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How I created my Xmas Signature Bar

17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion


The Software I used was InkscapeLogo-square-179x179.png Inkscape a Vector Graphics program and gimp-logo.png GIMP,

which is similar to Photoshop.


Both programs are Open Source and Free to use and Download.


I won’t go into how to use Inkscape or GIMP, there are many video’s on YouTube that can do a much better job than I could.


Create the Banner;


Open Inkscape and create a Rectangle with the size 550px wide by 100px high. This is the maximum size of the Signature Bar on the eForum.


In my Signature I used a Linear Gradient to go from Dark Red to Light Red. You can obviously use any colours you like.


Next I created lots of slightly blurred circles of different sizes, to give a Bokeh effect in the background.


I reduced the Opacity of the circles, to make them translucent and also give a feeling of Depth.

Now it’s time to put a Christmas feel to the Banner, so I added some Baubles. I made these using simple Circles and rectangles. I added some coloured gradients to give a 3D effect.


I also added a soft dark background behind the baubles to help make them stand out.


For the next step, I made some simple SnowFlake designs and changed the dimensions to give the appearance of depth. I also added some small white blurred circles to give the effect of distant snow flakes.

Don’t worry about going outside of the Rectangle Base shape. The finished Banner will be cropped to tidy up the edges.


I wanted to add a Christmas message to the Banner. I decided to go with the traditional

“Merry Christmas”.

I looked on some of the Free Font web sites and downloaded a Font called “Parchment”.

I used a triple colour gradient to give it the appearance of Victorian style Gold lettering.


The Final Step was to add some “Twinkling Light” stars. These Twinklies will be used later in the animation.


You can see on the Right hand side of the image, I have used “Layers” for each addition to the Banner. This is so I can isolate and turn off individual components as I need to. This is very important for the Twinklies. So we can Move them to different locations in order to create the Animation.


Just before we Export (Save) the image, we have to designate a Document Page size. Resize the Document Page to 550px by 100px. Now you can export the image and anything outside of the Base rectangle won’t show. It will be automatically cropped.


Prepare the Animation;


We now have to save Four different versions of the finished Banner in order to create the simple Gif animation.


Our first Save is a Banner with NO Twinklies. Turn off the Eye icon next to the Twinklies Layer.

Export the Banner with a name of your choice, such as Banner_0.png

(I always use .png because it supports transparency, whereas jpg doesn’t)


This is Banner_0 (zero) the first image in the Gif.



Turn the Eye icon back on next to the Twinklies Layer and export as Banner_1

This is Position 1 for the Twinklies. We will use three separate positions for the twinkling star effect. Banner_0 is used as a pause to restart the animation.





Now move the stars to a different location and export as Banner_2




Move the Stars one more time and export as Banner_3




With everything Saved you can safely close Inkscape.

Well done for getting this far! 😉



Making the Animated Gif using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)



Go to <File> <Add as Layers>

Browse to the Four images you just saved


  • Banner_0.png
  • Banner _1.png
  • Banner_2.png
  • Banner_3.png


Select all four files and click <Open>


Gimp with the Four files added (Open as Layers)




Now go to;

<Filters> <Animation> <Optimise (for gif)>


As you can see the Filenames now have some millisecond values next to them.


That’s basically it…! The animation is created. Now all you need to do is tweak it a bit to get the animation speed right.


Go to;


<Filters> <Animation> <Playback>

This opens a simple Preview animation window to see how your .gif will look and work.


Click on the Green Playback icon.

The animation will probably be too fast…?


This is a Simple fix -


I changed the values of

  • Banner_1
  • Banner_2
  • Banner_3

all to 200ms.  

Just double click on the value to highlight it, over type the value and press Enter to confirm the change.

Now press Play in the Preview player again. The Animation should be much better?


You can now Export the finished gif animation.


Go to;

  • File
  • Export
  • Choose a Filename such as; Xmas_Sig.gif
  • You must include the extension .gif on the end to tell Gimp how you want it saved.
  • Click on the Export button


A dialogue box will appear - make sure you tick the “Animation” Box, otherwise your animated gif won’t work. There is no need to change anything else.


That’s how I created the Animated Signature Banner for the Forum.


All you have to do now is upload the gif file to your eForum Profile, in order to use it as the Signature.


    • From the eForum Home Page click on your Username.
    • Click on My Settings > Personal Information
    • In the Signature Box, click on the insert image icon and add your new animated gif.




Don’t forget to Save the page before you exit!


Hope you enjoyed this “How-to” guide?