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Things to remember when doing animated gif sigs


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Since I made the few animated sigs for us Gammulans, I've seen them popping up everywhere! There are some really good ones that really add to the atmosphere around here.

That said, I want to remind all of you (and myself) to keep track of how big those sigs get. I've checked a few of them by right clicking and getting file size. Some of these things are 120k or larger. And some sigs have multiple animated gifs that are each about that size.

Consider a couple of very important points: One is that anyone on a modem is going to be downloading that sig for a very long time. A decent modem connect will pull around 4k a sec, so it takes them 32 seconds to download a 128k gif. The sencond thing to remember is that you are probably hosting that file off your personal web space, or that of someone you know. Remember that when the game goes live thousands of people may download your sig over a few weeks, thereby exceeding your (or your friends) bandwidth limit to the site hosting it. It adds up fast.

Suggestions for streamlining:

I've been using Ulead to make the few sigs I've done so far.

First thing, remember that you can make each individual frame last as long as you want. So if nothing's moving, make that frame stay put longer rather than showing a bunch of frames where nothing happens. Huge savings in size here.

Second, when doing effects some frames (like the first, or last couple) don't show much change. Remove them, since when the gif is animating you won't really notice them missing. A gif animation is a little jerky anyway... after all it's not a DVD movie. Along these lines are doing effects like the "screen off" effect I use in my sig. I originally made a 40 frame transition to do it, then I threw out the last 30 frames that are all black anyway, and only used about every other frame of the first 10 that actually had the effect. There's only about 4 or 5 frames of effect before going black this way, which is all that's needed to make it look right.

The last thing you can do is PLEASE use the optimization features if your program has it. Ulead is VERY good at this. It condenses the color pallet to a smaller size. You'd be amazed that you can actually pull 20% or more of the color pallet out and barely see a difference in the end product.

This isn't a rant at all, just some friendly advice to make those great sigs even better! I have cable and don't care how big your sigs are, I'm just trying to offer ways to make them more efficient.

Good luck and keep those sigs coming!

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