TipsThe following list of tips are displayed when starting the software. They can increase productivity and may introduce functions you did not even know of.
You can use Menu "Options->Windows->Arrange Windows" to have a perfect fit. Save these positions for next startup using "Save Positions/Sizes". This also works if you have placed your windows manually. They may even be placed on a second monitor.
In menu "Options" you can set up windows that are to be visible permanently, for example a floating palette window which is enabled by default.
When creating a new project you can choose between special predefined media types like Tile Map, Animated GIF etc. . Always work with project files. You can additionally save animations or images. The project file will remember those files, so that you can easily rewrite them without choosing the file and path again by using the keyboard shortcut for saving imageor animation.
There is a special support for transparent graphics. You can enable transparency using the checkbox and color field besides
the foreground/background color selector (at the top of the main dialog window).
The transparency can be used for PNG Files, Animated GIF, Cursors, Icons etc. . You can also use full alpha transparency.
You can use the layer system to display different animations or even different projects at the same time.
If you are developing graphics for the Nintendo DS or other handheld systems you find special optimization and error detection functions in menu Color->Color Tile Mapping.
You can reduce single images or the whole animation to fewer colors of an optimized or selected palette (see Menu Colors->Reduce Colors and ->Single Palette...)
A brush can be an animation itself and can be used for AnimPainting (see Manual for details).
By holding the Alt-Key you can enable AnimPainting. This will for example fill areas or draw lines over several frames.
Special grids with different shapes and rulers (drawing aids) can be enabled and configured in Menu Options->Zoom Grid. You can even set up special grids like isometric.
Tools from the Tool Box containing a "+" on their button have an extended tool palette that can be opened with double click.
Tools from the Tool Box containing a triangle sign have special options that can be opened with the right mouse button.
When holding the Ctrl-Key you have a temporary pipette tool to quickly select a color from the image.
There are tons of useful Keyboard Shortcuts that help you to work as fast as possible.
You can create an animation by loading a number of single image files (see Menu Animation->Load as single Images...)
You can lock an image using the "Fix Background" function (Menu Frame). Then you can draw with the left mouse button and the right mouse button restores the original (locked image).
There is a lock grid that makes your brush snap to defined crossing points. This helps to edit images that are made up of small tile pieces.
Besides simple transparency where a pixel is either visible or invisible you can also use an alpha transparency layer to define pixels that combine their color with the background.
You can set up a lot of preferences (Menu File) to customize the application.
Each frame can have a local color palette. By default a global palette is used which is shared by every Frame. Switch between these modes using the "G"-sign above the foreground/background color selector on top of the main form.
If you press F1 then the online help for the currently selected dialog window is opened.
You can also save 2 or 4 bit color depth BMP Files. Just use either the first 2 or 16 colors of the palette and set the Option "Save BMP Files with least possible Color depth" in the project settings.
You can draw tile maps by using the special media type when creating a new project or by converting a given image to tile map and tile library by using Menu Tile Mapping->Make Tile Map. See the tile mapping primer to learn more about how to create tile maps (e.g. level maps) for games using the built in tile map engine.
When creating animated cursors, GIF animations or icons you can set up special options in the project settings like cursor hot spot position or optimizations (Menu File).
You can make an animation to use a single palette for all frames. Just use the function "Single Palette..." from Menu Colors.
Define your own default palette and let it load automatically for new projects (see Menu File->Preferences... Directories)
A Brush uses the currently selected background color as transparent when it is captured. Instead of this you can have the brush "guessing" a different transparent color depending on the captured area (see Menu File->Preferences... Miscellaneous, Option "Autotransparency when creating a rectangular Brush")
Define your own keyboard shortcuts for your individual needs (see Menu File->Preferences... Shortcuts)
Set up project settings that are used by default (see Menu File->Preferences... Project Defaults)
The coordinate display can be modified to start with "1x1" instead of "0x0" (see Menu File->Preferences... Miscellaneous)
You can set the brush grip to predefined positions (i.e. top left, center) or to a free defined position (see Menu Brush->Grip)
Append or import single images to your animation (see Menu Animation)
When saving images as 24Bit then you can save a separate palette file automatically to retain it for the next reload (Preferences->Project Defaults/General)
You can create/remove an alpha plane by just pressing the "A" Icon at the top left of the main window.
You can create a mask by using every drawing Tool. Just use the Paint Mode "Selection".
A zoom grid may get any shape by defining a bitmap. This way you can create isometric or other custom Grids.
You can create seamless, infinite patterns with different shift layouts with Processing/Enable Pattern Drawing.
When using the "E"-key a temporary selection mode is activated. See help system for details on "temporary selection tool".
You can create your own fonts with the Bitmap Font project type.
There are dozens of paint modes to modify pixel values, but you can also create your own with a formula editor.
When creating animations you can continue drawing while the animation sequence is played back.
If you need a larger canvas area then try the full screen mode with "U".