Bling Tips and Tricks from Jack

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Bling Tips and Tricks from Jack

Post by Mapie on Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:43 am

Bling Tips and Tricks from Jack
by shadoedove on 25 Jun 2007, 22:32

Hello to everyone that enjoys these little accent trinkets. Just a little information on how to apply them to your image. (You may find it an advantage to copy this to a Word Document and print it.) These are all in Animation Shop's .mng format, which is basically a 16.7 million colour .gif. It is a true pity they cannot be displayed that way and unfortunately they must either be converted to a .gif or applied over the top of your image before being converted to .gif format. No other programme but Animation Shop can display a .mng ... not even PSP; but they can be exported to PSP as frames once opened in Animation Shop.

Each bling has a certain number of frames, and for them to work properly, you must have at least the same number of frames of your image to which you will apply them. You can have more background images, but not less. Because a lot of these little animations start in the middle of nowhere, and are generally only displaying a few pixels, it sometimes becomes nigh on impossible to position the first frame correctly. To overcome this, scroll through the frames to find the one that has the greatest amount of data on it. When you find a frame that will let you accurately position it on your background, click on it to make it active, and then right click on it and click "Copy". Use the scroll drag control at the bottom, and scroll back to the first frame. Click on it to make it active, and then right click it, and on the context menu, click on "Paste/BEFORE Current Frame." This will add one frame to the bling, so you need to add an extra to your number of background images to match.

Go back to your first frame of the background images, click on it to make it active, and then go to "Edit/Select All." Repeat this process on the bling frames. Now all you do is simply drag the first bling frame onto the first background frame and position it. Let go of the mouse button when it is correctly placed. Go straight to "Edit/Undo Drag" while the bling images are still active, just in case you misplaced it and need to do it over. Click on the Title Bar of your main image to activate it, and then play the animation to make sure it is as you wanted it. If not, go to "Edit/Undo Drag", and start all over again.

Once you are satisfied it is as you wanted, just click on the first frame of your animation to activate it, and then right click and on the context menu, click on "Delete." This removes the positioning frame. Do the same for your bling. All that then is left is to set the timing of the frames, and save your animation.

Unlike Roberta, who I credit with, if not the creation of these things, then at least the popularity of them, I do not limit my creations to 21 frames. They take as many frames as is necessary to "tell" the picture properly. The result of this can be huge filesize animations when saved as an animated .gif. To overcome this ... I have developed my own way of optimising when the file size is too large. It entails using both Animation Shop and Ulead's Gif Animator 5 in tandem. For some unknown reason, Ulead's programme optimises .gifs at up to 50% less file size than does A.S, with virtually no loss in image quality ... well ... as far as you could attribute the words "image quality" to a 256 colour palette. The method is as follows.

When you go to save your animation in A.S, the very last thing you see before you hit "Save" is the filesize at the top of the dialog box. If it is too large, instead of pressing "Save" ... press "Cancel." Go straight to "Edit/Undo Optimization." This returns the image to 16.7million colours. Diminish A.S to the Task Bar, and on your Desktop, create a folder. Name it what you will ... it is only a Temp folder. Restore your A.S, click on the Title Bar of your animation to activate it, and go to "Edit/Select All". Then go to "File/Save Frames As", and when the dialog box opens, in the "Type of File" box, use the dropdown and select "PSP". Locate your temp folder that you created in the Browse Box, and click "Save". At the bottom right of your screen, the information will be displayed telling you the image dimensions, number of frames, and the time taken to save them. Write down the image dimensions if you are not certain what they are. You will need this in Ulead. Diminish A.S to the Task Bar.

Open your U'lead Gif Animator, and if the Animation Wizard is not set to display on opening, go to "File/Animation Wizard" to open it. Once open, type in the image size (told you you'd need it) and then follow the prompts to load your images. Now ... U'lead's G.A will not open more than approx 40 frames at a time in the Wizard. If you have more than 40, but less than 80 frames, you need to take two bites at the cherry ... if you have over 80 frames ... you'll need to do it in three goes. Do your last half or last third on the first go, and then your first half or second third on the next. If three attempts are necessary, you do the first third of the frames last. After you have done the first stage, just save it as a .gif file ... name it Part2 if you only need two attempts ... or Part3 if you have to do it in thirds. When you have saved it, go to "File/Animation Wizard" and do the next lot. If you are doing it in thirds ... name this Part2.Each time you load a new lot of frames, G.A will ask you do you wish to save the one before, Tell it NO, because you have already done so.

Once you have done the last stage, which are your very first frames, it is now time to import the others you have saved and add them to the end. You will still have the first frames of your animation loaded, so at the bottom, right click on the last frame, and then click on "Add Frame". Then go to "File/Add Image". In the browse box, locate your Part2 and double click it. G.A will add it to the end, and if you only had two parts, your animation is complete ... if you had 3 parts, just repeat the last step. Then, at the top of the Workspace, click on Preview to make sure all looks OK. Set your Frame Properties (Timing) to suit, click on Optimise to see the filesize, and then save your completed animation.

If your animation filesize is still too large, the only way you will be able to lower it from there is to resize your animation down. I have made dozens of pretty and complicated blings that no one has ever seen ... they have been deleted out of hand because they were just too large and complicated to be able to use. Heartbreaking because some of them took days to complete. So ... there you go ... you now have all the tricks of the trade that I have. Have fun. ... Old Jack.
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Mapie
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