There are some cool new Creative Type Effects in PI6. The best thing about them though, is that Type Effects can be applied to static images and used to make editable key frame animations like this one!
What's more, Type Effects are not just for text -- they can be applied to Path, Image and Text objects.
In this tutorial we'll consider a few different Type Effect possibilities as a springboard for your own experimentation. To start with, let's make a simple animation in a new file about 350 pixels X 50 pixels. Select the Text tool and choose a font and font size. Font color and Mode (2D, 3D) don't matter because the Type Effect imposes its own attributes in this regard. Remember, since animations require many frames, the larger you make the text, the bigger the file size and the longer the download for visitors to your site. To keep the file size down, keep your text a modest size.
Click in the base image to open the Text Entry Box.
Note that the new PI6 Text Entry Box lets you format the text style, alignment, color and other attributes directly. Type in your text and click OK to close the dialog box.
While the text is active (surrounded by an animated broken line) select Effect, Creative, Type Effect to open its dialog box. From the Effect thumbnails, choose Fire. On the top right side of the dialog box are the effect's parameters. Leave these at the default values.
On the bottom right side of the dialog box are the Key frame controls. This preset animation has only two key frames, represented by the diamonds at the beginning and end of the animation timeline.
You can click on the preset animation's key frames and edit the Parameters of the effect at that point in the timeline. You can also click at any point on the slider control above the animation timeline and click the "Add key frame" button (+) to add a key frame, then edit its parameters. Similarly, you can click on a key frame diamond and click on the "Delete key frame" button (-) to remove a key frame from the animation. However, this preset animation is very effective, so let's leave it as it is.
Click the Play button to watch the animation in the Preview window. It will only play one time. Notice the flickering fire around the text! Now click on the Loop button, click Play and the animation will play in an endless loop. Click Stop to stop the animation.
To save the animation, click the Save button. Doing so will open the Save As dialog box.
Give the animation a name. In the "Save as type" section, Animated GIF Files is selected by default. If you look at the dropdown list, however, you'll see that you could also save the frames of the animation as a sequence of .BMP files. This latter option might be useful if you wanted to add something else to the animation frames later, like restoring the solid colored text to all 10 frames like I did further below on this page.
In the "GIF animation options" section at the bottom of the dialog box, note that the default is 256 colors, Infinite loop, a Frame delay time of 10/100ths of a second per frame, transparent background, dither and interlace. In addition to these defaults, select "Open with Ulead GIF Animator" to tweak the final file size. Now click Save.
When GIF Animator opens, you'll see that there are 10 frames to the animation. Click on the Optimize tab and you'll see that currently the animation file size is a little over 76 kb.
To make the file size as small as possible while staying with the Preset of GIF Optimized 256 colors, click "Optimize Now" (arrow). GIF Animator will automatically optimize the animation.
As you can see in the screen show above, the savings is a little over 10kb, bringing the animation down to a reasonable 66kb.
If file size still concerns you and you'd like to pare it down even more, choose Edit, Undo Optimize. Now you can click Wizard (or choose File, Optimization Wizard) to open the Optimization Wizard, in which you can try reducing the number of colors (and previewing the results) to further reduce file size. I did this to see what I could come up with, but reducing the colors to 128 resulted in only a 5kb savings in file size and the quality of the animation was not nearly as good. At 64 colors the animation looked (predictably) terrible. Instead, I opted to stay with the GIF Optimized 256 color results. To save the animation, choose File, Save and close down GIF Animator.
When you're returned back to the PI6 work space, consider your text once again. What if you just want to apply the flames to the text as a static image, not as an animation? That can be done with Type Effect too. While the text is active, choose Effect, Creative, Type Effect again. When the dialog box opens, select Fire again and leave the defaults.
Keeping an eye on the Preview window, drag the key frame slider to the different points along the timeline, until you find a fire effect you like. I liked Frame 7 (arrow).
Click the Still button at the bottom of the dialog box, then click OK. You'll see the Frame 7 text effect in the base image. It will be an active object.
If you like the way it looks, right click, Merge and save the image as it is. If you'd prefer to have the solid colored text in the middle of the fire, simply copy the text into the Clipboard before you apply the effect, then paste it back into the image after you make the fire, so you end up with this.
As I noted earlier in this tutorial, you can save a Type Effect animation as a sequence of .BMP images instead of saving as an animated GIF. For example, you might want to have solid colored text in the middle of the animated fire text, like this.
After doing so, you must open each frame up in PI6, then type the text in again. Drag it to the center of the fire Type Effect. While the text is active, right click and choose Properties to open the Object Properties box. Click the Size & Position tab and note the coordinates of the text when it's centered over the fire. In this case, it's Left 22, Top 21. Click OK to close the dialog box.
Copy the text to the Clipboard, then right click, Merge and File, Save. Open the second .BMP frame image and paste the text into it. Right click, choose Properties to open the Object Properties box. From the Size & Position tab, enter values of 22 for Left position, and 21 for Top Position, then click OK.
Now you know the text will be in the exact same place in Frame 1 and Frame 2. Right click, Merge and Save. Continue for the remaining frames. Then open GIF Animator by clicking "Switch" in the upper right corner of the PI work space. Select Animation Wizard, add the .BMP frames and assemble as usual.
Remember that you can apply Type Effects to Path and Image objects too.
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