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23.6. Optimizing Animated GIFs

As with any file served over the Web, it is important to keep animated GIFs as small as possible. I highly recommend reading "Optimizing Animated GIFs," an article and tutorial by Andrew King in WebReference.com, from which many of the following tips were summarized (with permission). You can find it at http://www.webreference.com/dev/gifanim/index.html.

23.6.1. Image Compression

Start by applying the same file-size reduction tactics used on regular, static GIF files to the images in your animation frames. For more information, see "Minimizing GIF File Sizes" in Chapter 19, "GIF Format". These measures include:

  • Reducing the number of colors.

  • Reducing the bit depth.

  • Eliminating unnecessary dithering.

  • Applying the "loss" feature available in Adobe ImageReady and Macromedia Fireworks. ImageReady 3 allows you to do weighted optimization where loss can be applied more agressively to selected areas of the image. If your tool does not include a loss function, you can manually remove stray pixels from otherwise solid areas.

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