Learn to make an animated License Plate with your name appearing one letter at a time. This is a simple animation using the Eraser tool and Gif Animator.

Click on the RT's Plates icon below and go find your favorite for your state and let's get started! Or you could make your own at 250 x 125 Pixels.

What you will need:

PhotoImpact 6 or higher
click here to visit RT's Plates and choose your favorite to use in this tutorial.
A Blank License Plate from RT's Plates
PhotoImpact 6 or higher
Gif Animator 4 or higher or higher

Note Gif Animator was not included with PhotoImpact X3. Most animation programs work similarly to what you will see here.

  1. Go to RT's by clicking on the plate above. Find one you want to use and save it to your Hard drive
    Open your blank plate in PhotoImpact. If you make your own it should be 250 x 125 pixels and should have a rounded beveled edge like a real license plate would.
  1. 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 or later)
    Select the Pick tool and then Align Both from the Attributes Toolbar.

All examples shown are enlarged for more detail.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Save as UFO and name it final.
  2. Press Control +d or right click and choose Duplicate. Close the one you saved.

Erasing the letters to make the frames.

ZOOM 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. My screenshots were taken while I was zoomed to 400%.
  1. 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.

Assembling the Annimation.

  1. Click on the word SWITCH in the upper right-hand corner of the PhotoImpact Program Window. If you are using PI Version 11, go to Start/Programs/Ulead/PI 11/Gif Animator. 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 = 250
  • height = 125
  • 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.

  1. 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, which 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. It also allows you to play the animation with VCR type controls and to change any selected frame's properties, including the amount of time or delay of each frame (how long it is displayed when the animation runs.)
  1. 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.
  • They should be go in the following order.
  • the blank plate
  • first letter only
  • first and second letters
  • and so on until you have all showing.

  1. 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.
  1. 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 SAVE Icon. By default it will save in UGA format and your animation won't be viewable by anyone except in Gif Animator!

Copyright © Merlene Guldager

     This document and the images contained therein may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated.