Adding animation to a jpg


Can anyone offer a suggestion as to how I would add animation to an existing .jpg? For example, please refer to the sample .jpg below. The SME would like me to add movement. For instance, he wants the electrons to bounce toward the LED circuit; he wants the wavy lines in the "heat" arrow to mimic heat waves and he wants the lines in the photon arrow to move toward the front of the arrow. I tried adding another arrow on top of the existing arrow and then adding the electron circles and the wavy lines. I then added motion paths to all. The end result looked sloppy and unprofessional. Is there a way to accomplish this? I researched this and it appears you can't animate a .jpg; it has to be a .gif. Animation/graphic design is a very weak area for me I'm struggling trying to determine what program can do this? If I save a .jpg as a .gif how do I then add the animation? These forums are wonderful..I don't know how I'd manage without them!

Thank you for any help!!

13 Replies
Bob S

Hi Pam,

Animated GIFs are created from a series of still pictures (think:  cartoon-style frame by frame animation!). It can be done with as few as 2 pics, but of course the more pics you use the "smoother" the animation effect will appear.

For your need...

  •  Start with the JPEG you have and consider that your "begining" frame.
  • Use a photo editing program and create at least one more version of your jpeg that has the items you want to appear as moving all  in their "final" position. This is your "end" frame.
  • You could then consider creating one or two more additional pics that have the items kinda partway towards their final position.
  • Once you have the original plus 1 or more additional still pics, toss them into a program that creates animated GIFs. This can be a serious tool like Photoshop or a freebie such as
  • Set the animation speed (how fast the pics change) and viola! One animated GIF.

Hope this helps and good luck,


Jeanette Brooks

Hey Pam! Is your content going to be PowerPoint-only? If so, the approach Bob describes could work great. If you plan to publish your slides via Articulate Presenter, though, unfortunately animated gifs aren't supported in the published output - it will end up looking like just a still image on your slide

It seems like it would be pretty easy to replicate that graphic with PowerPoint shapes... that would enable you to to animate each item separately in sequence, which could look pretty cool! The only challenge would be the picture of the LED circuit - you'd need to get a picture of that by itself, with no overlapping blue arrow. Is that something you might have, or maybe your SME could help you obtain it?

Pam Boyd

Hi Jeanette and Bob! Thank you for your response. I am planning on publishing the slides via Articulate Presenter to our LMS. This is going to sound so silly, but I never even thought of attempting to replicate the entire graphic with shapes! That's a great idea and one I think I'll be able to handle! I do have an image of the LED circuit so that won't be a problem. I'm ashamed that I didn't even give that a thought! THANKYOU!

After reviewing Bob's suggestion I have another related question. I've previously tried converting a .gif to a .swf and inserting the finished product as a flash video. Frequently (probably 90% of the time), the animation doesn't play after being reverts back to a static image. What am I doing wrong, please?

Thank you both so much for your help!

Pam Boyd


Thank you so much for your help. I extracted your zipped file, but all I see are a bunch of .xml files. I'm unable to see the actual slide. What am I doing wrong?

I really appreciate your help. What I thought was going to be a very easy solution (after Jeanette's suggestion) is actually taking me forever to complete! As far as I can tell, there's no easy way to make a professional-looking wavy and/or squiggly line in using PPT shapes...especially if the line is small and the curves are compact. I've tried the curve shape tool, but the outcome is very poor. I'm spending way too much time on this one little slide! Help!

Pam Boyd

Thank you all for your help! I used Linda's awesome example and tweaked it a bit to call it my own! Thank you all so much!

Now I have yet another question...(these forums are fantastic...I only hope I can repay the favor when I become better at this!):

I'm trying to add some animation to a clip art picture of a man to make it look as though he's shivering. Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!