PI8 Creative Transform Animation

mouse balloon animationThe Creative Transform templates have been moved in the Effect menu to the new Distort category. Its dialog box has been enlarged and the options have been significantly improved. In addition to static image distortions, you can now create animations right in the work space, without even having to open GIF Animator.

I've created a very simple animation from this cat and mouse image, made from one of my PI7 stamp objects.

cat image

Choose Effect, Distort, Creative Transform to open the dialog box. On the left side are transformation Templates. You can see the results of a selected Template and its attributes in the Preview window.

Here's how animations are created. At the bottom of the dialog box is a Storyboard with one thumbnail for the unedited image. To create an animation, select a Template then paint on the image in the Preview window. On the right side, notice the "Transformation control" section, in which you can edit the selected Template's effect. After applying a Template, click the plus (+) button to "Insert story." Doing so will add an effect to the animation. Click thumbnails in the Storyboard to select and Delete using the minus (-) "Delete story" button.

creative transform templates

In the "Solid area" section on the bottom left of the dialog box, you'll see a plus (+) and a minus (-) button, with a red mask color box. This feature lets you paint a mask over parts of the image. Add to the mask with the plus button, and subtract from it with the minus button. Masked areas are excluded from the selected Template's effect. This permits you to apply the effect only to the unmasked area, avoiding distortion in other areas.

In this animation, I want the cat to blow up the mouse like a balloon, then as the balloon deflates, his eyes will get smaller. Since I don't want the entire cat to be distorted, I selected the plus button and painted the mask over the entire image with the default Brush size of 50. I changed to the minus button and clicked over the mouse to remove that part of the mask. Then I edited the Brush size to 25 to paint over the cat's eyes.

paint on the mask

After painting the mask, click the plus or minus button to make sure both are deselected. Deselect the eye button to "Show/hide solid area" (the mask).

Select the Punch Template and edit the Brush size back to 50. Because the Brush size had been edited while painting the mask, the plus button will be selected automatically. It's very important to deselect the plus or minus buttons before painting on the image. If you don't, you'll just be adding to or subtracting from the mask.

Position your cursor exactly centered over the mouse. Press down on the mouse button without moving the brush, until the mouse blows up like a balloon. Note that the only part of the image that is distorted is the mouse and the area that wasn't masked around it.

punch out mouse balloon

In the Storyboard area, click the plus button to add a thumbnail for this effect to the animation.

add to storyboard

Click the Reset button to restore the image to its original state in the Preview window. Select the Pinch Template (right above Punch). Edit the Brush size to 25. As soon as you edit the Brush size, the plus button will be selected -- deselect it. Then position the brush over the cat's eyes. Press down on the mouse button without moving the brush to make the eyes get a lot smaller. He'll look kind of cross-eyed.

pinch template on eyes

In the Storyboard area, click the plus button to add a thumbnail for this effect to the animation. Now you've got three thumbnails in the Storyboard. Select the "Loop animation" option (circled) in the Storyboard.

Notice that although there are only three thumbnails in the Storyboard, there are going to be 10 frames in this animation. PI8 will automatically "tween," creating new frames between these thumbnails for a smoother animation. However, you may edit the number of frames to fewer to create a smaller animation. I'm leaving mine at the default of 10 frames.

Click the Play button (right-facing arrow) to watch the animation play in the Preview window. Click the Stop button (square) to stop playing it. If you're not satisfied with the animation, select a thumbnail from the Storyboard and Delete it with the minus button, then continue editing. You can drag the thumbnails in the Storyboard around to change their order.

When you're satisfied with the animation, click the Save button. Doing so will open the Save As dialog box.

save as dialog box options

Browse to a folder and give the animation a name. Notice the "GIF animation options" section at the bottom of the dialog box. A number of these options are selected by default. You can deselect these if you wish to do so, edit the "Frame delay" time, create a Transparent background, etc. to suit your own needs. Also note that you can select to "Open with Ulead GIF Animator" if you want to tweak the animation further in that program.

Click Save and you're done. Now you can use the animated GIF on a web page.

It's important to point out that the Creative Transform effects can also be applied to static images. To do so, apply an effect and then just click OK. That's how I made the After photo of a tiger have much larger eyes.

unedited image

punch template applied


This tutorial uploaded 9/30/02

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