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GIF89a-based Animation for the WWW

No plug-ins, no programming, no hassles...just pure GIF...

Welcome to the GIF89a Animation site

Everything you need to create GIF89a animations is here. The pages have been mirrored on sites around the world. Some of the mirrors are out of date, some are automatically copied from the source on a daily or weekly basis. Volunteers around the world have translated part or all of this site into multiple languages, including German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese (possibly Dutch, Russian and French in the future).

Lost? Too much Information?

This site contains a tutorial of over 35 printed pages, 80K of readable text, animated illustrations, well over 1 megabyte of images and information. All of this is distributed over about a dozen sections. Use the FIND page to sort out what you want. Here are some suggestions:

Programmers looking for information, check out the Software Toolbox for existing software and code source for DOS, Amiga, Windows, Macintosh, Unix, Acorn, and others; All About GIF89a for a breakdown of the technical structure and links to Compuserve's original specification; Check the User Guide for information of what users will see with different browsers.

If you are going to make GIF Animation for yourself you'll need software from the Software Toolbox ; The tutorial will walk you through building your first animations; Some tips and tricks on putting your animation into HTML pages are available; Once you have the basics check out How to Make your GIF Smaller; If you have problems the Common Problems and GIF bugs;

Just a User who likes GIF Animations? Take a look at the User's Guide for how to keep animations from being annoying or troublesome as you browse the web; or visit the 1st Internet gallery of GIF Animation, feature an Expo of Internet Artists.

Espanol? Deutsch? Italiano? Japanese? others? If English isn't your best language, check out the list of Mirror Sites with partial and complete translations of the site.

Revised March 2002


A Letter from ME

(dated May, 1997)

Hi,

The new EXPO of the 1st Internet Gallery of GIF Animation continues to succeed with good feedback from the professional artists who feature their work there. I'm looking at search engine capabilities in the future and some reorganization features to allow better browser of the growing gallery of sites and images.

On advertising: The Commonwealth Banners will be going. Despite any agreements or information the in truth earnings have been around $0.70 per thousand impressions. Outrageously low. I've finally joined Internet Link Exchange. I think it is a good service. I'd love for it to develop targetability or the ability to display a specific vendor's banner with that ability ILE could develop into a mutual ad brokerage where people agree to display another's banner with ILE doing the accountability and management of the banner. It would provide an advertising engine for the little sites on the web. You will probably see ads on the site in the future, just not Commonwealth. Being the oldest GIF Animation site on the Internet, I've decided to use it to generate some revenues.

I've updated some pages and some updates will be trickling in as information starts to be incorporated. The Software toolbox features about 40 products for producing Animated GIFs. The market has exploded with strong competitive entries from individual programs right up to Microsoft.

I have a new genealogy project that is keeping me busy. It is far behind schedule and running into some technical problem, but I'll try not to neglect either project too badly.

I really want to thank all the mirrors and foreign translations of the site. The response I have gotten has been overwhelming. A Guestbook is available for comments and gets about 25K of comments a month. Items requiring a response should contact me. I've had offers for work and publishing. People have been very kind in words and deed. I appreciate all of it. The pages have made some people very happy and that's real rewarding.

Sincerely,

Royal E. Frazier Jr.


General "How's it done?" stuff...

Netscape Navigator 2.0 and other browsers more fully support GIF89a format (one of the versions of the GIF format). Many of the browsers support individual feature like transparency or interlacing. However, GIF89a compliance means multi-image support, allowing presentations or animations to be encoded within a single GIF file. If anyone finds an unlisted browser that supports this form of animation, let me know.

GIF89a (like GIF87a before it) allows multiple images to be compiled within a single GIF file. This "stream" of images can be used like frames in an animation sequence or movie. In addition, GIF89a allows you more control over the "play" of the frames. You can:

The lines of text & user input are not supported by any browser yet, and most browsers don't do all of the image removal options.

This means that the single GIF file you reference in your HTML pages will display multiple images, in sequence, just like flip-book animation. Netscape designed a Netscape Application Block that will trigger the image to loop from the PC's cache. Other browser respect this function as well now. Despite being available for almost 9 years, the use of this format, like transparency, has languished until the Web found a home for its capabilities.

Other forms of animations have much worse requirements. Quicktimes, FLiCs, AVI all require pre-existing software to be on your computer before you can view them. Programmed solutions like JAVA and server-pull/push require coding that can be difficult and isn't as optimized as the GIF decoder. Server based animation have vanished due to their resource hogging. Javascript animations require preloading and user's can disable Javascript in their browser breaking whatever you coded. Macromedia's Shockwave plug-ins & Flash(formerly FutureSplash) are leaders in plug-in animation. They have benefits over GIF89a, but negatives also. Flash looks very good and didn't crash my browser. Shockwave has been less stable. I don't know if either can handle multiple instance so of the same animation. They both require software installs before you will see animation.

GIF89a based animation eliminates all of those problems.

Self-contained GIF files are downloaded once and played from the computer's disk cache. You can download several per page, and even place a single animated GIF dozens of times on the same page, creating effects that would never be possible with other solutions. Unlike other movie formats, GIF still supports transparency, even in animations. They are as simple to use and implement as any still GIF image. The only thing GIF lacks is sound (and BTW sound has been added to GIFs in the past) and real-time speed variation (like AVI's ability to skip frames when on a slow machine). Until someone comes up with a widely available and supported format, this IS the way to do simple animation.


The 1st Internet Gallery of GIF Animation

This Gallery was the firest to feature the use of GIF animation on the Internet in Jannuary 1996. This will always be the oldest promoter of GIF animation; it can be considered the Grand-daddy of them all. The goal was to highlight the possibilities and give credit to the people building the animations. Even now, I find most animation collections claim GIFs to be public domain when they are not. Providing credit and links back to the animator and their site was important in the design. However this site became very old with many dead links. It has since been discontinued.


EMAILED - the classic E-Mailed AnimGIF I don't update these pages anymore, but, here's how you contact me
Sign or Review my GuestBook


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Copyright 1996,1997 Royal E. Frazier Jr. Last Updated: May 1997