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 4. If you're animating, delete the outline layer and the background layer. Hide the color chart. Merge visible layers. You should now have two layers: the merged window and a color chart. [Note: I wanted my background transparent, but if you prefer, you could make yours on white, just merge the background with the image].
You can animate whatever elements you like in your image. I decided to do the flame and add some snowflakes.
Step 5. First, you'll need another frame for the flame. Duplicate your merged window layer. Add a new layer and paint a yellow flame, using color #13. Hide your original window. Merge visible layers. You can also now delete the color chart since you're done with it. You should now have two window layers: one with an orange flame and one with a yellow flame.
Step 6. Next, you need to make some snow layers. Decide where you want your snow to fall and how many layers you'll need. You're going to duplicate your orange and yellow flame layers and add snowflakes. Go ahead and make 5 duplicates of the orange flame layer and 5 duplicates of the yellow flame layer.
Now arrange your layers, starting with orange at the bottom (name it "1") yellow next (name it "2"), then orange (name it "3"), and so forth. You should have a total of 12 layers.
Now you're ready to draw your snowflakes. Start with layer #1, which should be an orange flame layer. 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 4 dots of color. Here's mine.
Make layer 2 active (yellow flame). Draw another flake, similar to mine.
Make layer 3 active (orange flame). Draw flakes similar to mine.
Now just continue on until you've added flakes to each of your layers. Here are mine, in order.
Step 7. Now you need to save each layer in .gif format. Each one will be a frame in your animation. Make layer #1 active.Go to File>Export>Gif Optimizer. Use the settings in the screenshot.
Name the image "1." Save each of the remaining layers the same way. When done, you should have 12 gif images.
Step 8. 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 window will appear, just leave the default settings (just click "Next" for each screen), and "Finish" at the end.
And that's it. Whew! Did you make it to the end? Congratulations! It sounds worse than it actually is, right? *grin* Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!