Archive for the ‘GIF’ Category.

Classic Windows Paint for Windows 7 and Windows 8

pictureEarlier releases of Windows – most notably the much-beloved Windows XP, now something of a fond memory – included the elegantly simple and occasionally berated Windows Paint application. For the most part, it was about as useful as a left-leaning politician in a riding with absolutely no bribable voters – but there were situations in which its childlike simplicity and twentieth-century dearth of features made it the ideal software for manipulating a few pixels.

By comparison, Windows Paint under Windows 7 and Windows 8 resembles the drooling idiot offspring of a cheap date in which neither participant was demonstrably human. It’s just sophisticated enough to allow its imperfect antialiasing, questionable drawing tools and counter-intuitive user interface to get in the way.

Long-time users of Paint from a bygone era can often be heard mourning its loss.

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Building Animation Objects for Animation Workshop

While you can create sophisticated banners and other complex animations using Alchemy Mindworks’ Animation Workshop – and nothing else – adding animated objects to Animation Workshop will unquestionably drop it into hyperspace. Alchemy Mindworks offers a suite of inexpensive, easy-to-master tools to build animations.

Animation Workshop will import animations from a number of popular formats. The two you’re most likely to get involved with are GIF and MNG. While conceptually similar, it’s important to understand the distinction between them.

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Building an Alpha-Shadow Animation

PNG/MNG Construction Set and the newly-updated animation plugins with alpha-channel support – the 3D Effects #1 plugin set, as of this writing – allow the creation of animations with sophisticated translucent shadows. Place such an animation over a textured surface or a photograph and its shadow will darken the details of its background, but not obscure them.

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An Introduction to Alpha-Channel Animations

While its sounds like a fragment of dialog from a 1980s science fiction flick shot on a budget in an unnamed eastern European country, alpha channels are actually a profoundly useful feature of graphics… as long as you know what they’re really up to.

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Matting Animations in GIF Construction Set

It’s often convenient to force existing animations to have specific fixed dimensions, that is, to matt them within a colored rectangle. This is easily to accomplish in GIF Construction Set Professional, although the process of doing so might not be immediately obvious.

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Applying Images to Animated 3D Objects

The Alchemy Mindworks 3D Effects #1 plugin can create rotating three-dimensional objects with your choice of still graphics affixed to their faces. Adding pictures to these objects is easy, and if you understand what’s going on behind the curtain, your pictures can look sharp and sophisticated.

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How the Text Effects 4 Plugin Banner was Built

The banner advertisement for the Alchemy Mindworks Text Effects #4 plugin has received considerable comment since it appeared in the banner rotation at our various web pages – and no small degree of interest in how it was created. The procedure was elegantly simple, but perhaps not immediately obvious. You’ll probably be able to use it for your own banners.

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The Text Effects #4 Animation Plugin – Dangerous by Design

Depending upon who you listen to, there may be up to a billion people connected to the world wide web as you read this. Don’t get too excited – they have in excess of 100 million web pages to look at, according to a 2008 report by Domain Tools. If yours in one of them, you’ll need something more than a clever domain of your own to attract the attention of passers-by in cyberspace.

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Avoiding Animation Transparency Halos

Unless you plan animations with transparent elements very carefully – or you’re habitually lucky – you’ll probably encounter an unexpected halo of colored pixels around the object being animated. Transparency halos will trash the seamless appearance of animations against whatever they’re being animated in front of. They’re easy to avoid in GIF Construction Set Professional, but you’ll need to get them by the throat early in the design of your graphics.

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Create Banners with Multiple Animations in Animation Workshop

One of Animation Workshop‘s best tricks is its ability to create conventional GIF animations, such as web page banners, which include multiple independent animated elements. While it’s possible to simply import several animated objects into Animation Workshop and then export a GIF file from them – and hope for the best – you’ll enjoy much more impressive results if you understand what the software is really up to.

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