For PSP V6 AND V7Home   >   Tutorials   >   PSP 7 Effects   >
Falling Snow Part A
E-mail this tutorial to a friend Email to Friend

Falling Snow [Part A]
Created by: CarolUK - Snow technique devised by Renald Levesque.
Modified by: PSPUG Learning Center

 

The Falling Snow Tutorial is in three (3) parts:

Part A (this part) - creates the Falling Snow Image used for animation of the globe,
Part B - creates the Globe with the snow layers and base, and
Part C - creates the Animation GIF File.

(Note: The tutorial is written with instructions for PSP Version 6 and PSP Version 7 only. It is possible for PSP Version 5 to also use many of the same techniques to create the snow.)

The method of making falling snow as an animation in PSP is based upon a method devised by Renald Levesque who graciously gave me (CarolUK) permission to write a tutorial using his method. The method involves designing circular selections in order to have them line up properly. The method is more easily applied to a rectangular or square graphic.

The Globe Picture is an Elf against a snowy scene made in Terragen. It is a circular image, diameter 250 pixels, on a transparent canvas 300x300 pixels. One may use their own image which must start as a PSP file of a single layer on a transparent background.

Note #1: Using your own image, make sure it is a circular one of a diameter of 250 pixels on a transparent canvas 300 x 300 pixels with the image centered on the canvas.

Note #2: Due to the number of layers used, always save your work regularly as a PSP file.

 

STEP 1: Download this fallingsnowdnld.zip file and unzip it.

  • Download the fallingsnowdnld.zip file.
  • Unzip it.
  • Load it into your PSP.
  • Save As "Elf1.psp" [F12].
  • Minimize it for now.
  • Close the Elf.psp file to preserve original image.
 
 

STEP 2: CREATE THE BASIC SNOW FLAKES FOR THE ANIMATION

 
Standard Toolbar - New (image) button CREATE A NEW IMAGE

Open a new image using the FILE || NEW menu option, with the following settings:

  • Canvas = 100 x 100 pixels
  • Background = Black
  • Colours = 16 Million
 

ADD SOME NOISE TO YOUR NEW IMAGE

To add noise to create the Snow Effect:

IN PSP V6 use the: IMAGE || NOISE || ADD menu option,
IN PSP V7 use the: EFFECTS || NOISE || ADD menu option,

and apply the following Noise settings:

  • % Noise = 100,
  • Random = Checked,
  • Click on OK.
 

RESIZE YOUR IMAGE

To resize your image:

Use the: IMAGE || RESIZE menu option and apply the following settings:

  • Pixel Size = checked,
  • Width & Height = 300,
  • Resize Type = Smart Size,
  • Resize All Layers = N/A,
  • Maintain Aspect Ratio = 1:1,
  • Click on OK.
 

SHARPEN YOUR IMAGE

To Sharpen your image:

  • In PSP V6 use the: IMAGE || SHARPEN || SHARPEN menu option,
  • In PSP V7 use the: EFFECTS || SHARPEN || SHARPEN menu option.

ADJUST THE BRIGHTNESS AND CONTRAST SETTINGS

To adjust the Brightness/Contrast of your image:

Click on the COLOURS || ADJUST || BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST menu option, and apply the following settings:

  • % Brightness = 55,
  • % Contrast = 100,
  • Click on OK.
 

TO REDUCE YOUR COLOURS TO BLACK AND WHITE

To reduce the colours to Black and White

Click on the Colours || Decrease Colour Depth || 2 Colours (1 Bit) menu option,

Then click on the Colours || Increase Colour Depth || 16 Million Colours (24 Bit) menu option.

 
Note

TIPS ON SNOWFLAKE SIZE:

The current Snowflake size increased the image by 3 times (resizing image to 300 x 300 pixels).

To create bigger Snowflakes, increase the image by 4 (or more) times (resizing the image to 400 x 400 pixels or larger). However, if you have increased the snowflake size, now you need to create a canvas that is 300 x 300 pixels.

  • Double Click on the SELECTION TOOL
  • Left = 0
  • Right = 300
  • Top = 0
  • Bottom = 300
  • IMAGE || CROP TO SELECTION (or use SHIFT + R)

To create smaller Snowflakes, start with a new black canvas of 150 x 150 pixels and when resizing to 300 x 300 pixels, the snowflakes increase only by 2 times and will be smaller than given above.

Also, the density of the snowflakes is set when using the Brightness/Contrast feature. Increase the brightness for more flakes, and decrease the Brightness for less flakes.

 

DEVELOP THE SNOWFLAKE IMAGE FOR ANIMATION

A: Basic Image for creating different images used in the animation frames

  • New Canvas:
    FILE || NEW (300 x 600, Transparent, 16 M colors)
  • Activate the Snow Image:
    Click on the EDIT || COPY menu option
    (Control + C)
  • Activate the New Canvas:
    Click on EDIT || PASTE || AS NEW LAYER
    (Control + L)
  • Use MOVER TOOL and move image to Bottom of New Canvas
  • Again, Click on EDIT || PASTE || AS NEW LAYER
    (Control + L)
  • Again, Use MOVER TOOL and move image to Top of New Canvas
  • Make certain there are no gaps at the edges or between the two pasted images. Use the MOVER TOOL to correct any gaps noticed.
  • Use LAYERS || MERGE || MERGE VISIBLE to create a single Layer 300 x 600 pixels
  • SAVE this NEW IMAGE as snowflakes.psp
  • Close the Original Snowflake image as no longer needed
 


Layer Palette - Create layer button

Tool Palette - Zoom tool













Tool Palette - Preset Shapes tool - PSP 6 & 7

B: The Settings for two Guide Circles

  • Add a New Layer labeled 'Guide Circles'
  • Make sure your image is now 1:1 (click on ZOOM tool then click in image to change the view from 1:2 to 1:1)
  • Scroll to bottom of canvas to reveal the lower 1/2 of the double snowflakes image
  • Set the Foreground Color to contrasting color such as YELLOW (255, 255, 0):
    In PSP V6:
    • Foreground = YELLOW (255,255,0)
    • Background = n/a
    In PSP V7:
    • Styles Foreground = Yellow (255,255,0)
    • Styles Background = NULL
      Click on right arrow in styles background and select the NULL ICON - last on right
    • Both Textures Palettes = NULL
  • Click on the Preset Shapes tool, and apply the following settings:
    In PSP V6:
    • Shape Type = Circle
    • Style = Stroked
    • Line Width = 1
    • Antialias = checked
    • Create as Vector = Unchecked
    In PSP V7:
    • Shape Type = Ellipse
    • Retain Style = Unchecked
    • Antialias = Checked
    • Create as Vector = Unchecked
    • Line Width = 1
    • Line Style = #1 (Solid)
 
Note

C: Drawing the two Guide Circles:

Note: Coordinates, when drawing, are visible in the bottom left status bar. When you place your cursor in the image, the first set of numbers seen will be the horizontal,vertical settings.

First, find the exact center point for the bottom image (150,450),
then draw the circle by holding the mouse button down,
and dragging outward until you see coordinates reading (250,250) [or as close to 250,250] as possible,
then release Mouse Button to have the circle drawn.

 

Still using the Preset Shapes tool, in PSP V6::

  • Place cursor at the coordinates of 150,450
  • Hold down your mouse button
  • Drag the cursor to coordinates of 250,250
  • Note: Because of Antialiasing, most likely you will either get a circle dimension of 249,249 or 251,251 which is fine.

In PSP V7:

  • Place your cursor at the coordinates of 150,450
  • Right-click on your mouse, and hold down the right-mouse button,
  • Press the Shift Key (to draw a perfect circle),
  • Drag your cursor to coordinates 250,250
  • Note: Because of Antialiasing, most likely you will either get a circle dimension of 249,249 or 251,251, which is fine.
 

D: Repeat for top half of canvas at coordinates of 150,150

In PSP V6:

  • Place your cursor at coordinates 150,150
  • Hold down your left mouse button
  • Drag the cursor to coordinates of 250,250
  • Note: Because of Antialiasing, most likely you will either get a circle dimension of 249,249 or 251,251 which is fine.

In PSP V7::

  • Place your cursor at coordinates 150,150
  • Right-click on your mouse, and hold down the right-mouse button,
  • Press the Shift Key (to draw a perfect circle)
  • Drag Cursor to coordinates 250,250
  • Note: Because of Antialiasing, most likely you will either get a circle dimension of 249,249 or 251,251 which is fine.
 
Standard Toolbar - Save (image) button

E: SAVE to SNOWFLAKE.PSP to preserve the circles

 

NOTE: Each circle selection is an exact duplicate. Just note the same area on each circle selection to view the duplicate flakes.

These identical patterns are important for the animation effect. By creating individual frames we are able to achieve a smooth effect of falling snow. We will begin at the bottom circle and move up in the image by an exact vertical displacement until we get to the top circle. (Moving from bottom to top creates snow falling from top to bottom)

 
 

STEP 3. CREATING THE SNOWFLAKE FRAMES

 

Setting the Grid Guides

  • Click on VIEW || GRID to turn grid on
  • PSP V6: Use FILE || PREFERENCES || GENERAL PROGRAM PREFERENCES
    And, Select Tab, RULERS AND UNITS
  • PSP V7: Use VIEW || CHANGE GRID and GUIDE PROPERTIES
  • In the GRID BOX, set these values:
    • Units = Pixels
    • Horizontal Spacing = 25
    • Vertical Spacing = 25
    • Line Color = Pink (255, 192, 192)
 
Note

COMMENT:

The grid is a 12 x 12 square grid. Creating the animation frames for a smooth look requires the copy of 12 evenly spaced (vertically) frames. The 300 pixel canvas with a 250 pixel globe size allows the 12 x 12 grid to give a perfect size for the necessary circles used for the animation frames.

This animation will be a very large file. However, it gives you the basic steps necessary for creating this type of animation.

Once you have done one globe you will know what is happening. You will be able to use a grid which is not a perfect fit as a rough guide and then make the adjustments visually.

To reduce the number of frames use a larger number for grid lines. In practice one ought to use less frames. A 40x40 grid would give 7 squares across for 8 frames.

In this tutorial we will make this easy and have extra frames. The consolation is that once this big file has loaded, the animation will be very smooth.

 






Tool Palette - Selection tool


























Tool Palette - Magic Wand tool

Creating the first snowflake frame layer

  • THE BASIC STEPS (Creating Layer 1 of Snowflake Frame)
  • Activate the "snowflake.psp" image.
  • In your Layer Palette, highlight the Merged Layer
  • Start at Bottom of Canvas
  • Click on the Selection tool, and change the Selection Tool settings to:
    • Selection Type = Circle
    • Feather = 0
    • Antialias = Checked
  • Place the cursor on The Middle Grid Line
    Coordinates 150 x 450 - the exact middle of the yellow circle - for this frame, the cursor is on the middle horizontal and vertical grid line)
  • Hold mouse button and drag to create a circle 250 x 250 in size
    Note: The selection should surround the yellow circle and the 'marching ants' should be at the exact grid line for the top/bottom and right/left sides of the yellow circle. It is possible the circle selection size will need to correspond to your earlier yellow circle size of 251 x 251. The key is to have the selection on the grid line.
  • Copy the selection using the:
    • EDIT || COPY menu option, or
    • CONTROL + C Keys
  • Activate the "Elf1.psp" image (minimized at the beginning of this tutorial)
  • Paste the copied selection to"Elf1.psp" as a New Layer using the:
    • EDIT || PASTE || AS NEW LAYER menu option, or
    • CONTROL + L
  • The Elf will now be covered precisely by the Snowflake Image
  • Click on the Magic Wand tool and change the settings to:
    • Match Mode = RBG Value
    • Tolerance = 15
    • Feather = 0
    • Sample Merged = Unchecked
  • Click your cursor on a black area (in this Snowflake Layer)
  • Use the Delete key (to remove all of the black background, leaving only the snow flakes visible)
  • Deselect your selection (CONTROL + D)
  • Save your image as "Elf1.psp"
  • Turn off this Snowflake Layer (in the Layer Palette, click on the eyeglasses beside this layer)
 

Creating the next snowflake frame layer

  • THE BASIC STEPS (Creating Layer 2 of Snowflake Frame)
  • Activate the "snowflake.psp" image.
  • Use Mover Tool to:
    • Right Click in Center of Selection
    • Hold mouse button and move selection up ONE GRID LINE
    • Align the Selection to just touch the grid lines
  • COPY the selection using the:
    • EDIT || COPY menu option, or
    • CONTROL + C Keys
  • Activate the "Elf1.psp" image (minimized at the beginning of this tutorial)
  • Paste the copied selection to"Elf1.psp" as a New Layer using the:
    • EDIT || PASTE || AS NEW LAYER menu option, or
    • CONTROL + L heys
  • Click on the Magic Wand tool and change the settings to:
    • Match Mode = RBG Value
    • Tolerance = 15
    • Feather = 0
    • Sample Merged = Unchecked
  • Click your cursor on a black area (in this Snowflake Layer)
  • Use the Delete key (to remove all of the black background, leaving only the snow flakes visible)
  • Deselect your selection (CONTROL + D)
  • Save your image as Elf2.psp
  • Turn off this Snowflake Layer (in the Layer Palette, click on the eyeglasses beside this layer)
 
 

Create 10 more snowflake frames for a total of 12 layers.

  • Take your time
  • Each time, move the selection up one grid line.
  • Copy that selection and Paste as a new layer on the Elf image
  • Delete the black from the snowflake image
  • Save image and turn off layer

You have finished the snowflake frames for the animation. In the next tutorial Part B we will make the elf picture look like a glass globe and create a base for it.

Enjoy ....