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Tinni's guide to image capture and some hints on gif making

Tinni January 8, 2011 User blog:Tinni

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Purpose

From time to time, I get asked about how I capture images and stuff like that. Having responded individually to people's talk pages, I decided to write a guide to help those wanting to capture images for inclusion in Bleach wiki and other wikis. I will also include some tips on gif making but the gif making

Image Capture

1. The first thing to remember is that the image you capture can only be as good as the source from which you capture it. For early episodes of Bleach, the source is rather limited but for later episodes of Bleach the best source is the video that comes from Crunchyroll. Of course, in order to get subtitle free screenshots, you have source "Raw" videos and/or the english dubbed videos. Nyatorrent and AnimeAccess are good places to find Bleach videos.

Urahara Shoten

Captured using Windows Media Player from Bleach Episode 303 in MSK format

2. Once you have your video, it's time to capture the image! There are two options for this. Firstly, if the video is in msk format, which most videos from Crunchyroll is, then I use Windows Media Player Classic to play the video. Windows Media Player Classic has a "Save Image" function under the File menu and it saves the current frame.

The Menos Grande

Captured using VirtualDub from AVI file

3. The other option that generally captures better images is to use the program VirtualDub. Unfortunately, VirtualDub doesn't support MSK format videos. So you can only use it if you have Bleach episodes in AVI format. It supports a few other formats but generally Bleach episodes are either MSK or AVI formatted. VirtualDub is great because it let's you "step though" the video frame by frame and has a function to copy to clipboard, at which point you can paste to your favorite drawing software. VirtualDub captures images in the best possible quality and generally the output it better then by usign Windows Media Player Classic's "Save Image" function, which also works with AVI.

LoveShiktaiEpisode280

Captured using Windows Media Player from Bleach Episode 280 in MSK format - then edited to remove subtitle

4. After the image is captured, I personally used Macromedia Fireworks to remove subtitles and logos. Macromedia has gone out of business and Fireworks is now owned by Adobe. My version of the software is quite ancient now but it get's the job done and so I haven't upgraded. Anyway, removing subtitles and logos isn't easy and I am not particularly good at it. I only do it if it's relatively simple as I don't have very good mouse control or the necessary patience or graphic redrawing skills to produce properly "cleaned" images. That's why I try to capture images that are already subtitle and logo free.

So that's pretty much it! Happy capturing and don't forget the fair use rational!


Gif Making

Nigeki Kessats

Gif that was auto generated using VirtualDub then resized and heavilty edited to remove reaction shots, conversation and other unnecessary things

I don't really want to go into too much detail on this. Not because the actual gif part is hard, VirtualDub has an automated feature by which you can spit our a segment of video has a gif, but because gif making for our site requires some heavy duty editing.

CeroMetralleta

Gif that was auto generated using VirtualDub then resized

At the most basic, once you get VirtualDub to automatically spit out a the gif - you have to resize it down to be 190px in width it you want to upload it onto this site at least. However, many of the gif I make I also further edit to remove redundant scenes and shots. This is because I generally tailor to gif for Bleach Wiki use, i.e. to highlight whatever we are trying to highlight. After making... a lot of gifs, I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't for Bleach Wiki. But that's not really necessary for general gif making.

GranRayCero

Gif that has been manually created

Lastly, you can make gifs "manually" and you often get better image quality with manual gif making but it takes a lot longer and often has less frames per second then automatic "gif spitting". Most of the gifs I have made for the Wiki have upwards of a 100 frame when done automatically. However, when I have made the gif manually for one reason or another, they have rarely had more then 50 frames. I personally lose patience to do it manually after about 40 frames.

More importantly, you actually need a graphics program to do any sort of gif editing and certainly creating one from scratch! Below are some links to tutorial for particular graphics tools. Hope they help!

1. Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create GIF Animations

2. How to create an Animated gif in Adobe ImageReady

3. Simple Animation in Gimp

Note: Gimp is actually a free graphic imaging software. I have never used it personally but it has been recommended to me as good alternative to all the proprietary software by many people. So if you want to have a play around with gif making or just want to edit Bleach screenshots that you have captured, I certainly recommend giving Gimp a go.


Closing Words

So that conclude my guide. This is pretty much how I do things. It isn't necessarily the best way to do things and other people who frequently supply images to this site will have different techniques and tools they use. But I hope this guild will help you capture images not just for Bleach Wiki but any other wiki's you might be contributing to.

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