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Animated Swinging Christmas Elf Tutorial

This tutorial was done using PSP 7 & Animation Shop

This tag is very easy and I hope you have fun with it.

I have included the font I used, Milk Script, in the supplies zip,
with the tubes I used, but as always your only limited by your imagination :-)

Supplies are here:

This animation only has 2 frames and is pretty easy to do.
The hardest part is making the curved text, if you have never done it before.

Open new image, 500 x 500.
Add a new raster layer, send it to the bottom of the palette,
flood fill with white and rename it bottom.
I only use this bottom layer to see what I am doing.

Open the Elf tube.
Copy/paste this tube as new layer into the Elf image,
rename this layer elf left, close original tube.
Resize elf left layer image:
Image/resize image, 85%, six times.
Do not resize all layers. Just the Elf image.
Add a drop shadow.
I used: Drop: Veritcal 3, Horizontal 3, Opacity 50, Blur 5, color black #000000
Duplicate this image one time, name it elf right.

Rotate the elf right by 45 to the left. ONLY the elf right....
Not the whole psp image.

Remember to SAVE often.

Anyone who has done my tuts before knows that I am big on naming layers
because it keeps my senile brain straight while making my animations and
and I will refer to the layers along the way as I named them.

Close the elf right layer for now and move the elf left layer
over to the left side of the image. We need to make room for the
swinging of both elves.
Go to View/Rulers and click it so you have a ruler around your image.
Move the elf left layer, I use the small green round spot, under the top green light
as a point of reference when moving it,
so that the numbers in the bottom left of your PSP screen
are at 240 / 110. Which are the same numbers that will be marked on your
Ruler on the image. I marked it in green on the Screen Shot:

Feel free to close off the Ruler now if you want to.

When elf left is in place, move your elf right into place.
Move him so that the small green round spot, under the top green light,
is directly over the same green spot on the elf left layer.
Like this:

When satisfied, SAVE :-)

Next open the holly psp image, copy/paste into Elf image as new layer,
add same drop as above and duplicate once.
Move your holly into place on the image and
arrange your layers like this:

Close off all layers but the elf left and holly.
Merge/merge visible, rename merged left and close that layer off.
Open Elf right and copy of holly layer, merge/merge visible, rename merged right.
Save your image.

Should have three layers now in this order from top to bottom:
Merged Right
Merged Left
You can delete the bottom layer at any time. I use it because I can see better with it:-)

Next to make the curved text.
I used our Elf image to make the text in, as we will be propagating it
into AS anyway. If you want you can make a new 500 x 500 image to do it
but it really is not necessary.

We will make the text using Bezier Curve.
I also used Milk Script font, enclosed in the supplies.
So choose your font or open and minimize the Milk font.
Choose your text colors. I used:
Foreground: Green: #1FB700
Background: Red: #E03A00
After you choose your colors make the background color NULL.

Go to your Draw Tool and use these settings:
Type: Bezier Curve
Width: 2
Line: Solid
Antilias and Vector Checked.
Close Path NOT checked.

If you have never done this before I suggest that you read this over first :-) It is easy!

This is done is 3 consecetive moves. Any variance will erase it from your screen.
First click to draw your line, second at about 1/3 in the line on the left,
third about 1/3 in on the line on the right.

Using your draw tool, in the center of your image on the left side,
holding your left mouse button down,
draw a straight horizontal line across your image,
approx. the length of your text.

When line is straight, let go of the button.

Should look something like this:

Move your mouse a little above the line, on the left side, about 1/3 in and left click.

Should look something like this:

Move your mouse a little above the line, on the right side, about 1/3 in and left click.
You should have something that looks like this:

This is what you have after you let go of the mouse after the 3rd click:

Should look something like this:

See the top nodule, in the middle of the line?
Left click on it and while holding your mouse down, draw it up to make a arch:

The higher the arch, the more curve you will get. You decide when to release your mouse :-)

I did mine about here:

Next, click on your text tool button, make sure your colors are active,
move your mouse to the top of the arch, inside the line, until your cursor
changes to a "A" with a curved line under it, that looks something like this:

Left click and your text dialog box will appear.
Type in your tex, use these settings:
Milk Script, size: 36, colors of choice, vector and antilias checked, bold, centered.

Click ok and you have this now, text perfectly centered on your image:

Next click on your object selector tool:

Next, left click on your image, away from your text, to deselect it.
Go to your layer palette, click on the minus sign to show all on this layer.
Close off the Bezier layer (X it out).

Right click on the Happy Holidays layer.
Choose: Convert text to curves / a single shape.
Right click on your layer, choose: convert to raster layer.

Add your drop shadow, same as above.
Right click the top of your image, making sure the text layer is highlighted on your palette,
Right click your work area in PSP and paste as new image. Save as PSP image.
This will be used to propagate into AS into your animation.

You can now delete this layer off your Elf image.

To make your bottom curved text, repeat the above steps, with one exception.
When you do your second and third click, using the Draw Tool, you do them UNDER
the drawn line, as you want your curve to be reversed down.

Once you have your text made and saved as psp images, check your Elf image.
Making sure you only have two layers on it. Merged right and merged left,
in that order on your palette and that both layers are open.

Now to animate it :-)

Launch Animation Shop.

Click on Open Animation.

Find and open your saved Elf PSP image.
You should now have the 2 frames of your image in AS screen.

In AS left click your Elf image, to activate it, go to Edit/Propagate Paste, click it.
Then Edit/Select All, click it. Both frames should be highlighted in blue.

Note: I have had some people tell me that Select all and propagate paste does not
stay for them from step to step, so you may want to make sure it is checked
each time you do something. Do not know why this happens to some people
and not others, as it does not happen to me.

Next to give your animation a white background, go to Animation/Animations Properties
Click on the canvas color tab, put a dot in opaque, left click in color box, choose your color.
Click OK and you should have a white background in both Elf image frames.

Next open your Happy Holidays text image in AS.
Left click it to activate it, then left click and hold your mouse on
the image and drag it into your first frame of your Elf image.
While holding your left mouse down, position it where you want it, when happy, release your mouse.
This will place your image in both your frames, in the same position.

Repeat this step for the text you are using on this animation.

Do the same if you are adding a watermark, but I would add the water mark before the text.

There will probably be some excess around your image.
You can use your crop tool in AS to crop it off.

This is a large image so you will want to resize it.
Go to Animation / Resize Animation
Resize to 85% - bicubic resample
resizing a few times at 85%, versus going directly to 50%,
will give you a way better looking image
Click OK.
I resized quite a few times, after cropping the excess,
in the small tag below to get that size.

Frame #1 should be changed to 50 and frame #2 changed to 65.

Click on View Animation

If you are happy with it....

Go to File / Save As and save...

That's it! You are done:)

As with any siggy tag, this one has many possibilites, you can't help but to have fun with it :)


If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me at:

~ Donkadawn (tm)~

Donkadawn (tm) wrote this Tutorial on December 1st, 2005.
Any similarities with any other tutorial is purely coincidental.

Please feel free to share this tutorial by using a link to this page.
Please do not copy/paste this tutorial to any groups or claim this as your own.

The Elf tube was not made by me and is named as I received it,
please do not change the file name if you share them.

The Holly leaves were drawn by me from a design originally tubed by KAP.

Thank You for animating with me!!

Merry Christmas!!