Preparing your doll for a contest for MS Paint Users

As someone who has held the odd contest, I know how many people struggle to prepare their doll for submission to a contest. By doing just a few simple things, you make your entry much more enjoyable to receive!
Clearing the canvas
1. By the time your finished making your doll in Paint, your canvas probably looks a little something like this!

The first thing we need to do is get rid of any palettes, stray pixels, test dolls or other detritus from around your doll.

2. The easiest way I find to remove large items is to use the Select tool to select the area to be deleted, then press DELETE on your keyboard.
Provided that your background colour is the same as your canvas, this should work well.
3. For smaller, more difficult-to-get to bits that need deleting, just use the Paintbrush in the same colour as the canvas to "paint over" the pixels you want removing.

You doll should now be all alone on a big empty canvas.

Cropping the canvas
1. There is a lot of empty space on your image at the moment which will make both the physical dimensions of your doll & the file size unnecessarily big, so we need to crop the excess away.

Use the Select tool again to select your doll, then drag it to the top left hand corner of the canvas.

2. Now, go down to the bottom-right hand corner of the canvas. You should see a little dot just outside of the canvas.
As you move the cursor over the corner, it should change to the Resize cursor. Hold your mousebutton down on the dot & drag the corner of the canvas up & across.
3. Drag the canvas up until you doll is nicely framed on it.
Checking the dimensions
1. Very often, a limit will be set on the physical size of your entry e.g. 200 x 300 pixels.

To check that your entry is within the limits, go to Image/Attributes... (or press CTRL+E).

The Width & Height will be specified. Ensure that Units is set to Pixels.

Choosing the background colour
1. We are going to, eventually, converting our image into a transparent gif. Gifs are compressed images, limited to 256 colours. To achieve transparency, one of the colours out of the available 256 is designated to appear as transparent when viewed in a web browser.

For this reason, any areas on the graphic that you want to appear as transparent must be the same colour & not one that appears elsewhere in the image.

Here are some really rather nasty colours that you will probably never use on your dolls, but they make great backgrounds for gifs (displayed in both RGB & Hex colours). Your don't have to use these colours, just make sure the colour you chose is not used on your doll.

2. Pick the colour you want & use it to fill the areas of the canvas you want to appear transparent.

Remember all the little crevices that are easy to miss like between loose strands of hair, between the legs (like here) etc.

Saving your image
1. Unless you want the colours on your doll to be completely runined DO NOT USE MS PAINT TO SAVE DOLLS AS GIFS.

As an example of why, the top doll was saved as a gif in MS Paint, the bottom in IrfanView. See the difference?

2. To stop your beautiful creation being destroyed, we are going to save your doll as a 24-bit Bitmap & use another application to convert it to a gif.

Go to File/Save As & ensure that 24-bit Bitmap is selected under Save as Type (you may have already done this step if you've been careful & saved your doll as you were working on it).

Give the image a useful name & save it somewhere that you can remember!

Converting your image to a transparent gif
You have several, completely free options available to you for this. Choose a method from the list below:
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