BoxTop Software GIFMation
Animation adds a new dimension to Web pages but it isn't easy to do well. The designer has to consider how a graphic will change over time and has to be able to relate each drawing to the ones before and after.
Traditional cell animation is done by tracing new positions on a piece of tracing paper or transparent film because each layer holds a image that has only marginally changed from the previous one. This principle is very easily carried through to Photoshop layers, but Photoshop can't flick through them in sequence.
That's where BoxTop Software's GIFMation comes in. It can import multi-layer Photoshop files and play them in sequence. OK, you don't have to have Photoshop, but it sure make life a lot easier. GIFMation will import files from a wide variety of other programs too, either individually or in multiples.
You can't make any alterations to the drawings themselves in GIFMation, it doesn't pretend to be a drawing or retouching package, but what it does do, it does well. It lets you rearrange their order by simply dragging and dropping and the inter-frame delays can be entered for each individual frame.
There are also a number of options for frame disposal to allow some elements to remain from the previous frame and conserve file size. The relative positions of objects on a layer, or frame, can change without needing a completely new image - another file size saver.
As GIFMation uses the same color reduction method found in BoxTop's award winning PhotoGIF, the final GIF files are compact and of a very high quality. Palettes and bit-depths can be manipulated either on a frame by frame basis or globally and transparency assigned to any colors required.
You can simulate the effect of different connection speeds from a pop-up menu, which is an invaluable feature, but even better, is the browser compatibility checking. The various browsers handle GIF animation in subtly different ways. GIFMation will alert you if you try to apply some GIF animation feature that won't work in one of the browser. The browser compatibility is added by separate plug-ins, which makes it very easy to update GIFMation when a new browser version comes out.
GIFMation is available for Mac and PC at a very reasonable $49. If you already use Photoshop to produce the frames for your animated GIFs, this is THE natural extension.
|BoxTop Software GIFMation|
|Ease of Use||90%|
|Value for Money||90%|
|'Must Have' Factor||95%|
|Manufacturer||BoxTop Software, Inc.|
|Summary||An outstanding animation utility for Mac or PC, especially when used in conjunction with Photoshop.|