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There are two ways to make animated avatars. You can either (a) make one out of pictures or (b) out of a movie scene. I'll explain it both to you.

Let's start with the first variant:
Make an animated avatar out of pictures

You need:
- Gimp
(- the picture(s) you want to animate - not necessary if you want to create an own animated picture.)

Step 1:
Open Gimp and open the picture(s) you want to animate.
If you want to create an own animation, click "File" -> "New File", so that Gimp will open a plain white quadrangle. Here, you can now draw the picture you want your animation to start with, using the Pencil or the Paintbrush from the "Toolbox" on the left side.

Step 2:
The picture(s) should not be larger than 100 x 100 px, otherwise it won't work. If a picture is too large, click "Layer" -> "Level scaling" and choose a size that is not larger than 100 x 100 px. Afterwards, click "Image" -> "Canvas to Layers" or click "Image" -> "Screen Size" to choose the size yourself.

Step 3:
To make the picture(s) move, we need different layers.
If you already have multiple pictures and you want them to be shown one after the other in the end, just go on to Step 3.
If you have only one picture and you want to make it move, rightclick on the layer in the toolbox "Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo" and click "Duplicate Layer". Now you have copied the picture and can edit the copy, e.g. drag it a bit to the left or to the right to make it move.
Repeat this step as often as you like. The more pictures you have in the end, the smoother the movement will look.

Step 4:
Take a look at the toolbox on the right side named "Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo". Here you see the different layers. The layer on the bottom will be shown first, then the layer on top of it, and so on. Just arrange the pictures per drag-and-drop into the right order.

Step 5:
To save the file, click "File" -> "Save as". Give the picture a name and make sure to replace the ending (which will probably be ".xcf") with ".gif". This is very important, because otherwise it won't work!
Now click "Save". A new window will appear. Here you have to click "Save as Animation". Then click "Export".
Again, a new window will appear. Here, you can choose the speed of how fast the pictures will be shown one after the other. It's up to you which speed you choose here.

Step 6:
Done! Now you can upload your new animated picture everywhere, even use it as an avatar.
This is what I did - just take a look at my avatar and you see the result.


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Let's go on to the second variant:
Make an animated avatar out of a movie scene

You need:
- A movie scene of your choice
- if the movie scene is longer than 4 seconds: a video program such as Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas, or an online video editing tool
- this link: http://www.evanolds.com/movtogifsimple.html 
- Gimp

Step 1:
Open the video program / online video editing tool and open the movie scene you want to use. Cut it short to about 4 seconds. Then render it to a regular video format such as ".avi", ".wmv" or ".mpeg".

Step 2:
Now click on the link and download the program "MovieToAGif.exe". Open the program, open the short movie scene and convert it to a Gif (Gif = animated picture).

Step 3:
Now you can of course open the animated Gif-picture in Gimp, e.g. to edit or resize it if it's too large. Moreover, you should make sure that your Gif consists of max. 6 Layers. If there are too many, just rightclick on the Layer in the toolbox "Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo" and then click "Delete Layer".

Step 4:
In the end, don't forget to save your Gif: 
Click "File" -> "Save as". Give the picture a name and make sure that the ending is ".gif". This is very important, because otherwise it won't work!
Now click "Save". A new window will appear. Here you have to click "Save as Animation". Then click "Export".
Again, a new window will appear. Here, you can choose the speed of how fast the pictures will be shown one after the other. It's up to you which speed you choose here.

Step 5:
Done! :D Now this was quite easy, wasn't it? :)


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I hope my tutorials work. Let me know if they helped you! :)

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
awieatti
Oct. 25th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
Btw...
By the way, if you're wondering how the second variant could look in the end, just take a look at my avatar here.
Of course, this is just an example and you can use every movie scene you like. :D
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )