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02 August 2007 @ 07:07 pm
Post #51: Tutorial: Mini-Movie Icons  
This is a tutorial I wrote for java_junkies about how to make animated icons. In it, I'll show you how to get frame-by-frame screencaps and how to turn them into something like this:

First things first. To make an animated icon, you need your screencaps, and that means you need to know how to cap frame-by-frame.

Getting your screencaps

To get my frame-by-frame caps, I use a program called “VLC Player.” It’s free and works on just about every operating system known to man, and will cap almost every file format you can think of. You can download a free copy of it here.

Open the program and click Settings > Preferences (for Windows users) or VLC > Preferences (for Mac users). Click on the video tab and then click “Advanced” (Mac) or “Advanced Options” (Windows) at the bottom of the screen. Now, click the + sign next to “Video” (Windows) or the arrow (Mac). You should now see three options: “Output Modules” “Filters” and “Subtitles”. Make sure your screen looks like this:

Click the + or the arrow next to “Output Modules” and then click “Image File”. Make sure your screen looks like this (especially the “recording ratio”):

Click save. Now, open your video clip that you want frame-by-frame caps of. If it doesn’t start automatically playing, press play. Don’t worry if you can’t see any video. You’re not supposed to. This is what my VLC player looks like while it’s capping something:

Now, VLC has a tendency to only save screencaptures directly to my harddrive, so for Mac users, you’d just open up “Macintosh HD”. For Windows Users, try your harddrive as well. I’ve tried telling it to save them to other places, but if VLC has one flaw, it’s that it simply won’t do it for me, so they should be on your harddrive folder.

What you should have now is a series of screencaptures named “000000.png” “000001.png” etc, and they should be frame-by-frame.

Getting ready to animate

Now, usually the most I can fit in a mini-movie icon is roughly 27 frames. Sometimes it can be less than that, but 27 is what I usually start with. So what I’ve done is pick out the frames I want to use. Open them in Photoshop.

Now, it’s time to create the base for your icon. Personally, I like mine fairly plain; this allows for more frames. This is mine:

All I did was draw little corners, and then put a gray square (#b1b1b1) in the center, so that there will be a small border around my animation on my finished product.

Now you’re ready to start adding your screencaps.

For this animation, I’ll be using the entire cap instead of just a portion of it, so we won’t be cropping.

Resize all of your screencaptures to the size you’d like them to be. For mine, I’m resizing them to 67x38.

Now, if your caps, like mine, look a bit dark at that size, then simply duplicate them and set the top layer to screen. Merge down.

Okay. Now you’ve got all your caps at 67x38 and bright enough to use. Start with the first frame and paste it as a new layer onto your base. Then paste the second on top of that, also as a new layer. Keep going until all your caps are pasted one on top of the other on your base. If you want text to appear at the end of your icon, like on mine, add a new layer, select the area currently inhabited by the top frame, and fill it with white, so that now you have a plain white icon again (or in my case, plain white with the four gray corners I drew earlier). Now add your text.

Now you should have something like 30 layers or so (could be less, could be more, but the point is that there’s your base, then one layer for each frame). Now, see that little button that looks like this:

Click it. Image Ready opens, and just like magic, it has moved the icon into IR.

Now, here we go. See that little button that looks like an eyeball next to each layer?

Click it and it disappears. What you’re doing is hiding layers. You want to hide all of them except for your base and your first frame. Whatever you leave showing will be the first frame of your icon, so anything you want hidden, click that eyeball.

On the animation toolbar, there is a button for duplicating frames. It looks like a square with its corner turned up. Click it.

Now go back down to your second frame and click the eyeball next to it to un-hide it. Click the frame duplication button again. Un-hide the third frame, click the frame duplication button. And so on and so forth until all your image frames are revealed and the only thing left hidden is your white box & text.

Un-hide those, but set the text layer & the white box layer to 33% opacity. Click duplicate frame. Set the text & white box to 66% opacity, click duplicate frame. Finally, set the text and white box to 100%. DON’T click duplicate frame this time.

Now you need to set your frame delay. See those numbers beneath each frame? Change them to how fast or slow you want your animation to move. For mine, I set each image frame to .1 second, the 33% and 66% opacity frames to .04 second, and the final frame with the text showing at 1 second.

Make sure your optimized box looks like this:

Now go to file, save optimized as, and pick where you want to save it, and under what name. Now, LJ only lets you have up to 40 KB per icon, so check to see if your icon is over 40 KB. Right now, mine is 64 KB, which is over the limit. Don’t worry, we can lower the file size. Go back to that optimized box, and where it says “256” change it to “128”. Now re-save just as you did before, and check the file size now. Mine is still 48 KB. Again, don’t worry! Change the “128” to “64”. There. Now my icon is exactly 40 KB. What changing that number does is affect how grainy the picture is. The lower you take it, the grainier it gets. You can usually have a decent-looking icon at "64," but once you get lower than “64,” it tends to just look bad, so “64” is as low as I usually take it. If it’s still too big, then I’ll delete a few frames until I get it down under 40 KB. The less frames you have, the less you’ll have to do to adjust the file size downward, though. For example, a 10 frame animation is usually fine at “256.”

So now I’ve got my finished product:

And it’s that simple! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. :)
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 2nd, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I will try this out tomorrow.
Thank you again.;)
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 2nd, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
No problem. Always happy to help. :)
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
ok, I have start to follow this now, and i have done the installation part of it.
I have come to the "Click save" part, and i open up the clip, and I saw it, but you said that it won´t, but nothings happens, the program dosen´t do any caps :( Mine does not look like yours.
What is wrong? I might have a Curse on this animations stuff.:( :)

(Sorry for my english, it´s not my first language)
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
Hmm...the important part to get it to cap is to make sure you've changed the recording ratio to "1". If you're having issues, then this post might help you. It's more detailed than mine was, and it shows you what it should look like if you're on a Windows computer (mine is a Mac, so even though it's basically the same, the interface looks a little different).

If that doesn't help, I'll try to give more detailed instructions.
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
ok, that helped me little, now i can´t see the video playing, only hear it.
but now i don´t know if the program are caping my clip. I can´t found the caps anywhere
if so.
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
Okay, if the sound is playing but the video isn't, then it's capping. Now, like I said, it usually saves them to your hard drive. I think for Windows users you go to My Computer, and there's your C: drive, and that should be it (or D drive...it varies). If you can't find them there, then I suggest using the search function on your computer. Start > Search, and search for something like "000000.png" see if that returns any results. Because it IS capping the file if you've got sound but no video.
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
I can´t find them, I have search everything..:(
Chloiego_clo on August 3rd, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
If you are having problems with that cap program, try THIS program. The tutorial attached to the link explains everything. The program is very easy to use and you can see the video while it's capping. I just recently started using it and it works well, I'd recommend you try it and then just continue one with the rest of the tut. :)
redact it! - guest_age on August 3rd, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
Chloie: pic#63966579go_clo on August 3rd, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)
Awesome tut!! + Mems! XD
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
I hope it's useful! :)
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
I tried the other program, and it worked, but the caps isn´t in good quality.
I did one icon, but it didn´t came out good, so i tried one bigger animation.
I liked it.:) and yeah, one question, how does I make the size of the caps without cropping them?

But thanks for the tut.
Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai Horoscopeguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm...if the caps aren't as good of quality as the original file you're capping was, then I'd suggest looking into the A) file format (.jpg isn't as good as .png, for instance) and also file size/quality, because it may be set to try and get a small file size, which means less quality for caps.

To resize in Photoshop, you go to image > image size. Then you can tell it how large or small you want each cap to be.

Great job on the animation! I'm glad I was able to help a bit! :)
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
ok, thanks.

I know that, but if i want the size 67x38, and starting to write 67 and then it changes it self in the other space, where it should stand 38, and if I changes that one, then the first changes again.


btw, I hope too see more LL or GG animations from you, i just love them.;)
Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai Dancingguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay! I understand what you mean now! You're talking about aspect ratio.

Okay. That I can explain. You know how your TV screen is almost square? That's because it has an aspect ratio of 4:3. What that means is that for every 4 pixels wide it is, it's three pixels tall. Most TV shows are in that aspect ratio, meaning that their picture is 4:3 as well, so that they'll fit on your TV. But some shows film in other aspect ratios, such as 14:9 which is what's known as "widescreen" (where as 4:3 is "full screen"). The Gilmore Girls caps that I was working with were widescreen, so when I resized them to 67 wide, 38 comes up automatically as how tall they should be. If your caps are in a different aspect ratio than mine (which it looks like they are) then when you put in "67" for width, it's likely to be a different number for height, because of the aspect ratio. if you try to make it 67x38 when it's not supposed to be, your picture will come out looking all squished and icky looking.

It's okay if you don't have 67x38 exactly. Just put in how wide you want the picture to be, and it'll tell you how tall it should be.

Did that help?

(Sorry I answered the wrong question the first time. I was confused about what you were asking, but I get it now! :) )

I'll try to do more. I ended up deleting each episode of GG I watched off of my hard drive as soon as I'd finished watching it, so the only episodes I have left are 4x20, 4x22, 5x03, 7x20, and 7x22. If I want to make more, I'll have to re-download the episodes again. I'll try, though. There are a few moments, looking back, that I want to do...the one that pops into my head is when Luke cried at Rory's graduation from Chilton, because that was just too funny and sweet!
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
oh, ok. i didn´t know that.:) it came out 67*50 when i did that now.

It´s ok, i´m not that good to try explain something, + in a language that´s not my first.:)

oh, yea, that episode was so sweet, with Luke and Rory.
but i did´n mean that you have to do some right now,
i meant in the future or something.;)No stress, okey. :D

Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai Final Kissguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
That sounds about right! You can make them any size you want them, as long as it looks right to you. 67x38 is just my preferred size for some reason. I even crop caps down to that when they're not.

I wish I could afford the DVDs...then I'd make icons of ALL the good episodes! There were so many! Especially in season 4...I wish I still had 4x19 when Luke pictures Lorelai's face. That was AWESOME. :)
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
ok, I will try this out soon again.:)

Oh, that one was so great, i loved it.:)
I have seasons 1-6 on dvd, but i don´t have that epi in my computer,
if I had it I could send it to you.

Thanks for all the help btw. YOU are awesome.;)
Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai Great First Dateguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
I think I nearly shouted myself hoarse when he said "Woah." It was just SO PERFECT. And then him asking her to the wedding and then on a date and then the shouting match on the season 4 finale where he's like "I'm not a complicated man, am I?" That was just PERFECT.

Oh, dear, now I want to rewatch it all again, and I don't have the episodes anymore! Maybe I can ask for them for a Christmas gift or something. :)

You're welcome! I'm just happy to help! :)
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
I´m with you on that.;) Gilmore girls has many great moments, and funny moments.:D
And i loved it when I saw the pilot, and has loved it since then.

hehe, yea, I want to see all the episodes again too..it´s so great.:)
And I think you should ask for GG boxes for christmas, the perfect gift.;)
Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai I Will Always Love Youguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
I was actually shocked at how I ended up liking it. I expected to only be interested in Rory's storylines and not care about Lorelai, but by the end of the pilot, I was more into Lorelai than Rory. And I never liked Paris at first, but then Doyle came along, and I ended up loving her and him.

Everything I thought I wouldn't like, I ended up loving, and everything I thought I would like, I ended up loving that, too, lol. The show was just that good.

Stupid CW. They always cancel their good shows.
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
Interesting :D I liked them all, but if i have to choose one to hate, it will be Taylor, but he´s great to in his weird kinda way.*lol* I did´n know who everyone was as an actor before i saw this show, and I begin loving Lauren Graham, she´s an amazing acress. and of course Scott Patterson. He´s Awesome.

yea, i´m with you on that too. Stupid CW..WHY?? *lol*

Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai No Textguest_age on August 3rd, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
I wanted to watch it in the first place because Danny Strong, Adam Brody, & Jared Padalecki were on it, but man, was I surprised with how awesome it all was!

Scott Patterson is like...AMAZING. He & Lauren are definitely the two that wow me with their talent. SO AWESOME.
java_junkiesjava_junkies on August 3rd, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
oh, I forgot to post this.:)

My second try to an icon
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Lorelai Show Them the Horoscope!guest_age on August 3rd, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
That's so fantastic! You did a wonderful job! I knew you could do it! They're simple once you get the hang of things! :)
Piri-Piri: Über cuteahn_tehk_see on August 10th, 2007 09:07 am (UTC)
Very good tutorial!
I'm adding this to mems so I can try out it later. ;D
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 09:15 am (UTC)
Hope you find it helpful! :)
(Deleted comment)
Buffay the Vampyre Layer: GG Luke/Lorelai Dancingguest_age on August 10th, 2007 11:06 am (UTC)
Hope you find it helpful! :)
sassy7sassy7 on August 10th, 2007 11:17 am (UTC)
Hopefully someone will translate to PS7...

thanks for work
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
No problem. :)
miyazaki_fairymiyazaki_fairy on August 10th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
do we click open quick file or open cature device? :)
miyazaki_fairymiyazaki_fairy on August 10th, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
oh and how do we resize all the picture to the same size?
redact it! - guest_age on August 10th, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
redact it! - guest_age on August 10th, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Licheapwhoresex on August 10th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
First great tut and adding to mems!
After trying and trying for hours I finally did it but I still think I did something wrong, my icon wont start over and over and over. (It's very fast because I didn't use a lot of caps, I just wanted to try it out first and I can be confused when I have too many caps in the beginnin' :P)

This is a screencap after I finished. (I can't change the 0,1 to .1 maby that's the problem)
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
Okay, under your first frame on your animation toolbar there at the bottom, see where it says "Once"? Change that to "Forever". You've got it set to loop only once, and it needs to be set to loop forever.
redact it! - cheapwhoresex on August 10th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
redact it! - guest_age on August 10th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
the world is fading i'm here when you start shakin: busy girlfamous_divaxo on August 10th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
oh wow your VCL is very newish haha
I might have to update mine then. ..
I have been looking for something like thsi for PSCS2!
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
I've had mine for awhile. Maybe it looks different because mine is a Mac version?

You're welcome. :)
redact it! - famous_divaxo on August 10th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
redact it! - guest_age on August 10th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Screened comment)
redact it! - guest_age on August 14th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
redact it! - famous_divaxo on August 14th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
redact it! - guest_age on August 14th, 2007 07:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
ex_frenchtwi834 on August 10th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
This is a great tutorial! I have one question, though. Can I use VLC to make screencaps of a DVD? Thanks so much!
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
I've never tried it, but it has an option to open DVDs, so in theory, yes. If you were going to cap a whole DVD though, I'd reccomend you change the recording ratio, because 1 means it caps every single frames. As there are 24 frames in a second, an entire DVD is going to have a LOT of frames. LoL. :)
マイカ: L`Arckahel16 on August 10th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
+mems for future reference, will try this out sometime ^^
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Hope you find it helpful! :)
rohan: CP - Wedding grinrohan1208 on August 10th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
8DDD Thank you so much for this! I was looking for a tut that would show this and then BAM you're here! Much Thanks!
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Hope you find it helpful! :)
ippai_kitai on August 10th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Good job!

But do you have to rip the DVD and will you need one of those DVD drive things?
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Question!
You have to have at least a DVD drive (if you can watch DVDs on your computer, then you have it), and there are different methods to rip. It depends on your operating system, your desired output format, and a thousand other things. Personally, I'm on a Mac and I use Handbreak to rip to .mp4, but you might need different settings. I'd suggest checking out vidding for some tutorials on ripping. Alternately, you can download what you want the caps of via torrents.
I refuse to give up my obsession: Spike thumbs upendlessdeep on August 10th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
Put this in my memories. Thanks. :)
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
HOpe you find it helpful!
  俺 skull kid: 左迅/volc -   by creepy31creepy31 on August 10th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
ohh thank you so much, i know all of the tutorial's steps
but i don't know how reduce the size of the icon.
now i know, thanks!! yay sugoi.
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 10th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
It took me awhile to figure it out, too, lol. :)
redact it! - creepy31 on August 10th, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lizrubbaduckie06 on August 11th, 2007 04:22 am (UTC)
Adding to my memories for later :) Thank you!
Buffay the Vampyre Layerguest_age on August 11th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
Hope you find it helpful! :)