Source Filmmaker

Source Filmmaker

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How to make Animated Images
By Chris!!
Now you can get into that attention *prostitude as an insult* game!
All these Pesky Questions
Animated images?

HOLY *fecal matter* HOW?
With the help of an external tool you can-

Wait wait wait, do I actually HAVE to use tools?
Yes... But this isn't something complicated you're going to do, so take it easy.

Is there some sort of limit of how much animation I can cram into an animated image?
Not as far as I know, but I highly recommend 5 seconds or less.

Why so?
Steam enforces a 10MB size limit for all images. Since animated images can easily get above 10MB, it would be highly recommended to keep the clips at 5 seconds max.

If you have questions left unanswered, leave some on the comment section and I'll answer. If enough people asks the same question, I'll update this section for the questions. Now, let's try this guide out.
Intro: How Animation works
Well then, are you going to show me?
Yep, in this guide I want you to make an animation similar to this one:

But I don't have a horse model...
Did I say you needed one?

Good, now I want to ask you a question: How does animation work?

Ehm... Movies?
No, movies are created from animation, what is animation created from?


Frames! Animation is created from frames!

Those stationary pictures? How do they make animation possible?
Like this:

But it doesn't move...
Of course it doesn't, this is what animation looks like before it becomes assembled into a single animated image. Try comparing the animated image with these 12 frames I've shown you.

So that animated picture is a result of those 12 frames?
Yes! You finally got it, have a medal!

So we're going to make 12 frames per second animation?
In this case, yeah. Now before we start animating, let's discuss the limits of animated images.

Yes, Steam enforces a 10MB size limit of images, including animated ones. A frame that is 640x360 big weights 125KB at most, and if we were working with 12 frames per second, then that means it would cost 1.5MB per second. That means we may only make our animation 7 seconds long.

Is there a way to increase the limit?
Yes, make the resolution of each frame smaller, maybe go as far as 320x180, but that means it will be blurry as hell when viewed through Steam.

Anyway, in our case we are going to make those frames pretty big, around 1280x720. This means it'll cost roughly 5 times as much as 640x320, so we can only work with 1.33 seconds. Luckily we're only going to need 0.4 seconds.

Now, let's try our hand at animating.
Step 1: Make Animation in SFM
So are we going to make that animated image now?

But I'm not good at animating...
Why should you concern about that?

Because I don't think I can't animate anything complicated. Can't we make some simple animation?
What would you suggest?

Uhhh... Nevermind, I don't think you want to hear it.
Fine then, let's use a running animation for the scout.

But I can't animate!
I said use, not make.

What do you mean?
We're going to import a sequence of the scout running with a melee weapon. We will then create an animated image out of it.

In this case, create a scout model and import a sequence. Choose "running_melee" and uncheck "Generate Root Motion", because we want our model to stay in one spot for this tutorial.

To make our animation look good, we want our clip to start and stop at a specific time, so that it can loop seamlessly. When you imported the run_melee animation, the scout should start with his left feet at the ground, drag the playhead a little forward, right until his left foot hits the ground again.

When you've found the right moment, go to the clip editor and cut the clip where the playhead is.

Now that we have the running animation set, create a camera and move it in a nice spot. After that, then it's time to move over to the next step.
Step 2: Render the Frames
Wait, if it already is an animation, why are we rendering it into frames? Why not just turn it into an animated image already?
Does SFM have an option of rendering your animation into an animated image?

Then we are going to render your animation into images.

Render my animation into images? As in my animation turns into one single animated image?
No, it will render your animation into images, one image per frame. In this case SFM will render it into about 10 images or something. Keep in mind that the shot only lasts for 0.4 seconds, if you were to create an animated picture that lasts for 10 seconds, then that would be about 240 images.

But that is just stupid!
Shut up.

Click on File>Export>Movie, or press CTRL+M. You should get this window:

Select Image Sequence, it will then ask you what format you want your animation to be rendered in. We want it to be rendered in TGA or PNG to ensure we aren't going to lose much details on our animation. The window should now look like this:

If you are satisfied, press render and wait for a while. This may take a few seconds, so do a victory dance while you wait.

When it's done rendering, then let's go to the next step.
Step 3: Convert those Files
But we just choose which format we wanted those files to be! Why shall we convert again?
SFM apparently doesn't support rendering our images in GIF, so we rendered our images in TGA, which is both fast to render, unlike PNG, and is a lossless format, unlike JPEG.

GIF? You mean that *excremental* image format?!
Yep, and it is also one of the only formats that supports animated images.

Okay, how are we going to convert them?
First go and find the images SFM rendered for you, they should be at "..\SourceFilmmaker\game\usermod\elements\sessions", unless you have rendered them elsewhere.

Okay, what do I do with them?
Open up all of the files.

I can't!
Why so?

My computer doesn't recognize .TGA files!
There exist image editing software that can open those files, there are Photoshop, GIMP,, and many more. Download/buy any of those to convert those images for you.

But I don't want to download image editing software!
Boo, shame on you. If you don't want to download any of those softwares, go back to step 2 and tell SFM to render your image sequence in PNG instead of TGA.

As soon as you've gotten an image editing software, whatever it might be, open your .TGA files and one by one scale them down to something like 480x360 and save them as .GIF files. To resize a picture, go to (depending on your software) Image > Image Size and change accordingly. To turn your .TGA file into a .GIF one, go to File > Save As... then change filetype to GIF and save accordingly.

This may a lengthy process, with much rinse and repeating. This is why you don't want to render more than 5 seconds, unless you're really patient.

When you're done with that nonsense, then let's go to the next step.
Step 4: Creating the Animated Image
So how am I going to turn those frames into an animated image?
We are going to download a single external tool to create animated images. Let me introduce you to UnFreez.

Yes, it is one of the many tools to create animated images. While I suspect there exist better programs for that, I am not going to dig around the internet for that reason alone. Let me show you how easy this step is.

First download[] the tool and unpack it on your desktop. Launch UnFreez and this window pops up:

It asks you what images you want to use, and how fast they should change from one picture to another. Find your newly converted .GIF files and drag them over to UnFreez's "Frames" panel.

Set frame delay to 4 and press "Make Animated GIF". It will then ask you where you want to save the file, save at the desktop and review it with any program that can view animated GIFs. Our animation should look like this:

This animation may not look good when viewed through Steam, but it looks much better on an internet browser.

There you go, you have now learned how to make an animated image, now you can finally do that thing you didn't want to tell me about. If you need help with something, write a comment and I may answer it if I can help, otherwise ask around in the forum.

Now I'll be off, happy animating!
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DraggyFox // FrachkaDesign Apr 4, 2018 @ 7:23am 
@phobias everything is possible in animation
DraggyFox // FrachkaDesign Apr 4, 2018 @ 7:21am 
hahaha great guide. I love how you explained what animation is
Phobias Mar 20, 2018 @ 4:28pm 
I wonder is it possible to animate bumpmaps and light warps and exponents .etc
Chris!!  [author] Nov 6, 2016 @ 11:36am 
Steam enforces a 10mb limit on all images uploaded. If your image is larger than that, then either lower the resolution of your frames, or lower the number of frames in your image.
RainingMetal Nov 6, 2016 @ 10:03am 
How were you able to upload an animated image onto your guide? They're always too big to upload as basic images.
Coolguy1260 Oct 9, 2016 @ 3:36pm 
I used infranview to convert to gif. Has a feature to select more than 1 file to convert!
Diablo De Las Bombas Dec 14, 2015 @ 8:52pm 
Used your guide to make this Very helpful and time cosuming but the end results is nice.
intel core i4 Jun 16, 2015 @ 12:50pm 
i made it like in this guide,but not good,i resized,make gif,then make the fast...
this is now not sfm but i think it should be same...
pls help me
Chris!!  [author] Jun 1, 2015 @ 1:31am 
"Yep, and it is also one of the only formats that supports animated images"
datæ May 31, 2015 @ 5:57pm 
"GIF? You mean that *excremental* image format?!
Yep, and it is also one of the only formats that supports animated images."
* cough cough, APNG *cough cough