The Cyberoptic GIF Solution (COGS) is a program for batch-compressing GIF animations
without affecting their appearance in any way.
The recompressed animations are pixel-for-pixel equivalent to the original animations
if fewer than 256 colours are used in the animation.
(More than 256 colours may be used in GIFs; take a look at
itsagif for more information on colourful GIFs.)
The Cyberoptic GIF Solution is often capable of reducing an animated GIF as most GIF programs
do not maximally compress their output.
If you only process a few animated GIFs, or you are also interested in previewing
animated GIFs, you should look into our one-at-a-time GIF compressor,
A Smaller GIF.
Product review by Denton and Carol.
[Denton] I was making the tutorial a week ago on gif compression
and optimization, plugging Pedagoguery Software’s product—A
Smaller Gif—when I decided “Been a while, time to visit”.
So I clicked through to peda.com and saw a new product... Brand
SPANKING new. It was a batch optimizer, designed to rip through
loads of animations and come out the other side. It is called
COGS, or Cyberoptic Gif Solution. So, of course I scribble a
quick email to Brenda Tupper and after a bit of paying homage
to the gurus of all things animated I had a shiny new copy to
evaluate. Macintosh version, PowerPC native. I’m in heaven.
Brenda also provided a 32 bit Windows copy for Carol. My kind
of software company, caters to all platforms.
[Denton] So we put COGS to the acid test, and here we go... Remember,
if what Carol says is different from what I say, that’s because
of platform differences.
[Denton] Documentation is pretty good. I noticed their description
of the product in the Read Me First file, and they talk about
the registration cost ($98). Because it’s designed to process
lots of gifs, it would be very ideal for clipart companies and
the like. I don’t think the registration fee will be restrictive
to those types of users. But they do mention in the same paragraph,
“If you want to be able to batch compress GIF animations,
but the registration cost for the cyberoptic GIF solution is
beyond your budget, please email us.” I’m guessing that
to mean they’ll consider the lowly person trying to build up
an image arsenal? What a cool bunch of people.
[Denton] In the reference manual, they go over all the program’s
options and compression schemes. This program isn’t too complicated.
Most gif artists will be able to browse through the manual and
five minutes later know exactly what they wanted their settings
like. I also learned that the stuff that I was unsure of in
the optimization tutorial, well, I was on the right track. The
documentation mentions to run the program on backup files, just
in case there’s a problem. After all, we’re talking about significant
alterations to those files.
[Carol] I liked the Manual that was included. I have been making animations for
over two years and until now, I had not seen a manual that explains some of the technical jargon (like frame terminators) involved as well as theirs does.
[Denton] Now on starting the program up, I screamed in pain. The
splash screen took over the whole desktop, and is so hilariously
ugly that I wondered who had the sadistic sense of humor. After
poking through the settings, I saw that the splash screen option
can be turned off. Thank HEAVEN. I turned mine off, never to
be turned on again.
[Carol] I totally agree with Denton on the splash screen. I guess the programming
was the important part and they decided to save time on the looks. But this
is one time when you can’t judge a book (program) by it’s cover. So, don’t
let it fool you, it is an excellent program.
[Denton] The main interface is simplistic, which is just fine with
me. I don’t need MS Word to type a note. COGS has a button
on the main window called “Starting Folder”, you punch
it and select the folder containing the animations to be batch
optimized. You also have options to “Remove all comments”,
“Add standard comment”, option to either “Use
recompressed animation if it is smaller” or “Use recompressed
animation” (regardless), “Test run (don’t modify)”,
and “Ask for confirmation before starting batch processing”.
Awesome. So if you want COGS to be a batch comment addition
tool for you, it will do it without a problem.
[Carol] Sometimes simplicity is a great thing. And this is one. No need for
fancy bells and whistles. This program does it right without all that
[Denton] The compression options are accessed through the File
menu, Preferences. Just like ASG, COGS provides compatibility
percentages based on what all compression options you have checked.
You will even know which browsers don’t work with your chosen
compression. I wanted all browsers to be compatible regardless,
so I only checked “interframe transparency” with superlow
[Carol] This was great, now you can know which browsers they will work with.
I run three of the main browsers to make sure mine work after optimization.
But with this, I know they will work fine.
[Denton] I’m guessing that Carol didn’t have a later version of ASG, because it looks the same, also telling you browser compatibility. There are a couple of differences, this one is actually more accurate, as Peda has obviously been hard at work testing browser compatibility with regards to transparency indexes.
[Denton] And so now the test, and I’m writing as I’m testing.
I have a folder containing 141 animations that I have waiting
on my drive to run ASG on, and now I’ve got COGS to do the dirty
work instead. It takes up 1,924,164 bytes. They were made with
Gifbuilder and frame optimized prior to this batch. They still
contain the stock “Gifbuilder 0.5 by Yves Piguet” comment,
I’m going to change it to “Copyright © 1998 by Denton
(firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.copzilla.com), all rights
reserved. This image may not be altered, sold, used as an attraction
to make a sale, used in any commercial manner by any person or
entity, without written permission.” So COGS is going to
have the extra burden of fattening up the comment block. Since
I want all the animations to say this, I’m checking the option
“Use recompressed animation”. I don’t care if it’s
[Denton] And we’re off... COGS pops open a warning box, “Use
backup copies”. I tell it “okay”. COGS takes
about a minute and a half to whip through the load of images,
so I cruise off to the fridge for a nice tall glass of Cool-Aid.
Upon returning, COGS has finished and I’m looking at a cool
4.6% savings in size, a sneeze over 1,835,000 bytes.
[Denton] To the skeptics, this won’t seem like a lot. From my
perspective, it’s marvelous. See, it’s already saddled with
my extra comment block, which I need to add. To do this batch
style and nab almost 5% more savings with perfect browser compatibility,
that translates into a “must have” in my book. And for people who aren’t already using optimization methods, the savings will be astronomical, in the 50% or more range. Cursory
testing of the images with IE and Netscape browsers haven’t shown
[Carol] First, I made a temp folder to test this new software. Then I moved 50 animations from my collection, I picked no particular ones, just the first 50 in the list. I wanted to test COGS on animations that some had been optimized, some not, some were done ages ago, some were done recently. The total of the folder was 486.7KB. I then made another folder with the same files. Using Cogs, I optimized the files in the second folder. It was compressed to 428.4KB. This is a savings of 11.97% and it only took 20 seconds. Now you must realize that most of the animations were optimized already, so another savings of 11.97% is great and you would be surprised
how this savings can help a web page load much faster!
[Carol] And now the wish list... How about color palette reduction along with COGS optimization? This is rather offbeat from what this software really does, which is frame alteration, and not color palette editing. But if this could be included, it would make this package the consumate, “don’t go anywhere else” gif-squashing utility. Another thing I would like to see is comment block only editing capability, where COGS doesn’t change anything about the file except that, although this is a minor wish.
[Denton] As with any product that makes radical file adjustments,
COGS is a “handle with care” product. But I think that the people this product is designed
for will have no problems with it. In a nutshell, I highly recommend
it, as well as continuing to recommend it’s little sister, A
[Carol] I also recommend this program. This is an excellent program and
well worth the cost.