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Fun with animated gifs

Post #1169 • April 30, 2008, 10:44 AM • 23 Comments

The side tile ad I have up at The Comics Journal isn't doing it for me any more, so I sat down and had a word with GIMP. I was going for animated, yet tasteful:

Unfortunately, it came significantly over the maximum file size. I'm hoping they let it on anyway.

Animated GIFs are pretty fun to make once you get the hang of it - sort of like the digital equivalent of flip books. Each layer turns into a frame, and GIMP supports playback and optimization. (I'm sure Photoshop does too.) A GIMP tutorial is here.




April 30, 2008, 12:44 PM

I meant to add regarding the Colorado installment that I too take "enjoyed looking at it" as the highest possible praise. Thank you.


Chris Rywalt

April 30, 2008, 2:41 PM

We were so thrilled when animated GIFs first became possible. Man, that was, like, the greatest thing. This one's from 1996, and this one from 1998.

The good ole days.



April 30, 2008, 3:22 PM

Please, people, try to keep the geekery to a respectably low level. Some of just don't relate. Thank you.



April 30, 2008, 5:17 PM

That's "some of US just don't relate." Sheesh, I'll be as bad as OP soon.



May 1, 2008, 8:49 AM

I have Xara Xtreme 3.0 at home and I have not been able to figure out how to make a flash video yet. I would love to combine text and image. When I have off over the summer I will try and figure it out.


Chris Rywalt

May 1, 2008, 12:57 PM

I've done some Flash animations using Adobe Flash. Flash annoys the crap out of me in so many ways, but I've gotten some things working. Once upon a time I was a member at Suicide Girls and they had a contest to see who could design the best Flash animation for their site; I started out with a serious design (mainly as an excuse to learn Flash) and thought things were going pretty well until about a week into the contest when the professionals started entering. Then I realized I was in way over my head, so instead I made a funny design of which I'm perversely proud. Of course I didn't come close to winning.

The thing about Flash, Eric, is that it takes more than a pure designer's mindset; you need some computer programmer in there, too. If you have that, you'll probably do very well. Me, I'm an okay programmer but my graphic design skills are weak. (I tend to think that fine art and graphic design are separate skill sets -- I can paint and draw, but I can't design very well.) Thus my Flash animations aren't very good.



May 1, 2008, 1:23 PM

Okay. Let me put it this way. For a computer tard what is the best program to use to make an animation that can include words and images?


Chris Rywalt

May 1, 2008, 3:51 PM

Uh, I don't know. I wasn't intending to give advice, just sort of share my experience with Flash. I don't even know what Xara Xtreme is. (Or didn't -- I'm looking it up now.)

I think there's no "best" program to use; it's a matter of your style. Flash is used even for professional animation but it has a distinct look. And it's resolutely flat: If you want words to spin around in 3D, Flash is probably not the way to go. On the other hand, if you're planning something very simple and let's call it traditional, Xara looks like it'd be okay. I've never used it; certainly in Adobe, Flash is much more complex (but then Xara, according to the Website, "does not support complex advanced features such as scripting, sound or embedded movies", which help complexify Adobe's interface).

I played around with a few stop-motion animation programs but didn't find any I liked. In theory any of them could be used for your purposes.

You could also look into Ulead's GIF Animator, which looks simple.

I have a copy of Adobe AfterEffects which I've never used. I'll give it a try, see what it does, and let you know.



May 2, 2008, 5:12 AM

Sorry for forcing you to give advice. Thank you for your time.


Chris Rywalt

May 2, 2008, 6:23 AM

Eric, why do I feel like everything I type is insulting to you lately?



May 2, 2008, 8:06 AM

I am sorry that I insulted you or made you feel like you were insulting me. You were not.

"Uh, I don't know. I wasn't intending to give advice, just sort of share my experience with Flash."

This sentence made me think that I was imposing upon you.

I love 'ya man (even though you are totally wrong about my Donovan review!)


Chris Rywalt

May 2, 2008, 9:09 AM

I'm not insulted, so don't worry about that. Haven't been.

I did open up Adobe AfterEffects, by the way, and I think it'll do what you want, but, wow, was I scared by the interface. So many buttons and windows and things! I don't have time right now to play with it, alas.


Chris Rywalt

May 2, 2008, 9:10 AM

Oh, and:

Prolix! Prolix!



May 2, 2008, 9:11 AM

I am looking into Ulead's GIF Animator. That seems about my speed. However I don't want to download it. I want a hardcopy and for no more than $50. Not easy to find.


Chris Rywalt

May 2, 2008, 9:46 AM

Do you not want to download it for some moral reason or because your connection is really slow? If the latter, I could download it and mail it to you.

I was able to find one company which would download it for you and mail it for $55.



May 2, 2008, 11:44 AM

My old Gateway is slow as shit but the reason I want a physical product is because I like to own the CDROM. If you could send the link for the company that sells you the download and a physical CDROM I would appreciate it. Thank you.


Chris Rywalt

May 2, 2008, 12:09 PM

These guys will do it but they seem shady to me.

Let me do it for you. If it works for you, you can send the $49.95 to Ulead.

If you want me to do this, e-mail me your address.


Chris Rywalt

May 2, 2008, 1:00 PM

I've installed the GIF Animator and it's hilariously easy to use. I made this in about ten minutes. Maybe less.



May 2, 2008, 2:31 PM

That is hilarious. I always wanted my name to appear in the middle of a tatooed labia fold! That company does look shady. Did you own it already or did you just buy it? Or did you do a free trial download? Thank you for the offer but I am confused.



May 2, 2008, 3:21 PM

Years ago, I made this one as a symbol of my dual Irish/Canadian citizenship...



May 2, 2008, 3:23 PM

GIMP is free.



May 2, 2008, 4:47 PM

Thank you chris. I think I will futz around with the free GIMP and see what I can come up with.


Chris Rywalt

May 3, 2008, 6:19 AM

I performed a, um, very special kind of free trial download. Let's leave it at that.

See what you can manage with the GIMP, and if it doesn't work out for you, let me know. The GIMP is great but it can be touchy, especially if you're not a computer guy.



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