Monday, May 4, 2009

Butterfly Writer

You can use your imagination with the writers - almost anything can be a pen. You can use the rotate function or the deform tool to orientate an object to be a pen.

This is how I make the butterfly writer signatures. Anyone who wants to give it a go is most welcome to and feel free to ask any questions.

You will need

* Paint Shop Pro (or suitable substitute)<
* Animation Shop >
* Butterfly Preset shape of choice
* Gold pattern tile
* A selection of gradients (google free psp gradients)


Download and install butterfly shapes (extract to preset shapes folder in PSP or whatever folder you use for shapes).

Open Paint Shop Pro. New - 500 x 500 with transparent background. Select a gradient as your background colour and choose gold or a dark colour for your foreground colour. Click on your preset shapes tool and select one of the butterfly patterns you have downloaded. Draw out the butterfly as a vector (you don't have to fill the whole space). Convert to raster layer then merge visible. Use control C then control V to trim your butterfly down. Resize to approximately 30 pixels wide and save as an animation shop .psp file.

New 500 x 500 white background. Use same foreground and background colours/gradients. Select text tool. Choose a font and set the size to 48 (some fonts may need to be made bigger). Type in the name your writer is going to make. Use an effect to jazz up your text - avoid drop shadow as it is too hard to clean up later. Use the selection tool to crop your canvas (Image - crop to selection) but leave yourself plenty of room to work with. Save as an animation shop .psp file.

Open Animation Shop and open the butterfly and name files you have just created.

Click on the name file and use the Duplication tool to copy a frame for each letter and one extra for the finished name. In this case I need seven frames. If you end up with extra frames they can be deleted later.

Click on the arrow tool and select the butterfly file. Edit - copy. Select the name file and click on the first frame. Click Paste Into Selected Frame and place butterfly at the end of the name as if it has finished writing. DO NOT LET GO OF MOUSE BUTTON OR BUTTERFLY IS PASTED IN. Use undo to fix this.

Select Animation (from menu bar) - frame properties and change to 90.

Select frame 2. Select paint brush and set colour to white (or same as your background) and size to 10 (you can change the size to whatever you are comfortable with). Carefully paint over all the letters, leaving only the first. It helps to make the frame larger so you can see the detail easily.

Select arrow. Select frame 3. Paint out all letters except for the first 2. Select arrow. Select frame 4. Paint out all letters except for the first 3. Continue until you have a frame with the full name. Use the arrow to select any extra frames and press delete key.

Select frame 2. Calculate how many points your butterfly will stop at to write the letter (a minimum of 3 stops per letter) and duplicate frame 2 to get the required extra number of frames. Carefully paint over the parts of the letter not required and delete any extra frames out. At each frame, paste the butterfly into the frame at the end of the writing. You will need to use the arrow to select each frame before pasting the butterfly in.

Repeat for each letter. "I" can be dotted as the letter is done or left until the end (personal preference) BUT if you opt for dotting at the end make sure you have erased the dot on all previous frames.

Use the crop tool to reduce the wasted background in your gif (you can move each side of the crop box as required). Flick through the animation frame by frame to make sure you have not cut out any bits then click crop. Select View from menu bar then animation. to make sure you are happy with it.

File - Save As - name.gif and your finished product should look something like this

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