how large/long can an animated gif be?

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jamtat
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how large/long can an animated gif be?

Post by jamtat » 2010-09-30T12:30:26-07:00

I'm considering putting together an animation that is essentially choreographical. It is intended for teaching purposes, i.e., to help those who
will participate in this activity to learn their roles. It should show a sequence of movements within a closed space, indicating at what point each
individual is to move, to what place and from where. It might also include some captions for spoken material that accompanies the choreography
(maybe something like speech bubbles, or whatever they call those things you see in cartoons). The choreography sequences can be fairly long,
ranging from about a half hour to as much as two hours. Of course the animated teaching presentation should be a condensed form of the real-time
sequence, running perhaps one fifth to one tenth its length.

I'm in the beginning stages of considering how to do this presentation and began looking into some animation programs. I was a bit put off by them
initially, since they seem, as a rule, to aim at creating something approaching 3d animation. What I need, however, is very simplistic: 2d would
work better for my purposes, with simplistic forms of movement, and with simple shapes representing the individuals. An extremely simplistic form
of animation should suit my purposes.

Which is why the idea of an animated gif occurred to me. I know imagemagick is good for creating animated gifs, and I have experimented to a
limited extent with some rudimentary animated gifs in the past. But I'm not sure an animated gif could work for the project I have in mind.

I need to start off by asking whether an animated gif can even do what I'm asking about? Or, perhaps more to the point, whether it's the right tool
for this job? If it's not, can anyone suggest any other software capable of making the fairly simple animation I'm envisioning?

Thanks,
James

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anthony
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Re: how large/long can an animated gif be?

Post by anthony » 2010-10-01T05:57:22-07:00

It is not the length or the size of an animated GIF that is an issue. It is what limits the program animating it can handle.

GIF animations are not designed to be run like a video. It is also not fast as the next frame needs to overlay or merge with the 'disposal version' of the previous frame. And finally the animation is generally 'looped', so it have to restart at the beginning.

Because of this GIF animation programs generally read the whole animation and prepare it before they even start to animate it. In fact they are usually designed to be as small as possible to ensure a fast download, rather than be of very high quality.

IM is no exception. The "animate" program will read and process an animation, though it will generally display each frame as it is actually read in and processed. Because of this, the first 'loop' of a VERY LARGE animation can run VERY SLOWLY, but once that first loop is complete, it will suddenly start to run at normal speed.

Web browsers will not start an animation until it has completed that preparation in full, but then images are generally regarded as of secondary importance to the main page on which it runs. Other web animation formats are designed to work while the animation continues to download.

So in summery: Their is no limits to a GIF animation, except those set by the creation and animator programs.
Anthony Thyssen -- Webmaster for ImageMagick Example Pages
https://imagemagick.org/Usage/

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anthony
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Re: how large/long can an animated gif be?

Post by anthony » 2010-10-01T06:01:18-07:00

IM is very capabile of handling, generating and modifying animations. Often more so than many GIF animation creation programs as it has more features.

I recommend you look at the three sections devoted specifically to GIF animations in the IM Examples area.
http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/

Note you do not have to use Command line for this, you can do it from other API's following the same operations and techniques presented in IM Examples.
Anthony Thyssen -- Webmaster for ImageMagick Example Pages
https://imagemagick.org/Usage/

dproc
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Re: how large/long can an animated gif be?

Post by dproc » 2010-10-03T08:12:59-07:00

I would definitely go with a powerpoint-like approach. OpenOffice has a nice powerpoint clone called "Impress", and Google docs also has a presentation editor, both are free. A user can easily step frames forward or backward or play at the rate programmed by the author. The author can easily edit (move players around, change bubble text, etc.), insert, and remove frames. With Impress you can even export your presentation to Flash (and its easy to embed a flash object in an HTML document).

By the way, I ~think~ this "image processing" forum section is for discussions on the theory of mathematical processing of the pixels in an image (for example, a discussion of the theory of image blurring, sharpening, etc. would go in here). But a mod might know for sure. Just sayin.

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