Animated GIFs And ActionScript

Last night I spent a lot more time on research and skill building! LOL. I picked up a tip that you can stop an animated GIF from animating in the browser by pressing the ESC key. So in order to document that I decided to create a new help topic on every one of my graphics programs support for animated GIFs. Do you see how I manage to inflate everything into a task that takes hours of my time?

Actually I found a lot of interesting ways to create animated GIFs. After Effects can render a movie as an animated GIF using dither, a web safe palette, or a system palette. I tried each option and documented the results with screen captures after stopping the animation with the ESC key. The dithered animated GIF created the largest file.

Next I used ImageReady CS2 to create an animated GIF. I copied some stuff directly from the Adobe Help System into my notes which is probably a waste of time. But I did learn that ImageReady has an option to export an animation as a Macromedia Flash file (i.e. SWF). I rarely use that program and needed to document some basic instructions on how to create an animation. That may save me some time later and I’ll know to use ImageReady instead of Photoshop if I’m doing something for animation.

Then I exported a Flash movie as an animated GIF. This is probably a better option than publishing a SWF which will require the Flash Player plug-in. If your Flash movie is simple text animation then it will look fine as an animated GIF. It would be far easier to deploy an animated GIF than a Flash file. You can use shape tweening to make some fancy animated GIFs that would be too difficult to produce otherwise.

I also made some progress in studying Flash. I found a list of all the Flash keyboard shortcuts on the Internet so I added that to my notes. Now I don’t need to write down every keyboard shortcut I find mentioned in my books on Flash. I also copied the Flash help system’s images to my notes project so I won’t need to hunt down images for my notes. I waste enough time on managing screen captures. I took some notes on the debugger in Flash which might impress Visual Studio users and I documented some Flash Video Encoder information because I am especially interested in Flash video. The main reason I’m learning Flash instead of Silverlight is that Flash is used extensively for video on the Internet. YouTube uses Flash to play its videos and Stickam uses Flash for its webcam chat. Most of my books on Flash only cover ActionScript because as a programmer that was my focus but now I realize that I could use a book on Flash basics as well.

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