Kaye and Geoff's web page documentation
IntroductionAnimated pictures can be created for a web page in a variety of ways:
The easiest way to create a simple animated picture is as an animated GIF. This requires no knowledge of programming and the animation is self-contained in a single file which all browsers can display without requiring any plugin. Utility software is available to help you put your animation together, which makes the process relatively straight-forward. If you do not want to make your own there are sites on the net from which you can download animated GIFs made by others - see the graphics documentation for links.
Please reflect carefully before adding animation to your web pages. They can take a long to download, since lots of frames means big file sizes. If you make people wait too long before the image displays then they may well give up and go looking for something more immediate.
Furthermore, lots of things wizzing and moving can be very, very irritating and extremely off-putting to people viewing your pages. Animations catch the eye, drawing attention to themselves, so if the animation isn't highlighting or indicating the most important part of your page, then the page may be better without it. You should look at limiting the number of loops the animation goes through, so that it only plays a few times before becoming a static image. You should also think very carefully before putting more than one animation on a page. Often just a minimum of movement which the user "discovers" is more effective and much less intrusive that something which flashes ten different colours at one second intervals. For example compare this friendly frog (from our froggy game page) with this more colourful but truly awful example [move your mouse over it to stop it].
A garish animation may draw the viewer's attention to your message, but their feeling about it is most likely to be annoyance (or even possibly an epileptic fit, as has happened with some TV advertisements) - not what you want. Also, it can be difficult to concentrate on and read text close to intrusive flashing images.
Multi-image GIFsMulti-image GIF animation allows you to create a single GIF file with mutiple images. The individual images can have their display timing and method of overlay specified within the GIF, and the animation can loop once, a specified number of times, or indefinitely. This gives a lot of flexibility to the animation. Animated GIFs require no plugins or programming, and are supported by all browsers. There are a number of graphics programs that will allow you to build animated GIFs, and including them in your web pages is no different from including any other non-animated picture.
How is it done?