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Maybe I Can Teach You How To Make Animated Avatar

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Requirements for this tutorial:
1) Adobe ImageReady
2) Virtual Dub
3) Internet Explorer 5+
4) A minor knowledge of the windows interface
5) Avatars are 100 pixels wide and 51200 bytes max

Seting up:
1) Make a folder in which you will do all your work in.
2) Make a folder called DONE in which you will save your completed Gifs to
3) I made a separate folder for each character I do and a misc folder each with its own DONE folder for compiled Gifs

Capturing your screenshots: (Virtual Dub)
1) Open the episode you want
2) Press control+g or Edit--->Go to.
3) Use Jump frame at time: XX:XX:XX
First XX are minutes, second XX are seconds, XX are fractional seconds (dont worry about this one)
5) Go to the first frame of the scene you want to capture and press the MARK IN button.
(At the bottom of the screen the last set of buttons to the right, a black left and right arrow)
6) Go to the last frame of your scene and press the MARK OUT button kinds looks like _>
7)File -----> Save image sequence
Cool Choose the location of the folder you made before.
9) Set number of digits to 3, just to be safe (the number of digits wont affect anything but if you only choose 1 digit and your animation numbers in double digits you will get problems later on)
10) Name the files and push OK
11) Wait for it to save your screnshots (the little window in the middle of the window will disappear when its done.

ImageReady:
1) Open ImageReady
2) File -----> Import ------> Folder as frames
3) Choose the folder you saved your screenshots to
4) It will load all the pics in order as frames
5) Image ------> Image size
6) Change width to 100, most likely its on 640
7) If you save it as it is now the file will be the right dimensions and you will have an animated gif but it will most likely be too big, you might also want to do some more editing.
Cool At the bottom of the screen there is a wide window that has all the frames in separate thumbs.
9) Delete frames to decrease file size
10) If you select a frame and select the new frame button under the thumbs it will make a new frame and in it will be the same pic as the one you had selected before (usefull for loops)
11) Also use the rectangular marquee to select the area you want to show if you want to show a certain part.
12) Image ------> Crop.
13) Cropping and deleting frames (click image then trash can) really makes your gif smaller
14) If you did that and its still too big, make your width smaller, try not to go under 75 then it gets too small and hard to see.
15) Crop BEFORE sizing down to 100
16) When your done go to File ------> Save Optimized Image As
17) Save it in your DONE folder.[/color]

Useful Tip
Custom Actions:
This is one of my favorite features about ImageReady. You can basically have the program "remember" what you do, sort of like teaching it how to do things. I use this to have it "remember" how I did my borders so I can just click the play button and it will do it automatically for me, its very useful and saves you a lot of time:

Locate the window that has "Layers" tab in it

1) Click on the "Actions" tab, to the right of the "History" tab.

2) Click the "Create new action" button. It looks just like the new layer button.

3) Name it, when you press enter you will see a red dot (recording)

4) Just about anything you do will be recorded, make a border and hit the stop button. (to the right of the red dot and the left of the "Create new action" button.

5) Thats all there is to it! Now when you click the play button, it will imitate exactly what you recorded, performing each step in sequential order. click the ">" and it will drop down all the actions it does. You can alter each action to adjust it.

I made an action for "1 Pixel Black Border" "2 Pixel Black Border" "1 Pixel Foreground color" and so on. This REALLY saves you alot of time. I also made one for the Auto levels/contrast feature. I selected layers and did it like 50 times, doing the process to layer 1, clicking the layer above it and doing the same process again, untill I hit a large number of layers. Now instead of doing Auto levels/contrast to every layer I just click play on this bad boy and usually the whole animation gets done in a second, a miracle action


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