Microsoft Gif Animator
The Microsoft Gif Animator is one of the simplest programs for constructing animated gifs. Until recently, it could be freely downloaded on the web at http://www.microsoft.com, but has since been packaged with another larger image editing suite. However, the original, free standalone program is available on the CRPC server.
You can obtain it by using WS-FTP to access your account on girltech.cs.rice.edu. Once you are in, change the remote directory to
The "gifsetup" file is what you want. Before downloading, make sure the transfer mode is set to "binary."
I will be using the Gif Animator to modify the nifty slide show found at the CRPC Homepage, http://www.crpc.rice.edu/CRPC/.
Here I have opened the program. The toolbar is simple and intuitive, and the yellow "opened file" symbol is used to open an existing file.
This is the dialogue box used to open a pre-existing animated GIF file. Select the file and double click it, or click "Open."
The program now shows each individual frame of the animation, and they can be scrolled through. The "animation" tab controls the width and height of the animation, in addition to allowing you to specify whether you want the animation to repeat forever (looping), or simply stop after a specified number of cycles (repeat count). When using the program to compose an animation, all frames (created with a separate program, such as Photoshop) must be of the same dimensions. Here they are 125x125; however, after composing the animation, the dimensions of the finished product can be altered.
We will next insert a new slide. Click the "insert image" icon (with the yellow "+") to bring up the dialogue box to select a *.gif file to insert. Note that the first frame is selected. The new frame will be inserted ABOVE the one currently selected.
This is the dialogue box used to open an image to insert into the animation.
The new frame has been inserted. As a new slide is inserted above the one currently selected, it is best to start with the last frame of the animation, and work back, inserting them one by one. You can also cut (select a frame and press control - X), copy (control - C) and paste (control - V) frames to rearrange them in any order you prefer. With the "image" tab, you can control the duration (in 100ths of a second) that the selected frame will be displayed on the screen. Since this particular animation is a slideshow, 1.5 (150 100ths) seconds is a good duration to use. Note that you have to specify a duration for each individual frame. If you want a seamless, movielike animation, setting the duration to 0 or a low number is preferred. You can now save your animation with the "disk" icon on the toolbar, or use "save as" (the "disks" icon) to specify a name for the animation if it is new.
If you have any questions, don't hesitiate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, (713) 348-2845.
February 16, 2006
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