Screen Saver Studio
ALL graphics that use black transparency will be affected. Use Image Compression is only meant to be used for slide shows or where you never use black transparency.
This also happens when you have JPGs in your screen saver and you use Keep Black Transparent on them.
You can still gain the advantage of small JPG file size if you make graphics that never have to use Keep Black Transparent into JPGs in an art program. Thus, if you want to use a large BMP as a background, make it into a JPG and it will be smaller in file size and since it can't be made transparent speckling cannot happen.
Here's what we do when the art department gives us images to be turned into animations. (We use Paint Shop Pro, though other art programs should be able to do similar things.)
falling snow to your screen saver
Many of you have asked how to add falling snow to your screen savers--perfect for holiday or winter screen savers. To learn how, download the special tutorial file we have prepared.
Ways to reduce the file size of your screen saver
Make sure that you make as many graphics as possible JPGs. Graphics that are going to use the Keep Black Transparent feature should not be JPGs. If you are not using the transparency feature anywhere in your screen saver, Use Image Compression automatically converts ALL graphics in your screen saver to JPGs. If you are a Screen Saver Studio Pro user you can set the compression factor used for all the JPGs in your screen saver to make their file size smaller.
Use the % size of graphic feature where you can to keep from duplicating images--especially animations. Our "Swarm!" screen saver has three different size bees buzzing across the screen, but they are all the same animation--just at 100%, 66% and 52% of its original size.
If you use WAV files, make them as small a format as possible that keeps acceptable quality. i.e. 22 KHz or 11 KHz instead of 44 KHz, mono instead of stereo, etc. Similarly for MP3s--use a lower sampling rate to make the file size smaller and to make playback smoother.
Image size tips
Let's say you've created your screen saver as 'myss.exe'. Then use your FTP program to upload myss.exe to the same place as your web pages, the graphics in your web pages, etc. (e.g., 'index.html', 'logo.gif', etc.) To make this file available to your users, put a link on your web page like you would to any other file on the web:
<A HREF="myss.exe"> Download My Screen Saver Now! </a>
Note that most web servers are case-sensitive, so you need to type in the filename exactly as it is when you upload it; if it's all lowercase like 'myss.exe', do it that way, but if it's uppercase like 'MYSS.EXE' you need to type in the name that way.
If you're going to be putting up lots of downloadable files in your web site, you might want to create a subdirectory for them; most FTP programs have a "Create Directory" button you can use for that. If you create a directory "ssavers" and put your download files in it, then you'd refer to them on your web page as:
<A HREF="savers/myss.exe"> Download it now! </a>Problems with disappearing graphics, keeping continuous motion
The trick here is using
the User Defined motion. You can set it to be 0 for X, 10 for Y which means
move to the right at a speed of 10. Check the Bounce box on and set the
timing to 1 cycle of your cartoon guy. When the segment ends, he'll be at the
edge of the screen.
The next segment uses Keep Old starting coordinates and sets the motion to 0 for X, -10 for Y to go back the other direction. You would also pick the cartoon that makes him walk the other way, too.
You have to be careful not to have any fade-in or fade-out effects on any graphic or text in any of the segments because that extends the duration unpredictably. On slower systems, using large graphics may slow it down so the song finishes before all the segments do, so it will never be exact. However, if you have just a slide show with NO motion, you could set the duration of the segment to 0 and the update rate to 60000--which is 60 seconds--to keep the timing loss on slow systems as small as possible. (It will only update the screen every 60 seconds, so it only draws the slide once.)I want to put text on the screen left justified, how do I do that?
You can set the twelve function keys (F1-F12) to point to any twelve URLs. Any time while the screen saver is running, if the user hits one of those keys it will launch the browser and go to the URL corresponding to that key. Of course, you need to tell the user to hit a particular function key somewhere in the screen saver!
NOTE! When a screen saver
with hyperlinks runs under Windows NT, or Windows 2000 the links will NOT connect
due to the way security on these systems is implemented. On Windows XP the connection
will not be made if they have "password protection" or "return to login
screen" turned on, but it should connect otherwise.
You may also set a "hot-link" that shows up in the setting dialog. This one will connect on all systems--even the NT based ones--and shows up as underlined blue text.
You always have to specifiy the full URL, which means having the opening "http://" and the final ".com" or whatever. We don't assume the opening "http://" so that you can link to anything from an "http://" to an "ftp://" etc.
do I get the background to be full screen and not tile?
If you want to select a photo for a background, you can choose the Stretch to Fit option. This insures that no matter what resolution the system is when the screen saver starts, the photo will fill the entire screen.
If the photo is very small
and it has to stretch a lot to fill the screen, you will see large pixels and
"jaggies." If the photo is larger than the final screen size, it will get "squeezed"
and may lose its proportions. In general, it is better to have a large photo shrink
than to expand a small photo.
You could put a photo in slot 10 as a substitute background and new in version 6 or above, you can stretch it to fit the screen proportionately. So a tall skinny graphic would hit the top and the bottom of the screen but the edges would show the background.
Why are my animated GIFs moving too slow or too fast?
Screen Saver Studio does not exactly support the timing information in animated GIFs. Older versions ignored it entirely--version 6 or above does a pretty good job of approximating it. A new frame of the GIF can be played only during each update, but the GIF itself may have a delay that doesn't correspond very well with the update rate. You can change the update rate of your segments to get as close as possible to what the GIF should be, but remember that this affects all the objects in the segment!
Why are my MP3s breaking up when played?
You are probably doing too much at one time. You can either reduce the number of graphics you are displaying, or increase the update rate found in the segment's Timing tab. If you are in the 3D Wizard, try reducing the size of your objects, the number of objects, the number of unique images on your objects or better yet, check the Use Less System Time on Images box in the Movement page.
How can I make my
images all line up and behave the same way for any screen resolution?
If you are trying to line up moving objects to meet and/or interact at just the right time on any screen resolution, you will probably want to use the Display Size feature. The Display Size box allows you to define a size for the rectangle that will contain all of the action of your screen saver. This rectangle will be centered on the screen and may (depending on the current screen resolution) be larger or smaller than the monitor.
If you start a screen saver name with "3D" the installation may confuse the operating system. Usually the first time you install a screen saver that begins with "3D" it will work and the ones installed after it will fail..
When one of these fails, the settings dialog won't be complete and it will then say some files are missing! In actual fact, the entire screen saver probably WAS installed and could be run by going to the WINNT directory and double-clicking on it. But it can't be run from the screen saver list; nor will it kick-in properly.
The only way to fix it is to go in by-hand and rename the .SCR file, rename the directory in WINNT\SSSTUDIO\ that is the screen saver name and rename the .DAT in that directory all to some new name. Just uninstalling it and re-installing it won't work.
A second problem is using periods in the screen saver name. This would most likely occur if you made a new version of a screen saver and called it "My Screen Saver v2.0". This works fine under Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME--but the NT based operating systems complain that there are files missing! So just don't put periods in ANY screen saver names.
An oddity that exists for
all the operating systems is that if you start a screen saver name with "SS" then
in the screen saver list it shows up without the "SS" in front of it! On the NT
systems--you guessed it--this causes the missing files message.
Version 6 or above does not allow you to name a screen saver in any of these ways! If you come across a screen saver that does have a bad name, you may want to contact the person who made it to get a renamed version.
Screen Saver Studio builds an actual .SCR file that can be set as the default screen saver in the control panel. It has a normal settings dialog that allows you to apply the password or to turn sound on or off if the screen saver has sound in it. Each screen saver has at least a .DAT file associated with it, and if your screen saver uses movies or certain audio files, then these and the .DAT file are placed in a special subdirectory determined by what operating system you are running under.
If you build the screen
saver as an "installer" then Screen Saver Studio Deluxe makes a single EXE file.
You can choose to use compression on this installer to make it even smaller! When
someone runs the installer all the files are installed into the correct places
and the screen saver is set as the default screen saver on the system! (But see
Screen Saver Studio Pro users can build screen savers that add some extra controls to the setting dialog: either length of time to display an image or what size to make the image. The Pro builder can determine which, if any, of these controls are in effect.
When you install a screen saver as an administrator on Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP (only administrators are allowed to install screen savers), the screen saver is available to All Users; however, it is the default screen saver only for the Current User. i.e. other users would have to select it themselves.