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1.   Open your blank plate.  If you make your own it should be 100 x 50 pixels and should have a rounded beveled edge like a real license plate would.

2.  Select the Text tool and set up as follows.

  • font = Verdana or Arial
  • size = 15 to start
  • color = color match to the state name on the plate or any contrasting color so it will show up. 
  • mode = 3D Round
  • style = bold
  • justification = left or center
    • enter your name
    • click OK (PI7) or any blank space (PI8)
  • select the Pick tool and then Align Both from the Attributes Toolbar.

3.  Depending on the length of your name you may need to lower the size of your font so that it will fit in the plate.  One problem you will notice is that the letters aren't really tall enough.  The next step will fix that.

  • select the Transformation tool. 
  • unlock it so that it won't keep the aspect ratio the same and you can freely transform the text.
  • drag the handle on the top upwards.   This stretches the text making it taller and thinner.  Keep adjusting until it fits nicely in the area where numbers and letters normally appear on actual license plates.

4.  Save as UFO and name it final.

5.  Press Control +d or right click and choose Duplicate.  Close the one you saved.

 Plate images shown are Zoomed to 400%

6.  Erasing the letters to make the frames.  To make it easier to see what you are doing select the ZOOM tool and click on the image as many times as necessary using the left mouse button.

  • right click on the text.
  • choose convert object type/from text path to Image.
  • select the Object Eraser and set up as follows.
    • shape = horizontal line
    • transparency = 0
    • soft edge = 0
  • carefully erase the last letter of the name.  In my example that's the 'S'.  Make certain you do not erase any of the letter next to it.
  • save again as UFO this time name it the same as the name showing in the plate.  In my example that's goldacre.
  • duplicate again and close the one just saved.
  • continue in this manner erasing one letter at a time and saving until you have no letters showing.  Save this one as blank.

7.  Assembling the Annimation.

  • click on the word SWITCH in the upper right-hand corner of the PhotoImpact Program Window.
  • choose Gif Animator.  This launches the Gif Animator Program.  It will take a moment to load and open fully then you will get a pop-up.
  • select Animation Wizard from the pop-up.
    • set the size to
      • width = 100
      • height = 50
    • click next
    • click the ADD IMAGES button
    • browse to where you saved your UFOs from step 6.
    • hold down the SHIFT key while you select ALL the images.  (or you could repeat this step however many times necessary to get all the images selected)
    • click next on each of the next set up boxes until the last one and click finish.

8.  Setting up the toolbars.  Unless you have used the Animation program before you will need to turn on the Frame Manager. 

  • click VIEW
  • select Frame manager
    • shows you each frame and it's order left to right in the animation.  If the frames aren't in the correct order you can just drag a frame to the correct position and drop it there. 
    • allows you to play the animation with VCR type controls
    • allows you to change each selected frame's properties
      • this includes the amount of time or delay of each frame, how long it is displayed when the animation runs.

9.  Click on the Preview tab or the  right facing arrow under the Frames to run the animation.  Most likely it will not be in the correct order and will run much to fast.  But this gives you a chance to see what needs to be moved. Stop the animation by clicking on the Edit tab or the stop button under the frames.

  • drag and drop any frames that are out of place to the correct slot for them. 
    • this is the order they should go in.
      • the blank plate
      • first letter only
      • first and second letters
      • and so on until you have all showing.

Timing the animation.

  • right click on the first frame..the blank one
  • choose frame properties.
  • set the delay speed at 50.
  • right click on the last one..the one with all the letters displayed.
  • choose frame properties.
  • set the delay speed at 75.
  • preview the animation again to be sure everything is in the right order.

10.  Saving & Optimizing. 

  • click on the Optimize tab.  You'll get a split screen showing two plates, the left is not optimized the right is.
  • click on the save button at the bottom right of this box.
  • name the animation and choose where to save it.
  • alternatively you can click the drop arrow next to the Save Icon on the Standard Toolbar. 
  • choose Save as GIF.

Be sure you don't just click the Icon.  By default it will save in UGA format and your animation won't be viewable in that one except in Gif Animator.