Animations are everywhere on the Web today, but it wasn't always like this. A few years ago, we had to use awkward "server-push" techniques to achieve movement on a web page. Now, we have GIF animations, Java, Shockwave, and a million other formats. In this section we'll be dealing with GIF animation, which is relatively easy to do.
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How does one go about creating an Animated GIF? The first step is to create (using your graphics package) each frame of your animation. 'Bot is composed of 8 frames, looping continually. The more frames you have, the larger the file size is and the smoother the animation appears.
Next, use a program to combine the frames together. On the Mac, you can use GIFBuilder. On Windows, you can use Alchemy's GIF Construction Set. Each program operates in a different manner, but a good package will allow you to:
- Specify custom color palettes
- Control frame delay
- Control transparency and interlacing
- Specify a loop repetition
- Offset frames
Remember, you can use a maximum of 256 colors for the entire animated GIF.