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Icon Love [Mar. 3rd, 2006|10:56 am]
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[Current Mood |satisfiedsatisfied]

It took me over eight hours trying to figure the programs out, but I think I've finally managed it. *woohoo!* My first (well, technically, second, but it is my first CC) animated gif! *Note: if you decide to use/borrow it, please credit me as it took me quite a while to make it. Perhaps my next experience in animated gif making will be shorter.

Thanks to calledinvain for the tucows site info. I downloaded most if not all animated gif shareware/freeware to test (and then I uninstalled the ones I didn't like), and these are my results.

I like(d) and/or am keeping (until the trial period ends): Animated GIF producer 3.0 (Trial version), Zoner GIF Animator 5, and GIF Construction Set Professional. The rest were harder to figure out and/or added their logos/disclaimers to the GIFs when I tried to save them (which of course, detracts from the picture); this includes the CoffeeCup software. The first is the easiest to use, and was the one I used to get clips of the movie.

Now, the movie was an ordeal of its own. If you download it, it is automatically saved as a Windows Media Player (I didn't try QuickTime) ASX file. It took me several searches - trying to see if there was a way to convert an ASX file to AVI or something else. At long last, through a forum, I discovered that I could open the ASX file in Notepad and find the real WMA file that I longed for. After downloading the actual WMA file, I used the Animated GIF program to create the frames. The actual scene has about 41 frames. After resizing it to 100 x 100, it still is approx 300 KB in size. Which then brought me to the lj dilemma (where icons can only be up to 40 KB).

Here is where I ran into my "problems". I thought if I shrunk it further and added a stagnant background - like the dual icons I see on lj (where only a small section is actually "moving") - then the file size would be fine. ECH! Had I known that it wouldn't have made any difference, I wouldn't have tried. But I gained the experience trying to figure it out. So... to combine the smaller animation with a larger background, it took a bit of trial and error (lots of error) and that is where the third program gains merit. The first two I listed above (unless I am just blind and had no patience trying to merge frames) can't do the job, so to speak. It can fade in and out, but it can't combine the smaller animation with the larger background. With the third program, I was able to do it. But alas, the file size was still pretty big.

So, after I figured that out, I decided to go back to my original idea of creating the animated gif full-icon size (and not just in a little window).

Basically, after all of this, I found out that to make the 40 KB max size - I can only have 4-5 frames in my gif. Four is optimal. Five, I had to shrink it slightly - about 95 x 95 instead of 100 x 100. That's why the gif is a bit "choppy" because I had to remove 36 out of 41 frames.

Now - in the midst of all this - I don't remember which program I used to insert the text. Adding text to each frame was a mess in itself. It might have been from a program that I have already uninstalled, or it could be from either of the first two (although I think the first doesn't have a texting option). Maybe it's the second. *sigh* I'll just have to figure that out later if I decide I'm crazy enough to try again.

So there you have it. I think I ripped out enough hair trying to figure it out... I think I may leave the gif/icon making to the "professionals". So now, I'm off to write fics. :)

BTW, the scene is from the "behind the scenes at the Yule Ball" extra/promotional clip. Since they're not actually "filming" the scene, I imagine Robert is saying "look at you!" to Katie (hence, raising his right hand to wave at her all dressed up) and giving her a twirl to check out all sides ;). Squeal & Sigh - Just love the friendship/camaraderie!