This tut is on how to save gif's without using the gif wizard - usually you will get better results working this way, as the gif can have a strobe like effect if saved via the wizard.

Open up one of your copies of the globe tube and image from this zip file.

Follow the 'A Simple Gift' tut until you have it completed and ready for saving as a gif image.

Below you will find two images of the above graphic - one using the Gif Wizard (the first image) - the second saving it manually.


You will notice in the first image - when looking at the rock the woman is sitting on, that you can see individual pixels. Most people wouldn't be to worried about them, as it doesn't detract too much from the image as a whole, however, you'll notice in the second image the pixels aren't as obvious. This is the more advanced form of saving gif's and I prefer it, as I can play around with the image until it is what I want - as in the image below. Where you will see the colour changes down the rock have blended in more evenly again.

Okay - you're ready to start? Go to File | Export | Gif Optimizer, and you will have the following box in your PSP window. The first screen is dealing with your transparency settings: (remember all PSP images here will be resized for loading so please excuse the clarity.)

Whenever you are saving a gif of an unusual shape, and want to have an invisible background - always have the setting's on this page set to 'Existing image or layer transparency'.

The next tab across is the Partial Transparency settings. This is where - when creating drop shadows to images, you will need to decide how much of a drop shadow you want. The first setting that is circled is where you decide just how much of a drop shadow you want, and how many of the lighter pixels you really need to achive the shadow. I normally have the setting as shown in the diagram (10), as more than this leaves you little shadow effect at all, and less will give you too heavy a drop.

To blend the drop shadow, in this instance a 'grey' tone, use the settings as marked. Depending on the background of the page you may want to alter this colour setting to a darker or lighter setting - your choice ;o)

This third tab (Colors) is where you achieve an even pixel arrangement in the finished image. I'll be showing a few different image combinations here, so please be patient with the downloading. (Remember you can save these pages to your hard drive if you have restrictions on time!). This first image is an over view of the box. With basic settings, when working with gif's you are restricted to 256 colours - one of the reasons for lack of clarity in the image overall. So always have colour images set at 256 colours.

The second box asks you how much dithering you want in your image. Too little and you get the strobe effect, too much and you get a blotchy effect (as seen here - no dithering looks horrible).

Notice how badly the strobe effect has occured on the rock with no dithering at all. (Use your Zoom buttons to view close up's of your image before saving - you'll get a better idea of how it will look on the net.)

Because of the changes in colour over the rock, I need plenty of dithering for this image, but the "Web Safe Colors" tab is too limiting.
While the Optimized Median Cut is closer to the image I'd like - there is still too much of the larger pixels (seen by the bands of plain grey here - outlined).
The pixels on the last choice - Optimized Octree - gives a better blend of colours - as seen in the image here.

As I mentioned before, when saving gif's I always use the Zoom tool available, as it gives a clearer idea of how well the colours in an image will blend, but the decision is yours as you play around with the different choices on this tab.
The second last tab is to ask which type of format you would like. Interlaced or non-interlaced. This is purely personal preference - do you want your image to appear as if someone where focussing their camera on your graphic - starts blurry and improves in clarity, or each line appearing in a downward driection (most gif's appear in this way on the web).

For transparent gif's always make sure 'Version 89a' is marked active.

This last tab is purely to give you an idea of download times for your image. The top circled area tells you how large your gif image file will be, the download speeds and times appear as marked. (And how much do we envy those with cable modems??? **raises hand** **green with envy**

One way of cutting down on your file size is to crop the file as close to the image as possible, so there is very little "transparency" around the image itself.

To do this, simply go to Layers | Merge | Merge Visible, so all the layers are now one. Using your magic wand with the setting of 'Feather = 0' click on the outer surrounds of the image, then go to Selections | Invert Selection -- Selections | Modify | Expand and expand the selection by 2. Go to Image | Crop to Selection. The image I have created wouldn't show too much difference in byte size, as there wasn't much outer transparency available to start with, but when using some tubes, the outer area is a lot larger, and cropping to the image itself can count for up to 20 kb.

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October 2002.
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