* Squirlz Reflect is an amazing but small program (it's FREE) that you can download from the internet.

Step #1: Download the program.

Water reflections!

Download the program Sqirlz Water Reflections 2.6 from their website and Install the program on your computer.

Now you need an image for the animation. This is the fun part. What you are looking for is a scene that is just right for your little movie. When you're done, your animation can be saved in a wide variety of formats such as Macromedia Flash (SWF) files, animated GIF files, AVI video clips, sets of bitmap, JPEG, PNG and TIFF. You'll see what I mean.

So what type of image are you looking for? That depends on what you want to do really. If you are interested in making reflections or rippling water effects, you will need a nature photograph with water in the foreground. I recommend a scene with trees or mountains in the background and a body of water such as a lake, ocean or pond in the foreground. This is what you will be animating. If you need some inspiration have a look at my examples below.

Now, if you're thinking of making snow or rain then it doesn't have to be a nature photograph, just about any pic will do. I suggest a city scape or your own home if you like. Whatever you choose save your image in jpeg format in a folder somewhere on your computer or on your desktop where you can easily find it later.

Step #2: Creating the effect in Squirltz Reflect.

You can do it!

We'll now create the Animation in Squirlz Reflect:

You're going to go out of your mind with this program. Not only are you going to avoid spending hours trying to create the perfect animation but it's going to take you a matter of minutes to make them!

1. Open the program then open the image you just saved. To open easily, just click the green folder in the toolbar.

Navigate to your image and click on it. Voila'! Now you can see your image in the window.

Now look to the left hand side of the program window. There's a toolbar running down the side of it. The very first button in that toolbar is a red oval - this is the selection tool. Click on it then go to your image. What you need to do is outline where you want your reflection. Start at the left side of your image and click where you want to begin, moving your mouse along the waterline of your image. A selection line will follow your mouse.

When you reach a corner, click once with your left mouse button and move to the next corner, etc. Keep clicking till you have outlined the entire section where you want your reflection to be. Don't worry, if you make a mistake just right click your mouse and start over again. You will have to experiment with this but it's so easy in no time you'll get the hang of it. When you're done, right click and the selection will remain set.

Choose your settings!

Basic parameters.


The better the ingredients, the better your moving pictures!!

2. Now we have to choose our settings. What do you want to make? For water reflections the program gives you 5 different effects which you can experiment with now. For our tutorial we will be using basic ripples. Look to the top of the program window, there is a menu with a variety of buttons. The green button you are already familiar with, it's the open file button which you used to open your image with. The next button is the frame period which by default is set at 20 frames/sec. You can set longer animations if you wish by changing the numerical value. The next button is the basic ripples button which we want to set right now.

Click on it and it will open a dialogue. You can experiment with these settings later on to see what effect each has on your image but for now just follow mine.

Motion Type: E

Wave strength 65

Boost wave strength: unchecked

Wave separation 15

underwater scene rippling 50

Perspective 100

Blur 1

Texture (speckle) 6

transparency 27

wave contrast 52

Now that we have set up our ripple animation close the dialogue box and click on the yellow arrow button at the top of the window to preview your animation. Voila' there you have it. You've done a beautiful job! If you want to make any changes just toggle the settings. Experiment with them and have fun! When you're satisfied stop right there!

Step #3. Export your moving picture!

You're minutes away from making your own animated gif!

Go on!

Get your moving pictures out!!

Let the magic begin! We're going to create our frames and animate the water all in one quick step. Click "Animate" and choose "Make GIF File". Select where you want to save your animation and give it a name. Save it.

A dialogue will pop up asking how many frames you want to use - you can use as many as you like, up to 100 frames (keeping in mind that the more frames you use, the larger your file size will be!). I left mine at 15 and clicked OK.

Watch the program as it renders your movie or gif! Pretty quick eh?

There you have it! All done! That didn't take 5 minutes did it?

You can now navigate to where you saved your animation and click on it. And here is the finished product in gorgeous 3D!

The Water Reflections of


POLL! Learning something new can be fun! - Have you ever made or wanted to make animations of your own?

As an animator....

See results

Can't wait? Take a Crash Course and get the results you want! - The Character Animation Crash course is strictly for beginners but it won't hurt the professiona

And for the animation enthusiast some complete learning guides to expand your knowledge. - Some more step by step guides to get you off to a super start as an a

These guides are aimed at beginner and enthusiast alike with illustrations and step by step instructions to keep you moving in the right direction. I especially recommend the How to Draw Cartoon Flip books Kit! You'll be making your own moving pictures in no time!

Purple Star award

This is my second lens. On Feb 1 2013 this lens was awarded the Purple Star award. A big THANK YOU to HQ and all those who squidliked and nominated this lens. I don't know who you are but I remain forever grateful!

Write your own tutorials!

Guestbook. Your Comments are appreciated!

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    • seodress profile image

      seodress 4 years ago

      Super cool lens!!! Love animation pictures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've done some animation with water and have enjoyed that but its been a while...your DIY is absolutely excellent and gets me wanting to do more....when I have a break in time....absolutely excellent and I know others will love this as well and am shouting out with a FB like. :)

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 5 years ago from Denver Colorado

      OMG you make such cool lens I simply love animation pictures. What can I say you are a pro at what you do WOW!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      This is just awesome info. Where can I get the Join Squidoo banner? Thank you for sharing.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi this is way cool. Great lens.

    • TopReviews2u profile image

      TopReviews2u 5 years ago

      TheBlu26... Just checked out your Youtube tutorial to make page borders. Fantastic. I'll never look at Microsoft Publisher the same way again!

    • TopReviews2u profile image

      TopReviews2u 5 years ago

      Love the images and the water looks so real. Fantastic lens.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 5 years ago

      You have such great lenses and really well done tutorials. Congratulations.

    • profile image

      Elastara 5 years ago

      Absolutely Great & Informative Lens!

      Thank you so much for sharing the tips on how to make my own animations!

    • GimperBee LM profile image

      GimperBee LM 5 years ago

      Awesome! I'm going to try out the freeware Squirlz Reflect.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      This is so cool!

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

      Fantastic tutorial using free software. Well done! Angel blessings.

    • kathleenhainey profile image

      kathleenhainey 5 years ago

      Wow, that is really awesome. I think I'm going to try that.

    • TheBLU26 profile image

      TheBLU26 5 years ago

      @squidoopets: I'm glad you found my tutorial useful and enjoyed doing it as well! If you found this one easy wait till you see my next animation tutorial! Way more fun! :D Stay tuned!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Too much fun!! I downloaded the software and followed your tutorial and now have a beautiful animated lake picture. It really did take only about 5 minutes and I can see it will be fun tweaking my animated images. Thanks again! :D

    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 5 years ago

      Thanks for this great lens "Animation madness! Animation in 3 easy steps!"

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such great info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is really neat. Thank you.

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      very cool!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow I'm really glad I found this lens I shall be trying this and having lots of fun I think. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wonderful info. Thanks for sharing!

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 5 years ago

      Such an informative and well thought out lense.

    • profile image

      laurajax 5 years ago

      another awesome lens!!

    • tophatpro profile image

      tophatpro 5 years ago

      Oh my god these were awesome, amazing and stunning. I love these. I didn't realize I could make these myself. I thought you needed mad graphic skills to do this. Thank you! i'll really have to give this a go and make something cool too.

    • greenqueen09 profile image

      Laura 5 years ago from Australia

      Lovely informative lens, Thanks for the tutorial!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is great. I use water pictures in a lot of my lenses. This will make them pop.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Used selectively, this tool can add just the right touch to an image. Thanks for making it easier for the novice to accomplish.

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 5 years ago from Texas

      This looks like a ton of fun!! Bookmarked so I can come back and study this some more. Thanks a bunch. Have a great New Year!!!

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 5 years ago

      Thanks for letting us know about this. I always wondered how those pictures were made. Now I know... :)

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Love this. I need to check it out and see if it can be used on a mac, otherwise I am hook on it. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

    • pretyfunky profile image

      pretyfunky 5 years ago

      thanks for sharing great resources

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 5 years ago

      That was a lot of fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm interested in promotion

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Excellent panimation lens Arnaud! With detailed and clear instructions that can turn anyone into an expert. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very cool application. Outstanding lens.

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 5 years ago

      This sounds like a lot of fun to play with. Thanks for sharing the info.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      Interesting stuff! I'll be sending the lens link to a photog friend. She takes a lot of photographs up in NH which she posts on her New England blog. I'm betting this info will come in handy.

    • ShineRita profile image

      ShineRita 5 years ago


    • EEWorkouts profile image

      EEWorkouts 5 years ago

      This is great. Thanks for the tutorial, I'll have to get this.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Way Cool! I'll have to give this program a whirl.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Can't wait to try some panimation madness of my own. Great examples and step-by-step instructions. Love your guestbook comments illustration.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago


    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Just beautiful! And great generosity again in showing us how to be so creative. Blessings.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      Sheilamarie 5 years ago from British Columbia

      You have made a really easy to follow helpful lens. Congratulations and well done!

    • profile image

      SuzyShopping 5 years ago

      I agree with all the other posters - this is a GREAT lens - you've made it so simple, even I could do it!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

      I have just the picture to try this with! Thank you for this great tutorial on making is with extreme pleasure I leave you a Squid Angel blessing :)

    • dbitterman profile image

      dbitterman 5 years ago

      This is an incredible lens, not only in terms of the effect but also the layout and style of your presentation!

      Thank you for visiting and Squidliking my book review lenses!

    • profile image

      christineallen 5 years ago

      I'm going to try this tomorrow and amaze all my friends. They'll think I'm a genius! Hmm, will I tell them how I did it?

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Is it just my vision or does this lens really say the program is not functioning?

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      Well, you sure made it look easy, even for those like me who are technologically challenged. Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a GREAT LENS! Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for another great lens and tutorial.

    • Voltarbear profile image

      Voltarbear 5 years ago

      Very helpful and amazing tutorial. Nicely done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Looks amazing :) Love this tutorial! Keep them coming ;)

    • profile image

      sailor_man 5 years ago

      Awesome page. I loved the content and I've gave it a Squid Like. Can you return the favor on one of mine?

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What you can do in animation is just amazing.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Lovely presentation. I like animation but found it too difficult. Great to know all these:)

    • stevel58 profile image

      stevel58 5 years ago

      Thanks a nice lttle program, will give me hours of fun.

    • kopox profile image

      kopox 5 years ago

      cool tutorial, thanks for sharing this info.

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 5 years ago from USA

      These look very nice. Good len.

    • gregs411 profile image

      gregs411 5 years ago

      Very nice effects. Thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This makes so much sense and very easy to understand. I'm showing it to my daughter. She loves animation but doesn't know how to create computer animation.

    • ksktika profile image

      ksktika 5 years ago

      cool application ! and thanks for sharing

    • TheBLU26 profile image

      TheBLU26 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you Susan for your visits, comments and liking! I really appreciate your kindness!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Really great everything. I love this image you have put up above the orange one I mean with the man holding on to all the comments.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Excellent step by step instructions.

    • TheBLU26 profile image

      TheBLU26 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! :)

    • TheBLU26 profile image

      TheBLU26 5 years ago

      @Magda2012: You're welcome and thanks for visiting my lens and adding your comment to my guest book!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Really good tutorial on creating animated. thanks for share..more wait :)

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 5 years ago

      great... thanks for sharing this wonderful information :)


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