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.
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, apply cutouts or not, 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).
I've applied a cutout to some pieces, usually using the same color as its outline color. To apply the cutout, select and float the selection (selections>select all>selections>float). You'll see the marquee ("marching ants") around the selection. Apply a cutout (effects>3d effects>cutout), using the settings in the screenshot (the shadow color will change for each selection). For some items, I repeated the cutout, changing the horizontal and vertical to -1 instead. Just play with the settings, it's a bit of a personal preference.
[Hint: When you're going to add a cutout, set your foreground or background color to the shadow color you're going to use. Then, when you apply your cutout, just right click on the shadow color box and choose the color from the recent colors displayed there.]
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. along with the color charts for each.
Step 5. You'll need to make some images with snow on them. Decide where you want your snow to fall and how many layers you'll need. Then make duplicates of your layer, as many as you need - I have a total of 10 images, so I made 9 duplicated layers. Name these layers 1 - 10, starting from the bottom layer and working up.
Now you're ready to draw your snowflakes. Start with layer #1. Draw a snowflake somewhere near the top of your image. To make the snowflake, just choose your paintbrush and set the size to 1. Paint a white square 2 pixel by 2 pixels on each side, like this.
Hide this layer and make the next layer active (layer #2) Draw another snowflake in a location you wish. You want the snow to go lower each time so it looks as though it's falling. Now just continue making snowflakes on each of your layers, in order. Here are how my individual layers look, in order [Note: the screenshots below are just clipped sections of each layer, to show the placement of the snowflake. Your image will be full].
Step 6. Now you need to save each layer as a separate image (each one will be a separate frame in your animation).
Hide all layers (layers>view none). Now make layer 1 active. 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 numbered mine sequentially. This first one is named "01fuzzy_pracken." You can name yours whatever you wish, but you'll need to keep them in order to do the animation). In the "Save as type" box, click on the arrow and navigate to GIF format. Click "save."
Hide layer 1 and make layer 2 active. Save in gif format as above. Now just continue on in this fashion until you have all 10 of the layers saved as separate images.
Step 7. 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.