The revenge of the spurned (would-be) lover: a tale as old as the human race, told around many a campfire and web server too. This isn’t a new take on the old story but it is animated, so that’s a bit of a twist, right? And nobody better give me a hard time over the main character’s ethics. I freely admit that he’s an awful person to react as he does to a simple refusal, and to put an innocent woman through a terrible ordeal—perhaps damaging her life forever. What can you say about that? It’s a terrible thing to do, but in TG fiction the “hero” (using the term in its loosest possible sense) does this sort of thing all the time! So if you’re so inclined, enjoy…
I actually wrote this quickie caption to figure out how to create animated captions. I know I did one before but I put this one together differently. In case anyone’s interested, what follows is a short tutorial on how I did it.
My approach used three different graphical tools: Easy GIF Animator, the Snagit Editor (which comes with Snagit) and the freeware GIMP editor.
I used Easy GIF Animator to edit the original animated file. Most GIFs you find online are jerky, in that when they loop around you get a sudden jump in the action. I like to smooth that out by tacking a backwards version of the animation onto the end of the original file, which is easy to do in Easy GIF Animator. For that to work you need a sequence that looks natural in reverse, and a lot don’t, so choose wisely. You can also trim individual frames from both the middle and the ends, to make the reversal and the loop-around look smooth. Save the file.
Next, build your caption. Copy one frame of the animation (any frame will do) and paste it into your favorite graphics editor (I used the Snagit Editor). Build your caption around that frame, without overlapping it (anything on top of the frame will be cut off). Otherwise, the only restriction is that it has to look good as a 256-color GIF, which might limit your choice of colors, backgrounds and other graphic effects. Save the file as a GIF (I used the default settings, but you might have to experiment). Also, take note of the offset (in pixels) of the animation frame from the upper left corner of your caption; you’ll need it later.
Now combine the animation and caption files. For this I used the GIMP editor; it’s big and complicated but we only need a few commands.
Load the animation file. You need to create a transparent background or the caption text won’t show up. To do that, click Layer > Transparency > Add Alpha Channel. (If the command is greyed out, the channel is already there. But if the caption text doesn’t show up later on, you might have to go back, delete the Alpha Channel and then re-create it.) Now increase the size of the animation by clicking Image > Canvas Size and adding the frame offset (from your caption) to both the width/height and x/y-offset fields (the layers field at the bottom can stay at None).
Load the caption file into GIMP (it shows up as another tab). Select and copy the entire caption. Switch back to the animation file. Now launch the Layers dialog (find it under Windows > Dockable Dialogs). Scan down and click on the first frame in the animation. Click Edit > Paste As > New Layer. The caption (labelled “clipboard”) should appear just above the first frame, although its initial position doesn’t really matter. (It isn’t fully visible yet, but don’t panic.) In Layers, click on the caption frame and drag it to the bottom, which makes it the first frame.
Nearly done. Click Image > Fit Canvas to Layers and magically the entire caption appears. Back in the Layers dialog, click on the second frame (the old #1), and then Layer > Merge Down (which can also be found in the context menu). (That overwrites the temporary frame in your caption with the proper first frame for the animation.)
You’re done! Select Filters > Animation > Playback to see the full caption in action. You can also select Filters > Animation > Optimize (for GIF), although I don’t know if that’s strictly necessary.
Finally, save the file. Click File > Export As, choose a new file name (with the gif extension) and click Export. One final dialog appears. Tick the As animation checkbox, the Loop forever option, and enter the proper frame delay (which should be listed in the Layers dialog). (You can slow down or speed up the animation with a different delay.) I also ticked the checkboxes at the bottom, and used the default frame disposal option, although those options might have to change depending on the exact nature of the original animation file. Happy captioning!