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 or add other effects to your liking. I put each part 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. Copy it and paste as a new layer onto your canvas. 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. Hide your color chart and merge visible layers (name it "01"). You can leave your image like this, or if you want to animate it, move on to Step 4.
Step 4. Now you need to make some more lights for your animation.
Make 5 duplicates of layer "01." Turn layer 01 off and 4 of the duplicated layers.
I've numbered the lights for you, starting with the left side.
Add a new layer. Starting with light #1, make a yellow light (use the same colors as above). Merge the yellow light layer and the duplicate of layer 01. Name this layer "02."
Turn all layers off. Turn one of the duplicated layer 01 layers on. Add a new layer. Add a new layer. Go to light #2 and make it blue. Merge visible. Name this layer 03.
Continue this way through all the lights. Here are the colors for each:
When done, you should have 6 layers.Turn all layers off.
Step 5. Turn layer 01 on. 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 "01snowman_pracken"). In the "Save as type" box, click on the arrow and navigate to GIF format. Click "save."
Turn layer 01 off and turn layer 02 on. Save in gif format as above.
Continue on through all of your layers. You should have 6 gif files now.
Step 6. 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.