Animation Shop. This program was bundled with earlier versions of Paint Shop Pro; however, it is now purchased separately. You'll find the program here.
My pixel outline in psp format. You may download it here.
Optional: A mask for your image. You can use one of your preference, or if you'd like to use the same one as in my image, you'll find it here. It's "frame mask 3." Once you download the mask, place it in your PSP masks folder.
My color chart. Right click on it and save it to your computer.
My image is just a guide. Feel free to change the colors or add other effects to your liking. I put everything on its own layer (and name each one). That way you can easily go back and change colors later and correct any mistakes you've made. It makes a lot of layers, but it also keeps things organized and will save you a lot of heartache.
It makes it easier if you enlarge your graphic (use your magnifier tool) so you can see the pixels clearly. Feel free to save my images in this tut too, and enlarge them as necessary to see.
The basic procedure for each piece will be the same. You'll add a new layer. Set your brush size to 1 and paint the outline of the piece in a darker color and then paint the inside in a lighter color (Hint: to do the inside coloring, make the outline layer active, choose your magic wand and click inside the section you want to color - then apply the color on your new layer).
Step 1. Open up the pixel outline you downloaded. There are two layers - a background and the outline layer.
Open up the color chart you saved. Move it to the top of your graphic out of the way. When you need a color, just click on it with your dropper tool
Step 2. Here are the colors I've used for each section of the graphic.
Step 3. You can leave your image this way if you like. I decided to animate mine. If you're animating, continue on to Step 4.
Step 4. Turn all layers off except for the candy cane 1 pieces. Merge visible layers. Copy this layer to your clipboard (edit>copy). Now undo the merge (edit>undo). Now paste the copy as a new layer (edit>paste as new layer). Name this layer "1."
Repeat for the candy cane 2 pieces.Name this layer "2."
Step 5. Now you need to make another top for each of your candy canes. Add a new layer. Make a new top for candy cane 1, like this:
Step 6. Add a new layer and make a new top for candy cane 2, like this:
Step 7. Turn all layers off except for the candy cane 1 pieces. Merge visible layers. Name this layer "3."
Step 8. Repeat for candy cane 2. Name this layer "4."
You should now have 4 layers of merged candy canes - 2 red tops and 2 green tops. These are what the 4 layers should look like.
Step 9. Add a new layer. Paint or flood fill your text with a color of your choice. I've chosen white.
Now flood fill your background with black.
Step 10. I added a mask to my image, but you could leave it as is if you wish. Add a new layer. Go to layers>Load/Save Mask>Load Mask from Disk. Navigate to your masks folder and choose "prc frame mask3" (or a mask of your choice).
Your layers palette will look like this.
Make "raster 1" layer active. Flood fill with white. It should look like this.
Step 11. Turn all layers off except for the background, text, mask, 1, and 2. Turn your black outline layer on. Line up your candy canes with the outline. Turn the outline layer off.Merge visible layers. Copy this layer to the clipboard (edit>copy). Undo the merge (edit>undo). Paste the merged image as a new layer (edit>paste as a new layer). Name this layer "01."
Step 12. Repeat Step 11 for layers 3 and 4. Name the merged layer "02."
You should now have two merged layers, like this:
Step 13. Make layer 01active. Go to File>save as. Navigate to the location where you want to save your animation. Type in the name of the frame (I've named mine "01candy_pracken"). In the "Save as type" box, click on the arrow and navigate to GIF format. Click "save."
Turn layer 01 off and make layer 02 active. Save in gif format as above.
Step 14. Open Animation Shop. Click file>animation wizard.
You'll see all of your frames. To see what your animation looks like, click on the view animation icon, or you can click View>animation. When it's the way you want it, click File>save. The Optimization screen will appear, just leave the default settings (just click "Next" for each screen), and "Finish" at the end.
And you're all finished! Let me know if you experience any problems with the tut.