Thursday, May 24, 2012

Creating Animations on the Web

Animation on the Web - How to create these effects and animations ? 

Types of Web Animation

The ability to create animation on the Web has grown significantly in the past year. Recent developments in animation tools for the Web makes it possible to create animations quicker and easier than ever before. The sophistication of your animations depends on the sophistication of the tools you are using; you can create anything form basic “flip-book” style animations in complex interactive animations. At first, Web animations had only two options: the client/server push and the GIF animation package.
There are several major tools now available to create animated content for the Web, ranging from shareware GIF animator to tools that work with commercial software.\

GIF animations
If you are looking for an inexpensive, powerful, and low-bandwidth way to create animations for the Web, GIF animations may be the solution for you. GIF animations are based on a component of the GIF file format that supports storing “flip-book” animations as single GIF file. As a result, GIF animations can be embedded in HTML documents by using the same <IMG SRC> tag you use to embed ordinary GIF graphic files. Furthermore, GIF animations don’t require plug-ins or helpers in order to be displayed in a browser. There are several online resources for creating GIF animations – one such site “The world of GIF animations”

Macromedia’s Shockwave is a set of utilities that make it possible to create Web-based animations with Macromedia’s Director multimedia authoring package because of the number of features Director makes available, shockwave is the animation generator for the Web. On the other hand, Director also carries a sizable price tag (approx. $800 to $900) and a steep learning curve.

Client/Server push
Client/server push is a browser based alternative to GIF-based animation files. To use client/server push a client must request and load a series of images from a Web server. Creating a client/server push animation involves sending a download message from the browser to the Web server for each image in the animation. As every image in a client/server push animation is downloaded sequentially, client/server push animations are significantly slower than GIF animations, because of the relative complexity, slowness, and heavy bandwidth needs of client/server push animations they have all but been replaced by GIF animations as inexpensive animations for the Web.
What is GIF Animations?
GIF animations consist of a series of GIF images saved (usually via software) as a single GIF animation file. GIF animations are accessed with the <IMG SRC> HTML tag. In other words, in exactly the same way single GIF graphic files are encoded into a Web site.

1)      GIF animation design tools are available as shareware or freeware; and can be used on Macintosh, Windows, and UNIX platforms.

2)      No additional plug-ins is necessary – Gif animations can be displayed on any graphical browser configuration.
3)      GIF animations take up less bandwidth and network resources than the other low-cost, browser-independent Web animation option, the client/server push.

A little background                          
GIF animation dates back to 1987, when the GIF87 standard was created. One of the specifications allowed for the creation of presentation graphics within a single GIF file. This tremendously useful feature was largely ignored until December, 1995, when a series of postings on the Internet and the WELL (a subscriber service in Northern California) led to widespread usage of the presentation graphics feature of GIF87 (now GIF89) to create animations on the Web.

Creating GIF animations
Creating GIF animations is a relatively simple process. This section shows you how.
Software tools
Both GIF Builder and GIF Construction set allow you to create animated GIFs. The basic procedures for their use are described below. For further information, consult the documentation bundled with each of these applications.
GIF Builder and GIF construction set are included on the Web Media magic CD-ROM.

Generating frames
1)      Locate the GIF files you will use to construct the animation.
2)      Put them in order you wish them to appear
3)      Load the files one frame at a time
4)      Save the new compilation under a new GIF file title name(be sure not to write over one of your GIF graphics files by saving the animation with the title one of the single GIFs

Controlling the frame rate
GIF builder allows the Macintosh user to set the frame rate by controlling the delay between frames in 1/100th of second increments. Note that this is not set uniformly between frames over the entire animation, but for each frame. You could, for example, set the frame delay at 10/100ths of a second (1/2 of a second delay) for the next 10, and so on. Just be sure to be somewhat consistent in your frame rates- otherwise, you’ll make your user seasick (or web sick, as the case maybe)

The animation wizard (included with the GIF Construction Set) is a utility for creating GIF animations for Windows. It also allows adjustment of frame rates. It can be useful tool, especially if you’re new to creating animated content. For experienced users, however, the degree of hand-holding the Wizard utility may prove somewhat annoying.

Fortunately, the Wizard allows you to set the frame rate manually, although creating GIF animations manually on Windows-based machines can be complicated (which is one of the reasons that Animation Wizard is so hand-holding), For example, you have to manually specify header block of a GIF animation in order to be usable.


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