Adding your own bell pictures
You can create your own bell pictures, and add them to the ones that Abel will use. To do this, you must have a graphics file editor, and follow the following rules:
- A set of pictures must include two graphics files, one for the bell at the handstroke position (down), and one for the bell at the backstroke position (up). If you want bells on the right hand side of the window to be mirror images of those on the left, you must provide another two files for the right hand bells.
- These files must be in Windows bitmap format. The first two must be called bell_dl_256.bmp and bell_ul_256.bmp. If you are providing mirror images for the right hand side of the screen, these must be called bell_dr_256.bmp (up/right) and bell_ur_256.bmp (down/right).
- If the bells are to appear in a circle, each picture must be square. The "standard" ones supplied with Abel are 128 pixels wide and 128 pixels high; the "high definition" ones are 192x192 pixels. Do not use pictures more than 256x256 pixels.
- If the bells are to appear in a line across the screen, each picture must be rectangular (not square). For example, they could be 512 pixels high and 100 pixels wide. Do not use pictures that provide much higher definition than this, particularly for moving pictures.
- For square pictures, ensure you leave space for the bell numbers which Abel puts on the pictures. They are small numbers, midway down, on the right for right-hand mirrored pictures and all square pictures displayed on the right; otherwise on the left. (For rectangular pictures, they are in a bar at the top of the picture, and you don't have to leave space for them.)
- All the pictures in a set must be the same size. The files must be 8-bit (i.e. 256 colour) images. The background of the bell pictures should be white.
- The files comprising a set of bell pictures must be stored in the Bells\Pictures subdirectory in the Abel installation directory, inside another directory whose name describes the bell pictures. Look in C:\Program Files\Abel 3\Bells\Pictures for some examples.
- For moving pictures, in addition to the above, the same subdirectory must also contain a picture for each of the "frames" in the movie. These must be in files named bell_**l_256.bmp, where ** is the number of the frame, starting from 01. When a bell set at handstroke moves to be set at backstroke, the movie consists of the sequence of pictures bell_dl_256.bmp bell_01l_256.bmp bell_02l_256.bmp bell_03l_256.bmp ... bell_ul_256.bmp. The same pictures are used at handstoke and backstroke, when the sequence is reversed.
- For moving pictures, if there are mirrored right hand images (usual for handbells but not for tower bells), they must be in files named bell_**r_256.bmp, and there must be the same number of left and right hand frames.
- For moving handbells, there can be up to 20 frames in each sequence. The speed of bell movement depends on the number of frames; typically this is three, but can be reduced to two for very quick movement, or extended to seven or more for very slow movement.
- For moving tower bells, there must be more than 20 frames in a sequence, less than 100, and typically there are 50-70. The central, core, part of the sequence should be the frames that are used during rounds with no handstoke gap; this is typically about 40-50 frames. Before and after this should be further frames, that are used when the bell rises higher on one or other stroke, either because of the handstroke gap or because the bell is hunting up; these end sequences are typically about 10 frames each.
- In addition to the other bit map files, there may also be bell_offl_256.bmp and (if there are right-hand bells) bell_offr_256.bmp. These typically contain greyed out copies of the corresponding bell_01* files, and are used for manual bells when User Bell Movement is turned off in the View menu.
- You can also add a background for the bell pictures, used only for moving bells with rectangular pictures; there can be different backgrounds for bells in a crescent and bells in a line. The background would typically be about 1000x500 pixels, and must be stored with the bell pictures, in a file called bell_background.bmp for bells in a crescent, and bell_backgroundL.bmp for bells in a line.
- For moving bells, the directory containing the frame files should also contain a file called Params.txt, created with Microsoft Notepad or similar. This must contain three numbers, each on a separate line. The first number must be 1000. The second gives the point when the bell sounds, as a percentage of the bell movement time; it is normally 100 for handbells and about 70 for tower bells (if you are using Abel with external bells, you may want to adjust this value to match your real bells; or to adjust the striking of silenced bells to match this value). You can change this value through Abel's Options/Screen&Print. The third number gives the number of frames each side of the core sequence: for handbells it is 0, and for tower bells typically about 10.
If you follow the above rules and store your images in the correct place, Abel will automatically recognise them and make them available for use in the Screen/Print Options dialog.
Screen and print options
Adding your own bell sounds