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Creating Graphics

Here's how Bill Parke created the purple stars by which we identify people on the SwimGold USMS Top Ten web site who have passed away. Thanks for taking the time to document this procedure, Bill.

At 12x12 it probably loses all definition except the outline, but I know that doesn't matter in this situation. Here's how I created the stars:

1) I installed a "stars.ttf" True Type font that came with CorelDraw 7.

2) In Paint Shop Pro, I created a New image, 16x16 pixels, 16 million colors, white background.

3) I chose a medium blue foreground color and light blue background color for the current colors.

4) Use the Magnifier Tool to zoom the image up to a size easy to work with.

5) Using the Text Tool, I clicked on the blank image and chose the Stars font, entered the character number of the star "character" I wanted, adjusted the font size, and checked "Anti-alias" and "Floating". On "OK", this placed the star as a floating selection on my image and I could drag it to the desired position. I had to experiment with font size to get the one that just fit inside the image frame. By using antialias with a 16 million color palette, the star is created with various hues ranging from the foreground to background colors which gives it some depth, instead of just a solid color.

6) I picked a bright yellow color to use for the transparent background (any color not in the design image will do) and used the Fill Tool (paint bucket) with zero tolerance to fill all the background areas. It is easiest if you set the yellow as the current background color and use right-click to fill, because of the setting-transparency step (see below).

7) I then loaded an 8-bit color palette, the "Netscape" palette, for optimal Web compatibility and to anticipate converting to a transparent GIF (limited to 256 colors).

8) Under the Colors menu I selected "Set Palette Transparency" and in the subsequent dialog chose "Set the transparency value to the current background color". Be aware this always refers to the color you currently have selected as the background color on the color-palette toolbar, not what your mind sees as the "background" of your image. This sometimes can cause problems when editing and re-saving transparent gifs and you have a background color set different than the original. I've become accustomed to setting the transparency by its palette index, the "I" value shown below RGB when the eyedropper cursor is over a color.

9) Finally I saved as a gif file, with Options set to non-interlaced since the image is so small.

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