HOW TO MAKE A NOLF ANIMATED GIF
written by Deunid | edited by glue
Ever wanted to capture
a sequence in Nolf and turn it into an animated gif to share it with your friends?
What are you gonna do when he'll come for you? (40k)
Groovy, baby! (28k)
Don't forget your coat... (28k)
Car trouble in Moroco! (a big sample
Animations by courtesy of Teal'c
Interested? Here is how to do your own Nolf animated gif in 10 detailled steps...
This method is way faster than the classical method, which involve preparing
each image manually before putting all them together in a gif. The instructions
given here are for Nolf version 1.003, but they should work with the other
versions - just adapt them to your version then.
Also please note that this method requires a 3D card capable of displaying
3D in a window. It should be all right with most cards, but some old cards
might have problems with that... To check if your 3D card can, start Nolf's
launcher, click Advanced and add "+windowed 1" (don't type in the
quotes) to the command line, click Ok, and start Nolf. It should start in a
Ready? Set... Go!
1. Get the software.
You'll need a screen capture software. Get Camtasia here.
You can get a 30-days trial release for free. Install it.
2. Prepare your desktop (optional).
Change your desktop's display colors to 16 bits (right click on the desktop
and choose "properties" in the menu, then select the "Parameters" tab)
and also make sure the size of the display is greater than 640x480. Setting
the display colors to 16 bits is not absolutely necessary but it will increase
the capture performance, helping you to capture larger area and/or more fluids
sequences. Click the "Ok" button.
3. Prepare Nolf.
First, get this rez file (1k) and add
it to your custom folder (it's usually "c:\Program Files\Fox\No One Lives
Forever\Custom"). It is very small and just contains a new cursor which
is almost invisible: it's a very small black dot. It replace the big orange
arrow in the menus. The capture program record what he sees, and he sees what
you see on the screen plus the cursor, located right in the center of the display.
As you may want to avoid having a big orange arrow in all the sequences you
will be recording, you may want to use that small and almost invisible cursor
instead of the normal one. Still, sometimes in the capture, a cursor like the
one you have in windows may appear - just try again then until it disapear.
Start Nolf's launcher, click Display and change the resolution to 640x480
16 bits, press Ok, click Advanced and make sure that "disable hardware
cursor" is checked. Also on this window add to the command line this: "+windowed
1" (don't type in the quotes) and make sure "Always specify these
parameters" is checked. Click "Customize", select the file SmallCursor.rez,
click the Add button, make sure the "Always load these files" box
is checked, click Ok, click Ok.
Nolf is ready. Keep the launcher window open, you'll need it soon.
4. Get the recorder ready.
Start the Camtasia Recorder.
In the menus, select Options / Preferences and in the Video Options set "frames/sec" to
5. In the same window, select the "Hotkeys" tab, set the Record/Pause
key to F11 and the Stop key to Ctrl+F11 (select F11 and mark Ctrl with a check
sign). Click Ok. Also in the menus, select Effects / Settings / Zoom and set
the "Zoom level at start of capture" to 40%. Click Ok.
These settings are memorized, so you won't need to set them again unless you
want to change one of those settings.
5. Prepare the capture area.
The Capture area is the area which will be recorded in Nolf's window.
Start Nolf by clicking "Launch" in the launcher. It should start,
but in a window - not full screen. Please remember that this mode is totally
unsupported - you may experience bugs and minor problems, it is just normal
(for instance sometimes I don't see the text in the menus, but the menus still
works). Should that happen, just deal with them, just do whatever you need
to do to avoid having these problems blocking you.
In the menus of the Recorder, select Capture / Input / Fixed Region. A window
opens. Make sure the "Fixed starting point" option is checked and
click on the "Select" button. The cursor will change to a little
hand with a cross. You'll have to use it to draw a rectangle to in the Nolf
window around the area of the screen that you want to capture.
If this is the first time you're making an animated gif this way, use a relatively
small area, like one third by one third of Nolf's window. A bigger area might
be cooler but it will also give bigger and probably choppier files, so I'll
suggest to first get comfortable with small areas before trying larger ones.
Draw that rectangle in the Nolf window around the area you want to capture. The
Nolf window may turn black when you click on it. Don't let this disturb you
and finish that rectangle you were drawing. Then on the "Fixed Region" window,
press the "Ok" button.
If Nolf's window have turned black, just close and re-open Nolf. To close
it, press Alt+Tab several times without releasing Alt until the "No One
Lives Forever" window is selected, then release the keys and press Alt+F4.
The capture area setting is memorized, so you won't need to do that again
as long as you're happy with the capture region you choose.
In Nolf, do whatever you need to in order to be ready to play the part you
want to record. You can hide the crosshair if you wish by pressing the
X key (unless you changed that key assignement, of course).
Ready? Press F11 to start recording.
Play the action, then press Ctrl+F11 to stop the recording.
Save the avi file - it's your movie.
Start the Camtasia Producer. In the explorer style area, select the folder
in which you saved the movie file. Select it in the list just at the right
of the explorer area, and drag it to the first film spot.
8. Edit (optional).
If you wish to edit the sequence, then you're in the right place and that's
the rigth time!
To start editing, just double click on the film spot where you dropped your
movie, and use the light blue slider to select parts of the movie. Pressing
the '-' button will cause the selected part to be omitted in the animated gif.
For more advanced editiong, see the included documentation (look in the Help
menu) - producer is not very difficult to use.
9. Make a Gif.
In the menus, select File / Production Wizard. Select "Produce an animated
Gif...", click Next, click Next, make sure in the options that "colors" is
set to 32 and that in the advanced options, both "Optimized Palette" is
selected and "Dithered color reductions" is checked while "Include
Windows colors" is not, eventually set " loop indefinitely" or
a given number of times, click Next, click Next, click Next (for a change),
select the folder where you want to save your gif and give it a name, click
10. View the result.
In Windows explorer, navigate to that folder and open your gif in internet
Important - Posting animations in the forums
If you're going to include the result in a post, make sure the gif file is
not too big! It's extremely easy to do a fantastic animation and realize later
that it is way too large. Think to our friends who are using modems! Please
don't do anything silly like posting a 250k gif file in the forums. Thanks!
As a guideline, less than 40k is fine, 50k is much, and 70k is really a max
for a forum post.
If you want to post a bigger gif in the forums, you're welcome to post a link
to it (use the "URL" bbcode) rather that the image (the "IMG" bbcode)
and to mention next to the link the size of the file, like this for instance:
The most efficient trick is to stay still when shooting (no walk, no turn
right or left, nor up or down). You may want to do this with a friend on the
network: you can play an action while he shoot it standing still. The gif file
will then be much smaller.
You may also try to change a few settings. Reducing the "frame per seconds" and/or
the "Zoom level at start of capture" for instance will help to produce
smaller gif files.
Of course reducing the size of the capture area will also reduce the size
of the gif.
Don't forget that in order to play Nolf normally again, you'll have to uncheck
the ""Always specify these parameters" box in the launcher for
full screen and to unselect the SmallCursor.rez file from the launcher to recover
a normal cursor (see step 3 for both).
And that concludes our Nolf Animated Gif 101... Don't hesitate to post in
the forums any question, suggestion or finding you may have!
A big thanks to Teal'c for beta-testing, improving significantly the whole
thing, and providing the sample animations!