Xara 2.0 Instructions | WebReference

Xara 2.0 Instructions

Xara 2.0 Instructions

Optimizing Animated GIFs

What follows is a short tutorial on optimizing animated GIFs using Xara 2.0 from Xara Ltd, by Paul Ferzoco. Note that the 4884 byte 21-color penguin meets our contest rules (frame differenced), however the 16 color version has little loss of quality.

Instructions
1.Open Xara:
 

Opens program to blank document

2.Create New animation:
 

File, New, Animation (or <Ctrl-Shft>-<N>

Creates a new, blank animation template

3.Import the existing file:
 

File, Import ( or <Ctrl>-I), then select original source file.

This imports each frame of the priginal animation into the document. Each frame is placed on a separate layer.

4.Preview (as-is):
 

Select Utilities, Preview Animation in Browser...

This will open a HTML preview page in your default browser. You should see the file size at 4884 bytes.

5.Set new animation properties:
 

Select Utilities, Animation Properities.. (or from the Frame Galllery - <Shft>-F12 - press the Properties button).

On the Animation Colors tab change the "Number of Colors in Palette" to 21. Press "Apply".

6.Preview the results in browser:
 

Select Utilities, Preview Animation in Browser...

This will open a HTML preview page in your default browser. You should see the file size still at 4884 bytes. This is because Xara automatically optimizes to the fewest number of colors. Although we had specified 21 colors, Xara determined there were fewer than that and optimized accordingly.

7.Set new animation properties:
 

Select Utilities, Animation Properities.. (or from the Frame Galllery - <Shft>-F12 - press the Properties button).

On the Animation Colors tab change the "Number of Colors in Palette" to 16. Press "Apply".

8.Preview the new animation again:
 

The new animation is now 4443 bytes. We've now forced optimization below what was calculated, with little or no loss in quality.

9.Delete the redundant frame:
 

From the "Frames Gallery" (<Shft>-F12) click on the layer called "Imported Frame 7", then click the "Delete" button (one of the Frame Gallery buttons). This leaves six frames in the animation: "Imported Frame 1" through "Imported Frame 6".

10.Preview the animation again:
 

The animation is now down to 4244 bytes. Because Frame 7 was just a repeat of Frame 1 it could be safely deleted, saving more bytes.

11.Additional Optimization:
 

Optimization beyond this point would be pure WOMBAT.

12.Things to consider:
 

First, the original I was working with was a previously exported GIF animation, something we would never base our work on. All animation should be created from vector and exported as GIF.

Xara does not have a user-selectable "optimization" routine, per se. It automatically optimizes.

No program is perfect, or all things to all people, and Xara is no exception. I just think it is the most sadly overlooked tool on the market. After a very short learning curve you will quickly find that not only is the damn thing f-a-s-t, but the easy access to features dramatically increases your efficiency and production. And, aside from needing to do good work, isn't that what it's all about?

Comments are welcome

By Paul Ferzoco and
Created: Oct. 7, 1996
Revised: Aug. 9, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/dev/gifanim/xara.html