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Screensaver (5), Part 2: Active Media Eclipse
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Screensaver (5), Part 2: Active Media Eclipse

Created by: Robert Behrens (the Prof)


The first part of this tutorial explores the Axialis Screen Saver program. The second part explores the Active Media Eclipse Screen Saver program.

Axialis is a shareware program, Active Media Eclipse Personal Edition is a free program (of course they also have a Developer Edition and a Professional Edition for evaluation and then purchase if so desired).

Each program has different features able to create exceptionally nice looking animated screen savers. However, each program creates very different types of screen savers:

Axialis is a very powerful program with many different features and is indeed a professional screen saver program. It requires a lot of time to learn all the features. In this tutorial we will just create a basic screen saver that is quite startling, using our four images created earlier (space screensaver tutorial series 1-4). The basic steps are quite easy to master and the outcome is most unique.

Active Media Eclipse has a number of presets for screen savers. One only needs to add the images. Thus, it is a very easy screen saver program to use. One does not have as much control over animating the images as with Axialis. However, the possible screen savers are almost unlimited within the various types due to the various settings and values one does have control over.

Each screen saver program has its advantages and disadvantages. This two-part tutorial is designed to introduce people to using either program (or both) to produce screen savers of images they created.


Download the attachments for this tutorial  Download Files

For our screen saver, we will use the images you have created with the first four parts of our space screensaver tutorial series:
(1) Planets (PSP 5/6 || PSP 7),
(2) Rings (PSP 5/6 || PSP 7),
(3) Galaxies (PSP 5/6 || PSP 7), and
(4) Comets (PSP 5/6 || PSP 7),
and put them into a space screensaver. If you haven't worked through these tutorials (and don't want to) you can download some of the images with the file on the left.


Making a Screensaver: Overview

Here's what we will do in this tutorial:

  • Use the Active Media Eclipse Screen Saver Program
  • Use the images created in the space tutorial series
  • Choose a transition (screen saver type)
  • Select a background
  • Select images
  • Choose options for the transition
  • Save the project
  • Create the screen saver

Introduction and Quick Tour

Start the Active Media Eclipse program and close the Tips screen by clicking on OK.

The window you see is the screen saver development window. The key items/areas you want to initially be familiar with include the Preview menu and the sections/areas of the Development window. Briefly, note these areas/items:


The Preview Menu (Key Items)

Image Sequence Editor:
Used to order the sequence of images used in the screen saver. You will not often need to use this feature but it is useful at times when you want to have images displayed in a particular order. (Note the order of images used in the example 3D Cube Screen Saver.)

Preview Screen Saver:
When creating a screen saver, use this feature or the F5 key to preview your work before final creation of the screen saver.

Transition Demonstration:
To get an idea of the types of screen savers possible, use this feature to preview the examples provided in the program.


The Screen Saver Development Window

Transition Area:
The Transition Area is where one selects the particular Transition or screen saver type wanted.

Editing Area:
The Editing Area is where one enters the images to be used as well as set the values for the particular transition. Each transition editing window may have slightly different values for editing. This image depicts the window for the 3D Cube Transition.

  • Background Image Style & Count:
    Sometimes transitions will allow one to use an image or images for a screen saver background. In other transitions, one may only be able to set the background color, which is selected by using the "Features" tab.
    The Style values are "Tile" or "Centered" or "No Background". The Image Count may allow a few to many images to be used for a background, depending upon the transition selected.
  • Number of Images:
    This setting allows the user to set from one to many different images that will be displayed on the background in accordance with the transition selected.
    There may be values one is able to set for how the images will be displayed.

Some transitions may have a second page for editing values for the screen saver.


Before illustrating two screen savers using the images from the Space tutorial series, take a little time and explore the various transition demonstrations. Go to Preview || Transition Demontration and select a transition. (There are over 20 demos to explore.) Then click on F5 to preview it. Have a little fun while getting a bit familiar with the types of screen savers available. Notice the various settings used in the Screen Saver Development Window.

When ready, the following will develop two different types of screen savers.


Step 1: Setting Up a Project Folder

Select the Transition Demo, 3d Cube:
– Go to File || Open
– Highlight "Samples"
– Select: Eclipse V.3.0 Demo - 3d Cube.esp
– Click on "Open"

Explore quickly the Project Development Editing window to just see the images and values set. Then use F5 to preview that screen saver.

Create your project folder:
– Go to File || Open
– Click on the "New Folder" icon
– Rename it to "My Projects"
– Your folder is set now; click on "Cancel" to leave this dialog.


Step 2: Creating the Screen Saver

Create a new transition: Go to File || New and select the '3d Cube Transition' (click on the down-arrow key in the "Selected Transition" box and select '3d Cube').

Use these settings (see the illustration of the development above for an explanation of the values):

  • Background Image Style = Tile Image
  • Background Image Count = [1]
    (One may set up to 4 background images that will change according to the Hold Time set. The cube will continue to rotate over each background.)
  • Background Image = 'Starry Background Image'
    (starynight.jpg; click on the "Select" button, browse to the folder and select the file.)
  • Hold Backgrnd (ms) = [10,000]
    (Use default setting or move the slider to the right to increase Hold Time and to the left to decrease Hold Time for the background images if using more than one image.)
  • Begin with Desktop = Unchecked
    (Check it if you want the screen saver to begin with the desktop visible.)
  • Number of Images:
    (Use the images in the following order: click on the "Select" button and highlight each file. Then move the slider to the next image and repeat selecting the file until all images are selected:)
    [1] = planet (planet.gif)
    [2] = galaxy (galaxy.jpg)
    [3] = rings (rings.gif)
    [4] = galaxy (galaxy.jpg)
    [5] = comets (comets.jpg)
    [6] = comets (comets.jpg)
  • Width of Cube = 80
    (Use the slider or Shift+Arrow keys to set.)
  • Height of Cube = 80
    (Use the slider or Shift+Arrow keys to set.)
  • Depth of Cube = 30
    (Use the slider or Shift+Arrow keys to set.)
  • Click on Page 2:

  • Axis of Rotation = XY and Z Axis
  • Rotation Direction = Clockwise
  • Movement Style = Bounce Around
  • Default Speed = 20

Step 3: Previewing and Saving the Project

If you like the presentation, you are ready to save your work and then create the screen saver. If you want to edit your work, just use different values on either page 1 or page 2 of the development window.

Then go to File || Save As, select the "My Projects" folder and enter a file name (e.g. PSP_Space-Screensaver-3dcube.esp).

Note: You can now open this screensaver project at any time and can edit it, change images, change values, add music, and other features.


Step 4: Creating the Screen Saver for Use on a Desktop

Click on the "Distribution" tab:

  • Screen Saver Title = (e.g. PSP_Space-3dcube)
  • Version Number = Your choice to use or not (e.g. v1.01)
  • Information for 'About' button = Your choice to use or not
    (e.g. PSP Space Screen Saver)
  • Make Current Screen Saver = checked
    (automatically will set up as current screen saver)
  • Other Information = leave unchecked

Other tabs: just explore them and fill in those of interest.

To finally create the screen saver go to Tools || Screen Saver Wizard. A four-page wizard will help you to install the screen saver. Just follow the instructions on each page. Most settings to be used are already set.


Creating Another Screen Saver

For this screen saver we will create a series of flying images. Use these settings:

  • Transition = Flying
  • Image Count = 4 images:
    • Image 1 = comet1.jpg
    • Image 2 = galaxy.jpg
    • Image 3 = planet.gif
    • Image 4 = rings.gif
  • Image Reproductions = 8
  • Horizontal Movement = 5
  • Vertical Movement = 5
  • Leave Trails Behind = unchecked
  • Default Speed = 40

Then test it using F5. If you want to adjust any setting, then change options and just test again with F5. Once satisfied, save your project: go to File || Save As || (e.g. PSP_spaceflying.esp).

To create your screen saver for use on a desktop, use Tools || Screen Saver Wizard and cycle through the wizard screens.


As you use this program you will find various ways to create some very nice screen savers. Have fun with the transition demos to see the various types of screen savers possible.

There are a couple of screen savers that one may use to present a series of images you have created. The Picture Book and Slide Show should be of interest.

If you have not yet explored the Axialis Screen Saver program, you might want to look at that one as well. You will have two excellent programs for creating neat screen savers.

To test your screen savers, go to Start || Settings || Control Panel on the Windows desktop and select "Display". In the "Display" dialog window select the "Screen Saver" tab and you will find your screen savers there. You can preview them and set your wait time.

Have fun! :-))


To explore the Axialis Screen Saver program, click here.