This section is where you will find techniques to create great graphics using Paint Shop Pro.
If you have a question or a tutorial you would like to share E-Mail us and let us know!

An Animated Christmas Card in PSP6


This tutorial created by kiss

In this tutorial, we will learn how to make an animated Christmas card in Paint Shop Pro 6 and Animation shop using layers and the deformation tool.

For this tutorial you will need an image preferably 300 X 400 pixels. If you'd like, you can use the above image which I created using pine branch, glass ball and white sparkle tubes from Hood's PSP Tubes.

Creating Your Card
1. Open the card image and promote it to a layer by opening the layer palette and right clicking on background. Choose "Promote to layer".
2. Your layer palette should now have one layer called "Layer One". To avoid confusion, I renamed the layer to "Cover1" by right clicking on Layer 1 in the layer Palette, choosing "Properties" and renaming the layer in the Name box.
3. Press on the "Create layer" button at the top left hand side of the Layer Palette and name the layer "Interior". Move it under the Cover1 layer by pressing on the "Interior" layer and dragging it under the Cover1 layer in the Layer Palette. Hide the Cover1 layer from view by clicking the little glasses to the right of Cover1 in the Layer Palette. You should now only see the transparent Interior layer.
4. It's time to decide the color you want for the interior of the card. I chose red but you can decide on whatever you want. A nice idea may be to copy a family photo and place it on the layer as a selection. At any rate, I've decided to make my interior red with white lettering, so I opened the color palette and chose the bright red in the top left hand corner. Now choose the flood fill tool, fill style: Solid color and fill the Interior layer with red. (Of course you can embellish your interior any way you'd like!)
5. Click on the text tool and choose the font you'd like for the interior of your card. Make sure that Floating and Antialias are selected as well as the color you'd like for the font. Then click on "Ok". My lettering says, "With love from all of us".
6. In the layer palette, click on the glasses next to your Cover1 layer so that the layer becomes visible again and make sure that the Cover1 layer is selected in the layer palette. Now we're going to resize the image so that we can work on "opening" the card. Go to Image/Canvas Size and set the size to New Width: 400, New Height: 500. Check both Center Image Horizontally and Vertically in Image placement.
7.In the Layer Palette, right click on the Cover1 layer and select duplicate. Rename the new "Copy of Cover1" layer to "Cover2" by right clicking on that layer and renaming it in the properties dialogue box as we did in steps 1 and 2 above. Repeat this step 3 times, renaming each "cover" layer with the corresponding number. You should now have 5 layers in your layer palette, the "Interior" layer and 4 "Cover" layers labeled Cover1, Cover 2, Cover3 and Cover4.
8. Hide the Cover1, Cover3 and Cover4 layers by pressing on the glasses next to the corresponding layers and select your "Cover2" layer. Now press on the deformation tool. Your card cover should be outlined with the deformation boundary. Place your cursor on the square in the middle of the right hand side of the boundary and drag the layer to the left about a third of the way across. Now, place your cursor on the top right hand square of the boundary and while pressing on the "ctrl" key on your keyboard, drag the square up about 1/3 of an inch. Click on "yes" in the Apply Deformation dialogue box.
9. Now, hide your Cover2 layer in the Layer Palette, press on the glasses next to your "Cover3" layer and make sure that layer is selected. Click on the deformation tool again slide the right hand middle square to the right about 2/3 of the way across. Place your cursor on the top right hand square and drag it up about 2/3 of an inch while pressing on your keyboard's "ctrl" key.
10. Repeat the above step for Cover4 but this time, drag the deformation to the left so that the cover is only about a half an inch wide and up almost to the top of the image. Make sure you don't "cut off" the top and bottom edges of your card cover and that your lettering can be seen entirely once the card is "opened". When you're finished, you should have something that looks like this when all the layers are visible. Of course, you can't see the Interior layer as it is hidden by the Cover1 layer.
11. In the layer palette, hide the Cover2, Cover3 and Cover4 layers by clicking on the glasses next to them so that your Card1 and Interior layers are "visible". (Remember you won't see the Interior layer here as it is hidden by the Cover1 layer, but you will see it in the next images we will save.) Go to File/Save As and name the image: card1. In the "save as type" box, select Gif(RD). PSP will notify you that the image will be saved as a single layer. Press "yes". In the Gif Save Options box choose "Version 89a" and leave the interlaced box unchecked. Press okay.
12. Save the next images as above in the corresponding manner:
card2: Only Interior and Cover2 layers are visible
card3: Only Interior and Cover3 layers are visible
card4: Only Interior and Cover4 layers are visible

You should have 4 images saved.

Now we'll convert our images into an animated card.

Animating Your Card
1. Run Animation shop and go to File/Animation Wizard
In the first box select "Same size as the first image frame". Press "Next"
The second box will ask you about transparencies and doesn't matter as our animation has no transparencies, so press "Next".
In the next box, leave the defaults, "Upper left corner of the frame" and "With canvas color" checked. Press "Next".
"Do you want the animation to be looped?" is up to you. Looping means the animation will be repeated indefinitely as mine is. You can choose to have your own animation shown once, or repeated as many times as you want here.
For the length of the animations, I chose 30 but certain elements of that will be modified later. For now, change the number to 30 and press Next.
In the next box, press "add Image" and browse to the folder where you saved your Card gifs.
Select "card1" and press "open".
Press "add image" again and select your card2 gif.
Repeat this until your 4 card gifs are in the box.
Then press "Next" and "Finish". This will show you the animation in 4 separate frames labeled F1, F2, etc.
2. You can view your animation if you'd like, by clicking on the "View Animation" button which is the second button from the right at the top of the screen. As you can see, your card opens but I think we should make some changes to it as the first and last frames go a bit too fast for people to see properly.
3.Press on the "View Animation" button again to stop it. Select the first frame in the Frames box named "F1" by clicking on it. Now press with the right mouse button and select "Properties". Change the Display time to 75 and press Ok. This will leave the card closed a bit longer so people can see the cover better.
4. Now scroll over to frame F4 and change the display time to 200. This will make the last frame stay open for 2 seconds which gives people time to read your message! Of course you can modify the display times as you see fit for your own animated creation.
5. If you're sending the animation to friends and family via e-mail you can leave it as it is, but if you want to publish it, I urge you to make it smaller so that download time becomes reasonable. If you'd like to resize it, go to Animation/Resize Animation and resize it to 75 or 50%. Press OK.
6. Now go to Image/Save and name your animation in the resulting box, then press Save. This will prompt the Animation Quality vs. Output Size box to open. If you're keeping the image large, you don't really have to fiddle with this but it is good to understand for future use. The lower you slide the arrow, the smaller the file size and download time but fewer colors are used also. Press next and the optimization process will work on saving your animation to different optimization sizes. This way you can choose the best optimization to publish. Try saving to two or three different settings by returning from the Optimization Results box to the Animation Quality vs. Output Size box. That way you can choose the ideal one to publish. (Don't forget to rename the animation each time you save so you don't overwrite a previously saved one).
And that's it, your card is finished! Have fun making your own custom cards for different people this holiday season.

Happy Holidays to you!!!

When you are finished viewing this page,
close this window to go back to the Tutorials index.