Software: Ulead PhotoImpact 12
Author: MaryLou White
Home Page: Wishing Well Tutorials

Title: Animated Snowglobe
Skill Level: Intermediate

Additional Files:
Photograph of your choice
Optional: Glass Preset
Optional: Snowglobe Base

Description: Snowglobes hold a certain fascination for people of all ages. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a beautiful 3D snowglobe and animate it. This tutorial does not include making the base since the purpose is to learn to make and animate the globe.

PhotoImpact 12 has several preset work modes. For this tutorial, we will be using the Full Edit mode so all of the tools in PhotoImpact will be available to you.

As you work, use your mouse to drag this along with with you to mark your place.


Decide on an image for your globe. You may use one from the PI Users Photo Gallery by clicking on the link above.
  1. Download the bases provided (there are 3) or use one of your own.
  2. Download the Glass preset or use one from Easy Palette.
  3. Unzip the globe bases and the glass preset.
  4. Open PhotoImpact. Open the globes and drag them into your Easy Palette Library section for later use.
  5. If using the glass preset, click on the Gallery tab in the Easy Palette. Right-click on any group and select "load". Navigate to the .smp file and click Open. On that same screen, make sure the category is "My Gallery". This will add the glass preset to your gallery.
  6. Open the image of your choice in PhotoImpact and we're all ready to go.

  1. Using the Path Tool
    2D object, shape = circle, color=light grey,
    draw a circle over the portion of the image you want to use.
    Hint: For better centering, right-click on circle, Properties, set Transparency at 50%. Change transparency back to 0 when you are happy with your selection. You may need to reduce the size of your image to get the image to fit in the circle the way you want it.

  2. Right-click on circle, Duplicate. Use Pick Tool to drag new circle to workspace. We will use this to make the glass globe. You might want to drag this into the Easy Palette for later use.
  1. On the image, make sure the Path Tool is still selected and the Selection Lines are visible on the circle. Click on the Mode box drop down arrow and change Mode to Selection. Right-click, Convert to Object.

  2. Use Pick Tool to drag your object off to the workspace. You may want to store in Easy Palette for safe keeping. Close original image without saving. You should have one round circle with your picture and one plain grey circle.

  1. Using the window with your image, Adjust\Expand Canvas , Expand Sides Equally, 80 pixels. Move image toward top to allow room for base.

  2. Drag the grey circle over your image. Right-click\Select all objects. Right-click again and select Align\Center Both. This will center the grey circle over your image. Now would be a good time to save your work as a .ufo file.

  3. Press the Enter key to delelect all objects. Select only the grey circle, change Mode to 3D Round. If the grey circle doesn't have a 3d look, you may have to adjust the Width (Path tool - Materials - Bevel). In the Easy Palette Gallery, double click on either the provided glass preset or select one from the Ulead Glass presets.
    NOTE: Do Not Merge your image!!

  1. Drag the base you wish to use from the Easy Palette into your image workspace.

    If you're using a two-part base, continue with #2 and #3, otherwise position the base under the globe and go to step 4.

  2. Using the Pick Tool, send the back part of the base to the back. You can also open the Layer Manager and drag it down so it's the last image.

  3. Using the Pick Tool, position the front of the base so it fits to the back part. Your globe should be inside the base.

  4. When you are happy with your arrangement, use the Layer Manger to Lock each piece in place (click the padlock on each layer). This will insure that things don't "slip".

  5. Use the Crop Tool to crop out the excess white areas. This will be the final size of your globe. Save your image again AS A .UFO FILE. NOTE: Do Not Merge your image!!

If you want to add your copyright or some other identification to your globe, this is the time to do it. Make any and all changes you want now. If you want to add some gems, jewels, or whatever. Be sure to lock all additions.
  1. On the menu, click View\Show Base Image. Make sure this is not checked. This should result in a transparent background.

  2. Press CTRL D two times. This will create two duplicates of your image. If you have limited memory, you may wish to save each image.

  3. Select one of the images. In the Layer Manager, click on the photo layer to select. In the Easy Palette, select Gallery\Particle Gallery\Snow. Right-click on Snow 2, Modify Properties & Apply.
  1. Set the values as follows (or to whatever you find pleasing:
    Density = 900
    Size = 15
    Variance = 100 Body = 1
    Opacity = 85
    Repeat = unchecked
    Make sure you don't have a snow particle in an area that would detract from the image (like the middle of an eye). Click the Random Button until you have a nice look. Click Okay, click Apply Current Frame Effect to Image.

    Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each of the remaining two globes. Be sure to click the Random button so they will each have a different snow pattern.

  2. You should now have three images, unmerged, with snow added and a transparent background. Save each image as a .ufo file. Remember where you save them so you can find them in the Animation process.

  1. Click on Switch in the upper right corner of the PI screen and select Ulead Gif Animator 5. This will open the animator program. If you have limited memory, you may want to close PI and open the animator by going to the Program menu.

  2. When the Startup Wizard appears, select Open an Existing Image.

    Navigate to where you saved your images, locate and select the first globe, click okay. It will open in the center window as well as in the first frame at the bottom of the screem.

  3. Click the Add Frame icon twice to add two more frames. We will insert the other two images into these frames using the following method:
    • Click the second frame to select it.
    • Click the Add New Image button on menu on top of the screen.

    • Navigate to where you saved your images and click on the second one, click Okay. Repeat for the third image.

  4. Now you have an image in each of the three frames. Hold down the CTRL Key and select each frame. Right-click and select Frame Properties. Set as follows and click Ok:

    This sets the delay (speed) for the "snow". Click the Preview button on top of the page. You should see your completed animation. If you wish to change the speed, do it now. Click the Edit button to go back and make changes. Notice you still have a transparent background.

  5. When you're happy with your animation, click File\Save AS\Gif file. Give your file a name and save. You now have a beautiful Animated Snowglobe!

    Note: If you save your work as a uga file, all of your work will be "preserved" as it is right now. You can save as a .uga and go back to work on your image at a later date if you wish.

You're invited to join the PIRC Fourm! This is an active PhotoImpact Forum where you'll find a wonderful group of warm, friendly, talented, and knowledgeable people who are ready and willing to share their expertise with you. There are creative activities for all levels of PhotoImpact users. This forum is 100% free and everyone is welcome.

Copyright© MaryLou White.
This document may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated without permission.