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Old 04-24-2017, 04:05 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Great Plains, USA
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Default Advice on Animation Software, Creating GIFs/Animated Videos

Hopefully this is an appropriate place for this topic; I realize this forum isn't exactly about animation. I have a few questions:

1.) Flash vs. Alternative Software
I have a contractor animation project coming up where I need to draw a kiln cross-sectioned at various angles and animate its unique airflow. I have a lot of experience with Flash (mostly the prehistoric MX version from '02) from my medical illustration/animation days, so I'm thinking I should purchase a version of that. Once complete, I would likely have to use conversion software to create the needed video format from the SWF, but it shouldn't be too hard. However, I wanted to ask if anyone recommends alternative animation programs over Flash. I want something that allows traditional frame-by-frame animation; however, I also rely on effects in Flash like shape/motion tweening and masking effects that some software may not have (When a bunch of air is moving like a school of fish, I don't want to be dependent on drawing every single frame).

I believe the client wants the video for his website. Are there other factors I'm not taking into consideration such as narration, resolution, or file formatting?

2.) How to Create Looping GIFs/Animated Videos
I currently have Photoshop CS2 which has an Animation window. I imagine this should provide me the base capabilities to create nice looping GIFs (like this). However, if I want a broader color range (GIFs tend to get grainy in that regard) I'd also be interested in publishing short looping video animations with no color restrictions. Would this be possible in Photoshop CS2? Or would I need an additional software to convert PNG sequences from Photoshop into a video format?

Thank you.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:26 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2004
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I'm clueless but keeping my fingers crossed that somone will pop in with useful info for you. From what I've read Flash is problematic and has moved out of favor so I'd look to see what alternatives are out there...

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Old 04-25-2017, 01:38 PM   #3
Steve Rindsberg
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,211

Terrie's point about Flash having moved out of favor is valid if you plan to serve up the final product as a SWF, but at about the time I was composing my own warning message, I got to the bit where you mentioned converting the SWF to some other format for distribution. That left us with "It's a very capable animation tool, and one you know." So using it makes good sense to me, though I'd test the available SWF-to-Whatever converters to make sure you can find one that does a good job.

Steve Rindsberg
and stuff
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:02 PM   #4
Bo Aakerstrom
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Location: Derby,UK
Posts: 1,433

If your client needs the animations to work on a smartphone or tablet, Flash is a non-starter as it does not work on those browsers. All people will see is a black square/rectangle.

I've had to learn how to make GIFs recently for a project. It is quite addictive once you get going. I use GIMP, but PhotoShop would be good for this as well.

For more complex animations you could use AfterEffects and export as a GIF.

By the way, the image you linked to started life a a vector graphic with a limited number of colours and the frames are set to combine - meaning only the differences between one frame and the next changes. Hence it plays smoothly. GIFs doesn't have to be grainy unless you want them to be.

If you open the image in PhotoShop you should see all the 40 frames and how long they are set to show (80ms).

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Last edited by Bo Aakerstrom; 04-25-2017 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Missed a word out... AND re-ordered two sentences!
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