Making Animated GIFs

Finally, you need to convert your animation into a GIF file. To do this, go to the File menu, and select Save for Web and Devices.

Here you have several options which will affect the quality and file size of your finished animation. The most obvious adjustment is the palette colour depth. The best quality is of course a 256-colour palette, but this will also produce the largest file. Reducing the palette size reduces the quality, but means quicker uploading.

A 32 or 64-colour palette is usually sufficient for most web-based applications. You can also adjust the degree of compression by moving the "Lossy" slider, but this will also have a dramatic effect on image quality. Setting the Loss level to no more than 25 percent is advisable. Lastly to can adjust the Dither, the type of shading the program uses to blend colours in the image. This will also have a small effect on file size.

As well as these options, there is a second animated GIF menu, which saves images in a format specifically tailored to mobile phones and other devices. If you click on the Device Central button on the bottom right of the Save for Web and Devices screen, you'll go to a page where you can find a list of mobile phones, although the list is slightly out of date, so your model may not be listed. Consult your phone's user manual to find out how to install animated screensavers.

Whether you use this or the normal save routine, save your GIF under whatever file name you like, and you're ready to use it on your website, email or whatever.


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