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Best answer gets 110 pts

Posted on 1998-09-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I would like to know some good banner designing programs.

TIP: You will get better marks if a demo is downloadable/free trial available etc.

PLACE YOUR ANSWERS AS COMMENTS OR YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED
YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS as winners will be contacted by e-mail.

It must be possible to animate the banner, and I don't really care if it is "a regular drawing program/tool" as long as it can save in both GIF and JPEG extentions.

Entries will be judged 9-9.30 PM (NZ time) 30/9/98
That's 12-12.30 AM PACIFIC TIME 09/30/98

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ENTRY
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Question by:DannoNZ
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32 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Lischke
ID: 1112438
What is the special requirment a banner needs that not any drawing tool can supply? Is it that you need it animated?

Ciao, Mike
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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112439
Edited text of question
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by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112440
Edited text of question
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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112441
Edited text of question
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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112442
Edited text of question
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Expert Comment

by:ckayter
ID: 1112443
Apart from banner creation capability (something any graphics application can do) and .gif animation (typically, a separate utility), what else is important to you?

Ease of use?

Price?

Additional functionality?

What applications are you currently using? Some possible solutions offer discounts/rebates to users of other apps. Some possible solutions are plug-ins or add-ons to existing software.

For instance, when it comes to .gif animations, Ulead sets the standard. (http://www.ulead.com/webutilities/) A 15-day trial is available. They also have another utility you might be interested in: SmartSaver. This app allows you to optimize size and quality. You'll want to use something like this before you combine images for animation to achieve the smallest possible animated gif file size.

How about .png support? This new format is great because it combines all the advantages of .jpg and .gif file types. True color with transparency.

My tool of choice for web graphics is one that is a) easy to use; b) feature-rich; and c) included with my HTML editor. For about $140US, you can have Image Composer (which can use PhotoShop Plug-Ins), the Button Wizard (really cool button tool), GIF Animator (not as sleek as Ulead's, but it gets the job done), AND WYSIWYG HTML Editor that automates ActiveX controls, AND Web Management with FrontPage Explorer.

http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/productinfo/default.htm
                       and
http://www.microsoft.com/imagecomposer/default.htm


I'm not trying to sell you on more than you need, but perhaps for the same $$$ or less, you can get more than just a banner maker and gif animator... The only drawback to FrontPage is that you can't try before you buy, although they do have a really cool multimedia demo at the website for FP and a Guided Tour for Image Composer. Supports all common graphics types and even lets you include Office ClipArt images (.wmf files) in your images. IC is OLE compliant, which means that WordArt (from MS Word), MS Draw, and any other OLE compliant tools are available for use in your graphic images. Very easy to learn and to use.

Comment if you have questions and please reply to my inquiries above re: what else is important.

Colleen
webmaster@notofthisworld.com

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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112444
RE: what else is important?

Ease of use and price are the main factors, but swinging towards price.

RE: Ckayter

Your suggestions have been entred.
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Expert Comment

by:vlad_impala
ID: 1112445
I would recommend Paint Shop Pro (version 5) - it's a good all round image editing and image creation tool - and importantly for image creation it includes layers - it can do most of the things that a professional package like Adobe Photoshop can and some things it cannot.  It comes with it's own gif animation package, but I didn't find it as good as my preferred tool - Gif Construction set.  

Gif Construction provides a wizard for the easy creation of Animated gifs, and it can also create nice text effect images and animate them.

Another piece of image software that you would probably find useful is Dicer, it takes an image and neatly chops it up - for use in tables of images that join up the create a larger image - you see this technique all over the web.

Dicer is Freeware/shareware, Gif Construction set is Shareware, whilst a 30 day evaluation version of Paint Shop Pro 5 is available.

Check out the following sites...
Dicer - http://www.shareware-shop.com/rev168.htm or http://www.ziplink.net/~shoestring/
Paint Shop Pro 5 -http://www.jasc.com/
Gif Construction Set - http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/alchemy.html

Vlad.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:MasseyM
ID: 1112446
Microsoft just released LiquidMotion which is dsigned for banners and animated graphics...

http://www.microsoft.com/liquidmotion/

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Expert Comment

by:ckayter
ID: 1112447
It is? Seems to me that Liquid Motion is more like Macromedia. And after 9/15, it's intro price of $55US goes away. It'll be up to $150US.

Colleen

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Expert Comment

by:lvalics
ID: 1112448
You must checkout AdobeImageReady. Is avaible a demo (savedisabled) version on their site at www.adobe.com

Also another good banner animator is from Extensis (www.extensis.com) PhotoAnimator. Demo fully functional avaible.

An another great tool is Macromedia Fireworks, demo avaible from www.macromedia.com

Hope this help
Valics Lehel
lvalics@grafx.ro

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Expert Comment

by:arnond
ID: 1112449
goto:
http://www.agag.com/howto/softwarelist-toc.shtml

you'll get a list of dozens of software companies which offer www animation producing applications. (not only GIF animations)
some apps are freeware, some are shareware and some may cost up to 200$ or more. take your pick.

my e-mail is:
sarnon@t2.technion.ac.il
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Expert Comment

by:vlad_impala
ID: 1112450
I forgot to put an e-mail address on my suggestions...
it's  vlad.impala@btinternet.com
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Expert Comment

by:Grdv
ID: 1112451
I would as vlad_impala recommend Paint Shop Pro 5 with it's Animation Shop...
it's really easy to use, you get familiar with the GUI in a few seconds and you can do lot of effects and use plugins and god now what...
it's a cheap package for doing everything imagerelated, compared to Photoshop which it sometimes outrank it's free...
and for some ppl it's completely free...

my email: ripclan@hotmail.com
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:ckayter
ID: 1112452
grdv: PSP5 is only free if you don't pay for it, in which case you are pirating software. Shareware is not the same as freeware.

JASC (the makers of PSP5) request payment upon completion of your evaluation of their software. The current price is $70US.

Colleen

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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112453
OK, I have returned to look at your suggestions...


. got a few more than I expected...


. You may continue filing suggestions if you wish, judging should be finished within 20 days (i.e. October 22 1998).


Daniel Hawke
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Expert Comment

by:gikam
ID: 1112454
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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112455
Expert GIKAM is now disqualified from the prize runnings.
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Expert Comment

by:gikam
ID: 1112456
Why ?!?!?
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Expert Comment

by:arnond
ID: 1112457
read the question... it lists all the rules (includeing the disqualification of answers.)
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Expert Comment

by:ckayter
ID: 1112458
Hey, Danno! You gotta see what this software can do! I attended a Microsoft Office 2000 show yesterday where they demo'd PhotoDraw. AWESOME!!!

30-Day Trial Version will be available soon and the product will be released Q1 or Q2 1999.

http://www.microsoft.com/office/2000/Photodraw/Brochure/default.htm

VERY IMPRESSIVE!!! And it will be available both as a standalone product AND as an included component in the Office 2000 Premiere Edition...

Colleen

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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112459
Now, if gikam is being pissy at any one of you because of his disqualification - tell him it is because the question is no longer in the main list when there is an answer there - and I can't properly award you the points.

After looking at each of your suggestions, I have almost decided on PSP5, from vlad_impala.  The only problem is I don't know how to animate the banners, so If vlad, you could send me a step-by-step guide on how to make my banners animated, I will purchace the product then give you your requred 110 points.  

Thanks for all your experts patience during the marking process, the only reason that someone else could win now is:

a) vlad can't come up with the guide that I can follow
b) The demo of photodraw is better, and out which I am about to go to (sorry about not evaluating that yet)

You should hear from me within 3 days on my final decision.

MORE TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

VLAD MUST COME UP WITH A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE WITHIN 72 HOURS OF 10:00 PM NEW ZEALAND STANDARD TIME (FRIDAY 23 OCTOBER) I.E. 10:00 PM NZ STANDARD (+1300 GMT) ON MONDAY 26 OCTOBER 1998.

YOU CAN CHECK THE NEW ZEALAND TIME AT http://members.spree.com/dannonz/default.htm

 -- vlad, feel free to use ICQ#20774542 and hawke@best.net.nz

Bye,

DannoNZ
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:vlad_impala
ID: 1112460
Step by Step guide to creating an animated Gif to use as a banner.

An animated gif is essentially a series of frames displayed one after each other at
pre-determined intervals.  The series can play once or repeat.  Here is a quick guide
to creating one using Paint Shop Pro (PSP) and GIF Construction Set (GCS).  It is basically
a two stage process, first you create the images or frames of the animation, then you create
the animated gif from them.

Stage 1 - Creating the frames

1) Decide what sort of effect you are looking for and how many frames it needs to have,
   note that as a general rule the more frames you have the larger the final file shall be
   and the longer it will take to download.  It usually helps to do some planning before you
   start.
2) decide on the size of your banner e.g. 460x60 pixels and create a new image of that size
   in PSP
3) Using PSP and the tools available create you first 'frame'
4) Save it as a GIF image - name it frame1.gif
5) Repeat 3 and 4 to create images for each of your remaining frames, naming them frame2.gif
   frame3.gif etc  it is important that each image is the same size.


Stage 2 - Creating the animation

1) Open Gif Construction Set and from the file menu select Animation Wizard
2) Follow the instructions, pay particular attention to the Loop Once/Indefinately and
   palette options (see below).  The default delay is 100 Hundredths i.e. 1 second, you
   will normally want the frames to refresh a bit quicker then that, the exact speed will
   depend on the effect you want to achieve.
3) Select the files you created in stage 1 in the order you want them to display, you can
   select more than one at once.  When you have select all your files, choose Cancel on the
   'Open File'  dialog.
4) Continue on and allow GFC to create your animated file.
5) View the nimation using the View Button
6) It is unlikely that the animation will be exactly as you want straight out of the wizard
   so now the fun starts.  The components that define the Animation are listed in the window
   and each one can be individually edited.  the most useful are the Control components -
   each image has a control component listed just before it.  You can change the interval
   at which each frame appears and set the transparent colour for the frame, you can use this
   to make a frame of the animation linger on screen longer than the others.
7) Continue tweaking each of the components until you get the effect you are looking for.
8) Save it!

More information can be found in the Help system of both packages.
You can now insert the animation into your web page just like a normal image.

Hints and Tips for smaller Animations (and quicker dowloads!).
1) Keep the image as small as possible
2) Keep the number of frames to a minimum
3) Keep the number of colours to a minimum (see below)
4) Try and have large 'blocks' of colours - the encoding of GIFs makes them unsuitable for
   photographic images, try not to make animations of photos,  GIFs like large horizontal
   blocks of colour.

Hints about Palettes
All the images in your animation will use the same set of colours (the palette), if the
palettes differ GCS will re-map the colours to the palette you chose during the wizard
creation.  If you want to be certain that the frames will look as you intended them to
when you created them make sure each one uses the same palette (if you edit the standard
GIF palette you can save it in PSP and later load it 'into' other images - all through the
colours menu - thus ensuring they use the same palette).  When you use the GCS wizard you
should then tell it to use the first palette.  You can also try reducing the number of
colours your image uses to 16 for example, again the colours menu in PSP allows you to do
this, fewer colours mean smaller files but also give you less artistic freedom.

Good luck in you attempts, you may find that your first few attempts are a bit disappointing
but you will soon get the hang of it.

Vlad.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112461
Uhh, where do I get the GIF construciton set from?  If it is already with PSP, where is it stored?  I think that would be why I couldn't animate my GIFs.  Could you tell me where it is stored on my HDD or a URL where I can download it from.

Thanks for all your help,

DannoNZ  hawke@best.net.nz
0
 

Expert Comment

by:bumpypigg
ID: 1112462
uh.. are you guys aware that PSP5, the current version, comes bundled with Animation Shop (a top-notch gif animator?)You can move your gifs directly over into animation shop and compress them using the save function.... pretty simple really.
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Expert Comment

by:vlad_impala
ID: 1112463
Gif Construction Set - http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/alchemy.html

bumpypigg
I know PSP5 comes with Animation Shop and it has it's advantages, but in my opinion Gif Construction Set is a better tool.

Vlad.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:elfi
ID: 1112464
Gif Construction Set, by Alchemy Mindworks is flat out incredible. It not only animates images, it creates standard sized banners, either animated or non-animated, with dozens of different effects. The banner creation module of GCS is so simple a child can use it, but flexible enough to please even the toughest critic. Check it out. I think it's $20 to register, which is a flipping BARGAIN. Don't need the points, so if you decide I win, please give em to somebody else.
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Expert Comment

by:vlad_impala
ID: 1112465
I think I have to say that this question is no longer in the spirit of what I think experts exchange is all about.  I don't view Experts Exchange as some sort of competition and I especially don't think individual questions should become mini-competitions like this one has.

I accept that it is fair to allow the person asking the question to have some time to evaluate to proposals and accept the answer they feel provides the best solution to the problem.  But DannoNZ has set themself up as judge, jury and executioner for this question, laying down sets of rules, changing the rules to suit themselves and finally adding further conditions to win the honour of gaining 110 pts.  The original question was to recommend software to create animated banners, not to provide a step by step guide on how to do this.  It is only fair for those who have taken the time and effort to "answer" the question to expect that the person asking the question has the ability to evaluate the answer, and furthermore that they should do so in a timeous manner.

The whole point of experts exchange is that "you pay your points and you take your choice", so far DannoNZ has paid no points and made no choices, so come on DannoNZ put you points where your mouth is - accept an answer and get with the spirit of Experts exchange.

If DannoNZ takes offence at this comment and decides not to award the 110 pts, then, after more than two months of participation, it won't bother me - I am past caring.

Vald.

P.S. notify the "winner" here - in this question - rather than by e-mail - let everyone know.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:elfi
ID: 1112466
Just actually read all of the answers to this question, and holy cow if Vlad doesn't have a really good, solid point there. It also kind of looks like old DannoNZ grabbed Vlad's suggestions on 10/23 and split the forum, taking his points and stuff with him. What a dweeb.

Vlad, you went above and beyond the call of duty on this one, in good faith. I recommend you contact EE customer service and ask for some sort of resolution on this one. You earned those points, in spades.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112467
I'm sorry about this folks - I'm going to give you the points - I just haven't been here for a while - vlad - post any answer and I'll give you pts.

Really sorry,

DannoNZ
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LVL 3

Accepted Solution

by:
vlad_impala earned 110 total points
ID: 1112468
Here is my original comment as an answer...

I would recommend Paint Shop Pro (version 5) - it's a good all round image editing and image creation tool - and importantly for image creation it includes layers - it can do most of the things that a professional package like Adobe Photoshop can and some things it cannot.  It comes with it's own gif animation package, but I didn't find it as good as my preferred tool - Gif Construction set.  

Gif Construction provides a wizard for the easy creation of Animated gifs, and it can also create nice text effect images and animate them.

Another piece of image software that you would probably find useful is Dicer, it takes an image and neatly chops it up - for use in tables of images that join up the create a larger image - you see this technique all over the web.

Dicer is Freeware/shareware, Gif Construction set is Shareware, whilst a 30 day evaluation version of Paint Shop Pro 5 is available.

Check out the following sites...
Dicer - http://www.shareware-shop.com/rev168.htm or http://www.ziplink.net/~shoestring/
Paint Shop Pro 5 -http://www.jasc.com/
Gif Construction Set - http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/alchemy.html

Vlad.
0
 
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Author Comment

by:DannoNZ
ID: 1112469
Thanks all - bye.

DannoNZ
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