That Marching Ants Look

~ 15 September 2004 ~

Given that a few of you inquired about how the 9/11 masthead was created, and given that it’s been 3 months since I released a download, and given that the New Year is just over 3 months away, and given that…

Crhhh… Get on with it, Cameron. Over. Crhhh…

Alright, alright, here’s the skinny: I don’t have enough time right now to do a full tutorial, so following is a brief walkthrough. Download the PSD below.

  1. The animated frames weren’t tough at all to create. Once the actual marquee (aka “marching ants”) was created in Photoshop, I just screen grabbed it about 20 times to ensure I’d have all 8 frames for the animated loop. I then dropped the frames (screen grabs) back into the original .psd.
  2. Surprisingly, creating the marquee was a lot tougher than expected. I started by creating two pairs of vertical rectangles using the Rectangular Marquee Tool and by pressing the Shift key.Photoshop marquee
  3. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, I added angled caps to each marquee, again using the Shift key (and Option/Alt key to subtract when I inevitably screwed up several times).
  4. Trickery came into play once I realized the two rectangles in each pair were separated by 1 pixel that couldn’t be removed without joining the two marquees undesirably. So, I inversed the selection using Select > Inverse.
  5. That fixed one problem but created another. Now I had a marquee around the entire canvas. A problem no more: With the Rectangular Marquee Tool selected, I chose Select > Transform Selection from the menu, held down the Shift and Option/Alt keys to ensure centered proportional resizing, and enlarged the edges of the marquee just outside the canvas.
  6. Done deal. Take a few screen grabs and it’s all downhill from there.

Please enjoy in reverance.



Veer Veer: Visual Elements for Creatives.
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1   Sean Sperte ~ 15 September 2004 at 12:48 AM

Brilliant. Tested and approved (except for the tedious screenshots step).

2   Michel Vuijlsteke ~ 15 September 2004 at 02:10 AM

Why didn’t you just draw the two towers in regulr pixels (or with paths) and convert that to a selection? Would’ve been much faster.

3   Michel Vuijlsteke ~ 15 September 2004 at 02:11 AM

[regulAr obviously]

4   sami ~ 15 September 2004 at 03:31 AM

what fonts did you use ?

5   pr10n ~ 15 September 2004 at 07:16 AM

I love the idea, very neato. I’m thinking would it have not been easier or perhaps less frustrating to simply take the screen grabs of the ants shown in step three, clear the left most ants in the second box and move the remainer over a couple pixels in each of the grabs?

6   Terry Tolleson ~ 15 September 2004 at 08:05 AM

This is brilliant! When I first saw it, I was like, “Why haven’t I ever thought of that?” Not the twin tower thing, but the animated .gif of the marching ants.

And as always — beautiful imagery.

7   Jon Hicks ~ 15 September 2004 at 09:26 AM

I really loved that header - it spoke volumes while being understated.

On top of that, this post wins my “Best blog entry title of the year” award! Your glass ant is on its way…

8   Cameron Moll ~ 15 September 2004 at 09:31 AM

Glass ant?? Rock on.

9   Keith ~ 15 September 2004 at 09:31 AM

I take it you used to marching ants to symbolise the fact that the towers are no longer there?

Excellent header by the way :)

10   Cameron Moll ~ 15 September 2004 at 10:50 AM

Michel Vuijlsteke - Process is roughly the same either way, but I wanted to test my skill in “marquee art” on this one.

Sami - Clarendon and Edwardian Script. You’ll see both of them in the PSD.

11   Byron McCollum ~ 15 September 2004 at 12:29 PM

Alternate Method:

  • Mask out area of image where ants will march.
  • Animate Barber Pole diagonal lines under image

12   David ~ 15 September 2004 at 05:12 PM

Love the marquee, and the Premium Linkage license plate tickles my fancy in all the right ways.

On a sort of related note, a couple days ago there was a red underline on the navigation, intentional? I prefer it as it is now, but maybe it had some sort of meaning?

13   Cameron Moll ~ 15 September 2004 at 11:14 PM

Nope, just toying with adding lines to a hrefs. Trying to figure out why it’s adding the lines to images.

14   Steven Woods ~ 16 September 2004 at 04:55 AM

Byron, that method rocks…


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