Friday, 22 July 2011

Animation thumbnails as Animated GIFs

I have an idea to thumbnail all my animations for my website. The problem is: In what format should they be?

Well, the only universally acceptable format is of course "Animated GIF". Supported on ALL browsers, across ALL devices! With JAVA being another more complex alternative.

Anyway, to start testing it I was using my "Letters in a Box" animation.

So, I started by opening it in "Quicktime Pro" and exporting as an image sequence, but the images had bad facets (MPEG encodings) issues. It looks like quicktime looks at individual frames but the movie was compressed in DIVX which probably requires DIVX pro to re-convert into nice looking images again. Doh!

So my next idea was to take it into Final Cut Pro, which did a fantastic job at converting to an image sequence! Even though it should be the same as Quicktime Pro (in a way).

So now I open the image sequence into Photoshop, and file > export for web and devices. Click on any of the GIF options. The file sizes were VERY big though. But I am quite adamant that I want the entire animation thumb-nailed as it's one of the principals of the website.

So I made it 100px width and tried all the different GIF variants. I also played with the frame rate. Here's some examples:

1 fps, 128b dithered, 104K

12 fps, 32b dithered, 548K

12 fps, 32b dithered, 100% lossy, 84K

5fps, 32b not dithered, 156K
Oh, and in Photoshop I forgot to loop it. It's in Export for Web and Devices > loop option bottom right.

I shall conclude this another day

Just found this Red Design website which has pretty much the same idea, well executed. I had a look at image sizes and all came in at around 1kb. I think this would be due to the amount of frames, which is about 10 - 15 frames long, whilst these are around 100 - 200 frames long.

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