The GIF file format brings another dimension to images on the web. While most images are motionless and have width and height, GIFs can have width, height, and time. While you may not think of an image as having the dimension of time, this is precisely what is happening when a GIF moves!
An animated GIF isn’t just one image, after all; it’s a compilation of several (or many) images, displaying in sequence. The change between images over time is what provides the illusion of movement.
Therefore, creating an animated GIF is simply a matter of arranging each image in a specific order, setting the amount of time each frame is displayed, and choosing whether or not the animation loops. This is exactly what you will be doing with Animation Studio (among other things, of course!)
Compiling a bunch of images could result in a massive file size, though. Imagine that you want to create an animated GIF from thirty-two 2 MB images. Without compressing those images, the file size of the animation would be above 32 MB — and that’s huge for a single image! Many of your website visitors would never even see your catchy animation, because it would take so long to load.
For this reason, images imported into Animation Studio are converted into a bitmap with a 256-color palette. This is the color limitation of a GIF file, intentionally low because it drastically reduces file size while still maintaining most of the character of the original image. By comparison, a photo taken with a modern digital camera has an astounding 16.7-million-color palette. This is why their file sizes are so much bigger, and it’s exactly why images need to be converted to a 256-color palette before animations can be useful on the web.
So what does this mean for your animation?
It means there’s a general reduction in quality. A selection of 256 colors isn’t nearly as realistic as most of us are familiar with, so it’s most noticeable in photos. However, for drawings, especially those made in a sweet vector editor like Web Image Studio, this limited range of colors is just fine.Take a close look at the following two images:
The image on the left is an original WIF file graphic created with Web Image Studio using a 16.7-million- color palette. The image on the right is the same graphic, converted to a GIF file and restricted to a 256-color palette. At first glance, they may be identical, but look closer and you’ll see a very small difference in the texture of the GIF file. The tiny dots you are seeing are the result of a process called dithering. Animation Studio uses one of a list of complex algorithms to convert the colors while trying to avoid any nasty-looking patterns. Because dithering methods work better on some images than others, we have included a wide variety of dither modes that you can set in the Preferences. If you’re not happy with the quality of one dither mode, try another one.
And that’s all you need to know! Creating animated GIFs is easy, and the more you make, the more ideas you’ll have. Have fun!