Tools Web Designing

You don't need to search very far to find a GIF animation tool -- there seem to be scores of them available. Regardless of the tool you choose, the interface is basically the same. Tools tend to differ somewhat in the degree to which they are able to optimize (shrink the file size of) of the resulting graphic. The following sections provide an overview of the most popular and/or recommended tools.

Applications That Include GIF Animation Tools
GIF animation tools are built in or bundled with many popular graphics applications, eliminating the need to jump between different software packages.

Macromedia Fireworks (Mac and Windows)
Macromedia Fireworks was designed specifically for the creation of web graphics. It supports multiple layers that can be converted to multiple animation frames. Among other features are automatic super-palette optimization and the ability to perform LZW optimization.

Adobe ImageReady (Mac and Windows)
Adobe ImageReady is a tool (bundled with Photoshop 5.5 and higher) especially for preparing and optimizing web graphics. It includes a GIF animation tool that converts layers into frames and allows easy layer editing. ImageReady 3 offers advanced optimization methods for making the smallest possible animations.

Animation Shop & Paint Shop Pro (Windows only)
Animation Shop is a tool that comes bundled with the latest version of Paint Shop Pro, an inexpensive and powerful graphics creation application from JASC Software, Inc.

GIF Animation Utilities
The following are just a few dedicated tools for creating animated GIF files.

GIFmation 2.3 (Mac and Windows)
This is commercial software from BoxTop Software that comes highly recommended by web developers. It features sophisticated palette-handling options and a bandwidth simulator. It also uses the efficient "frame differencing" method for optimizing animations significantly better than its competition.

GifBuilder 0.5 (Mac only)
GifBuilder, developed by Yves Piguet, is the old standby for creating animated GIFs on the Macintosh. It's freeware that's easy and intuitive to use. Its method of optimization, although adequate, is not as efficient as some other programs.

Ulead GIF Animator 5.0 (Windows only)
Ulead's GIF Animator features wizards for quickly and easily constructing animations, 200 levels of undo, pixel-level optimization, built-in transition and animation effects, a plug-in architecture for adding new animation modules, and support for AVI and QuickTime videos and layered Photoshop files.



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