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Animated Robo Dancer - Page 1
Paint Shop Pro Tutorial by Arizona Kate

animated valentine dancerThis tutorial creates an animated character holding a Valentine message. You don't have to use my silly Valentine poem...put any message you like on the card! Or just create the funky robo dancer and skip the steps for the message card! This animation has a lot of frames so it won't be a quickie to create ....but it is fairly easy and suitable for beginners with some options for more advanced users.

ITEMS NEEDED

Tutorial was written for Paint Shop Pro version 7 with notations for version 8 and newer. We'll also be using Animation Shop v.3, which is bundled with both PSP 7 and 8, however, users of version 8 and newer should be aware that the NEW default file format for Paint Shop Pro is .pspimage, which is not compatible with Animation Shop 3. Users of PSP 8 and newer must save their images in the old .psp format for use in Animation Shop v.3. (See FILE FORMATS below.)

We'll be using characters from the freeware dingbat 'Mr Robo Funk'. If you don't have it, download the zip file here and save to your hard drive: MRROF___.zip (right click > save target as)

FILE FORMATS

The first step involved in creating this animation is to make a layered image in Paint Shop Pro that is saved in .psp format without merging layers...

1. The .pspimage file format used in newer versions of Paint Shop Pro is not compatible with the currently released version of Animation Shop (v.3) and users of PSP 8 or 9 must change the file type when saving an image to be animated. If you are using PSP version 8.01, select the OPTIONS button, then select the radio button to save as PSP7 compatible. If you have updated PSP to version 8.10 or newer....Animation Shop has been added as a 'file type'. When you save, instead of saving as a Paint Shop Pro FILE TYPE, use the SAVE AS command and the dialog box will give you the option to change the FILE TYPE to Animation Shop (.psp format).

2. Next, check your Animation Shop Preferences. Each LAYER of your PSP image will be imported as a separate animation FRAME. Your Animation Shop Preferences must be set to 'keep layers as separate frames'. To verify your own Animation Shop preferences, go to File > Preferences > General Program Preferences. Under the Layered Files tab, make sure the button is checked next to 'Keep layers as separate frames'. Also check the box that says 'Export frames to PSP as layered images'. Note that these options will be found in Animation Shop Preferences ...NOT Paint Shop Pro Preferences!

Note: For simplicity, I will use a combination of right click and standard menu choices in this tutorial, however, keyboard shortcuts, toolbar icons, and many other PSP options have the same action. If you are familiar with PSP and have a preference for another method, by all means, use whatever you are comfortable with! I will also ask you to NAME the layer buttons on the Layer Palette. This is a good habit to get into. If you're not in the mood to be tidy....you can skip the naming, but you might save some hair pulling if you DO take the time to name! *G* Also, don't worry too much about absolutely perfect alignment when tutorial says 'align with previous layer' ...Mr Robo Funk will be dancing and moving about a lot and being off a pixel or 2 won't be noticed ...just get fairly close!

STEP 1... FEET DOWN POSITION

Open a new image (raster) 100x150 pixels with transparent background and 16 million colors (resolution 72 ppi). We'll be creating an image with LOTS of layers and an animation with LOTS of frames... so, by keeping the canvas size fairly small, hopefully we won't end up with a HUGE filesize when done! That is not a good thing! If something is difficult to see .... just zoom in a few steps to work on it! In PSP 7, the Zoom Tool is the magnifying glass in the left side tool bar. In PSP 8, the Zoom toolbar appears above the work space when the Pan Tool (arrow) or Move Tool (crossed arrows) is selected.

We'll save a lot of time by using characters from the 'Mr Robo Funk' dingbat instead of drawing from scratch. However, none of those funky guys have both feet on the ground! It's important to be grounded...*G*...so, first we'll make an additional character!

Rename first layer FEET DOWN. To rename a layer, right click the layer button, select RENAME and enter new name for layer button.

text tool Select the Text Tool, click in the center of the image and make these selections in the dialog box:
  • Font is 'Mr Robo Funk'
  • Size is 60
  • Kerning and Leading are set to 0
  • Alignment is set to Center
  • Select the 'Standard Text' button....fill color is black. Textures are both null
  • Type in lower case 'x'. Todays danceman will be made from all lower case letters
  • Floating and Antialias are both checked
In PSP 7, text and settings are entered in the pop-up dialog box. In PSP 8, the settings are selected from the tool bar above work area (aka palette) and the text is entered in the pop-up text box. We'll be using these same text settings for all Robo Funk characters, so I won't be repeating them!
Whenever you see the 'marching ants' around your Robo Funk character, it must be de-selected (de-floated) before proceeding to next step. Right click SELECT > NONE.

Next we'll do some surgery to Mr 'x' and make him stand still with both feet on ground! Zoom in a couple of steps so you can see better.

selectionSelect the leg that is up in the air and 'cut' it off where it connects to the body. Use the selection tool, either rectangle or freehand. Refer to screenshot.

Select the remaining leg and move it one pixel over to the right; then select EDIT > COPY.

select one leg

Select EDIT > PASTE > AS NEW SELECTION. Position it anywhere but do NOT de-select). Select IMAGE > MIRROR and move the new leg so it lines up with the left side of body. Because we moved the other leg over a bit, there should be room to leave about 1 pixel space between the legs. Now you can de-select! ;-)

position new leg

Continued on Page 2

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