(and proud of it)
Joined: 05 May 2004
|Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:56 pm Post subject:
|For starters, do you want to make a static or animated smiley?
You can use MS Paint for static smileys, just set an image size to a small range (like 16x16), zoom in to 8x and then draw a circle that touches all four borders of the area. Start painting with the Pencil tool. It's a little easier to get used to if you try playing around with existing (static) smiley images first (you should be able to copy the image directly from Firefox into Paint)
To make animated smileys, you'll definitely want something with layer capabilities, like GIMP. Draw each frame of animation as a separate layer. Generally speaking you'll want to duplicate one layer as you start working on a new frame so you can make tweaks to it instead of redrawing it from scratch every time.
In GIMP's case, for pixel sharpness you'll want the "Pencil" tool with the "Pixel (1x1 square)" brush. Other tools (like eraser) can be made pixel sharp by activating the tool's "Hard edge" mode.
To actually compile a GIF out of it you will also need something better than MS Paint because you'll have to convert the image to a custom RGB palette (GIFs can't handle true color), and use the eraser tool (at 100% opacity) to make the background (on all frames) transparent.
Once that's done you just save (or export) the file with a GIF filetype and/or extension. If you have several layers/frames GIMP gives you the option to save it as an animation, and also allows you to specify the default framerate and frame disposal ("combine" or "replace" -- both have their uses, but try "replace" for starters.)
GIMP also has an extension under Filters > Animation > Playback which allows you to preview a GIF animation using whatever framerate and frame disposal is specified per layer. To customize framerate or disposal, append "(###ms)", "(combine)", and/or "(replace)" to the layer name and GIMP will automatically recognize that.
Of course, it's easier to learn from experience. Try opening an animated GIF (like the "rolleyes" smiley) in GIMP and check out the structure of its animation frames to get a feel for how animations work.
Strata here: Nanowrimo - FAC - dA - FA
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