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Animated Gifs

September 18, 2013

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So in my last post, I made a few animated gifs for the purposes of demonstrating an algorithm. It turns out that literally every program (specifically made) to make them is a pile of junk. I eventually discovered how to do it in Photoshop, which took about 10x longer than it really ought to, since it was hidden in one of the many sections of Photoshop I’ve never even seen before. Anyway, if you don’t have it at your disposal but you want to make some gifs, I wish you luck.

Admittedly, I only got about half a page down my Google search (“free animated gif programs that don’t suck“) before giving up. But I do have some notes for people who make those free programs:

  • BMP is a perfectly valid image format, stop being such haters;
  • Lexicographic ordering is so passe. I really do not like having to move images around because you decided to sort it as “frame0, frame1, frame10, frame11, frame2, …”;
  • As a corollary, if you really must do that, at least let me multi-select items in your stupid list of thumbnails.
  • Animated gifs can only use 256 colours – so when palettizing the frames, maybe you could be considerate enough to make sure if I dare to use the same colour in multiple frames, it encodes to the same palette entry?

Strangely enough, animated gifs are a special kind of anomaly – my results from PS not only looked better (expected), but they also came out a quarter of the size (probably because it wasn’t frantically strobing the colours each frame). This, obviously, goes completely against the First Law of Photoshop – Thy Images Will Be Curiously Larger Than Expected.

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