How the Text Effects 4 Plugin Banner was Built

The banner advertisement for the Alchemy Mindworks Text Effects #4 plugin has received considerable comment since it appeared in the banner rotation at our various web pages – and no small degree of interest in how it was created. The procedure was elegantly simple, but perhaps not immediately obvious. You’ll probably be able to use it for your own banners.

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The Text Effects #4 banner, shown here, has a degree of symmetry about it, in that the Text Effects #4 plugin was used to create an advertisement for itself. The only other software required to make this work was GIF Construction Set Professional 3 and Windows Paint.

The final banner is 468 by 60 pixels. As such, the “Text Effects #4” text needed to be slightly smaller than this. The Text Effects #4 plugin was set to the Background Hyperspace effect, and suitable font settings and fill effects were chosen. The distressed copper text is actually the standard Vermilion Hells texture effect that installs with the plugin.

The text is 54-point Swiss 721 Heavy, italicized.

Because the final banner was to show the effected text plus some smaller text, it required a larger animated background than the plugin would normally create. This was arrived at by increasing the Padding field of the plugin – quite a lot. It was set to 110 pixels, which resulted in a really huge background.

Make sure you set Supercompress off if you try something like this.

Having built the basic animation, it was ready for some post-production in GIF Construction Set. The final banner dimensions of 468 by 60 include a one-pixel frame all the way around the banner. As such, the actual size of the animated background was to be 464 by 58 pixels. The Crop function of GIF Construction Set was used to crop the large background down to these dimensions, positioning the text portion near the left edge of the animation.

The Click Here to See 19 More Effects text was created with Windows Paint and saved to a temporary BMP file. It was a 464 by 58 pixel black background with white text positioned near the right edge. It was inserted into the animation using the + button in the tool bar. This isn’t a really great way to get graphics into GIF Construction Set as a rule, but in this case, with a very simple graphic to be imported, it was an acceptable cheat.

The black background of the graphic was made transparent, and the whole animation was applied as the source block list for the Underlay function of GIF Construction Set. The resulting animation was the banner shown at the beginning of this post, save for the one-pixel frame.

Adding a frame to an animation is surprisingly easy using the tools in GIF Construction Set. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Double-click on the first Image of the animation and click on Paint to open the image.
  2. Select light grey as the background color.
  3. Use the Attributed function of the Image menu to increase the dimensions of the graphic to 468 by 60.
  4. Use the Zoom tool to zoom in to 6X.
  5. Select the Select All option from the Edit menu.
  6. Click and drag the image one pixel to the right and one pixel down. This should result in a one-pixel grey border all the way around the graphic.
  7. Save the edited graphic and exit Pain.
  8. Select all the Image blocks except the first one. Click on the Gear button in the GIF Constuction Set toolbar to open the Manage window.
  9. Enable Absolute in the Image group of controls and set the Left and Top values to 1. Click on Apply, then click on OK to save the changes.
  10. Use the Reconstruct function of the Block menu to build a new animation with a frame around all the Image block graphics.

Once the animation was complete, it was run through GIF Construction Set’s Supercompress function to squeeze out any redundant pixels and get its final file size down to something reasonable.

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