If you’re looking to customise the look of your Windows PC then you might start with wallpaper, icons, sounds maybe – they’re all quick and easy to customise.
Animated cursors are more difficult to work with, and so tend to get a little neglected by comparison – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially if you install a copy of the free AniTuner 2.
The program allows you to work with existing cursors, for instance. In a click or two you might open one, then resize it, change the colour depth, the hot spot, or even play around with individual frames (add or remove them, manipulate existing frames and more).
You’re also able to take existing animated GIFs, AVI videos or bitmap strips (a strip of frames in BMP format), edit those in the same way, then convert them to animated cursors. At least, that’s the theory: in practice we found it only produced acceptable results maybe half the time. It doesn’t take long to find out, though, and there’s no need to install a cursor to see how it works: AniTuner has a “Test Cursor” option that will give you an instant preview at any time.
And as a handy bonus extra, the program also includes an Export option which allows you to save its current project as an animated GIF, AVI video or Flash animation (SWF). This isn’t quite as flexible as you might think – you can’t just use the program to convert any AVI video to an animated GIF, say (the files have to be of a cursor-type size) – but it does mean AniTuner could also be useful as a way to create animations for your website.