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Posted on 2009.02.24 at 23:30
Current Location: 75409
Current Music: Kloser - Alien Vs Predator

The CompuServe Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) was introduced in 1987 (some of us still remember seeing it referred to as "GIF89a") and remained popular not only for its high compression, but its ability to display transparency and to animate. Its compression was fantastic, and its 8-bit color was lightweight; perfect for small graphics and logos for a burgeoning web.

I created my first animated GIF in 1994 on my geocities webpage which still exists today. I read a book in the mid-90s which proclaimed no web page should be more than 1MB. Of course with broadband as widespread as it is, and the limitations of dial-up modems, that statement is antiquated to many, most of whom weren't even born in 1987. Normally, I wouldn't even be in contact with these people, unless they were children of friends, but the web has truly transcended many social barriers.

Controversy over licensing agreements in the compression technology used in the GIF however led to the creation of the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) file format which contains many of the features of the GIF, but was slow to catch on. Initially, browser support for them was severely limited (point of fact, Microsoft's own Internet Explorer) didn't properly render PNG's alpha channel transparency feature until IE7 and still doesn't properly display PNG's gamma feature, resulting in incorrect hues) and early lack of support in graphics manipulation programs.

On the positive side, PNG is not licensed and contains better compression than that of GIF. Livejournal users understand that avatars are limited to 40kb, which means much creativity must be used in creating an animated GIF as an avatar. There are several optimization options available to lower the overall size of your image, one of which, is color-depth. Unfortunately, getting an animated avatar which has too may frames or lots of different colors under 40k usually results in a unusable grainy halftone image.

I read recently where someone bemoaning the dated GIF wrote concerning using it for animation:
Animated gifs are for those who don't know how to use flash.

Yes, I myself have been somewhat justifiably accused of being an elitist, but I've played with flash. Guess what? I'M NOT AN ARTIST. Flash is very difficult to work with comparatively. Having taught myself HTML 1.0 back in the day, I was humored to find the following response to that statement:
Flash is for those who can't write HTML.

Both do have their place. For different reasons. I for one, would like to see PNG support animation in such a way as a GIF. For the time being however, Livejournal, would it kill you to increase the size of avatars?

I don't have many, but here are some of mine:


Melancthe the Woe, So-Called
melancthe at 2009-02-25 06:25 (UTC) (Link)

Those animated meat curtains are fucking TERRIFYING! I'm pulling my D: face every time I look at them!

(Awesome work on them, though. The lower one is particularly well done.)
ehowton at 2009-02-25 06:38 (UTC) (Link)
The lower one is particularly well done.

Sometimes I scare *myself*
photogoot at 2009-02-25 07:40 (UTC) (Link)
OMFG! I threw up a little in the back of my throat.
ehowton at 2009-02-25 12:34 (UTC) (Link)
You flatter me. And that sir, will get you everywhere.
lesabre500 at 2009-02-25 11:01 (UTC) (Link)


This is another reason why I'm lucky and glad I began reading your posts. I've learned a lot.
I don't know a lot about computers and every little bit helps. This was interesting to read.

Thanks Tom

ehowton at 2009-02-25 12:35 (UTC) (Link)

Re: subject

And thank you sir. So glad you were able to come away with something.
Cat Who Likes OpenBSD
bsdcat at 2009-02-25 13:01 (UTC) (Link)

An example animated PNG is provided on that page; if you can see it animate, it works in your browser. It works in mine (Firefox 3).
ehowton at 2009-02-25 13:14 (UTC) (Link)
Safari 3.2.1 is a bust. Also, its my understanding that creating an animated PNG is nearly as difficult as working with Flash, and there's only one word for that: EGADS!
This Is Me, Ten Sticks
lehah at 2009-02-25 13:07 (UTC) (Link)
I'm suddenly reminded of facehuggers. Or veal. I'm not sure why.

Also - GEOCITIES. Hysterical.
ehowton at 2009-02-25 13:21 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. But I'm not sure how you could think of food at a time like this. Ugh.
dentin at 2009-02-25 15:28 (UTC) (Link)
Dude, your Protoss carrier is like totally lost or something, it's just sitting there spinning trying to figure out which direction to go.

*knock knock*
"Who's there?"
ehowton at 2009-02-25 21:37 (UTC) (Link)
Loss of attitude control; he's in a flat spin.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-02-25 19:58 (UTC) (Link)
Though I did get a preview of the top one, the bottom one of Tommy is even more disturbing!!!
ehowton at 2009-02-25 21:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you - I'm rather proud of that one myself.
thesweetestnote at 2009-02-25 20:59 (UTC) (Link)
Please excuse the avatar but thank God! this post gives me reason to finally use it! :D

It's creation was as follows: mov. in Final Cut, then flv into Flash, then swf back into Flash, then Flash exported gif, to finally ImageReady. I know there's an easier way but it's what works for me.

I think PNG is the best EVAR!!!! I love it primarily for it's transparency.

thesweetestnote at 2009-02-25 21:03 (UTC) (Link)
oh! BTW... Internet Explorer sucks royale Ass!!!!

And this gives me reason to use the follow-up to the first avatar!!! yay! lol

And I MUST ask that you ignore the text in both. This post was quite informative. I do care :) lol

Plus it's a reason to look at a naked chick!!!

Edited at 2009-02-25 09:14 pm (UTC)
joey_glover at 2009-02-26 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
well done.
ehowton at 2009-02-27 00:42 (UTC) (Link)
I'm thrilled you approve!
ex_crowy at 2009-03-03 21:29 (UTC) (Link)
Well, I am scarred for life now.

Well done.
ehowton at 2009-03-03 21:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, ma'am. I sometimes think something must be wrong with me, to be so brilliant, yet so twisted.
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