Pedagoguery Software Inc. A Smaller GIF PSi logo frieze
   Home    [Products\A Smaller GIF]    Downloads    Prices & Purchasing
Q & A
What does A Smaller GIF do?

A Smaller GIF is a computer program for compressing animated GIFs without changing their appearance. A Smaller GIF can reduce the amount of memory space an animation uses without introducing any visual artifacts, distortion, or blurring, since GIFs are stored using a lossless compression format. Different GIF utilities use different techniques to store their animations; A Smaller GIF tries several compression techniques, and uses the technique that will minimize the size of the resulting GIF. Future versions of the program may try additional techniques and/or allow the user to sacrifice some image fidelity for improved compression.

Please NOTE: The program is limited to using 255 or fewer distinct colours in animations. Given an animation that uses 256 or more distinct colours, some visual distortion will occur as it reduces the number of distinct colours (to 255).

Besides compressing GIFs, A Smaller GIF also serves as a full function animated GIF viewer. A Smaller GIF lets you

  • view animated GIFs at normal speed, in either the normal or reverse directions,
  • examine individual frames by advancing or rewinding frame by frame,
  • fast-forward and rewind quickly through animations, and
  • randomly access individual frames by entering frame numbers or positioning a slider.
While viewing, the current frame is shown along with its frame number, starting time and duration.

A Smaller GIF also provide some very basic editing of animated GIFs: frame timing and interlacing may be adjusted. GIF comments (comments in the animation that are not visible during viewing, but are visible using GIF utilities) may be added, edited, or removed. Animation looping may also be modified (GIFs may loop forever, or for a fixed number of times).

What does A Smaller GIF not do?

A Smaller GIF does not provide the ability to edit the visual contents of animations. Other GIF utilities may be used to edit and/or create animations; A Smaller GIF is used to shrink them prior to placing them on the web.

Why was A Smaller GIF made?

A Smaller GIF was created to reduce the amount of time it takes web pages to load (as well as the disk space occupied by them on both servers and clients). Any compression achieved by using the program depends on the type of animation as well as the program that was used to create it.

Even small improvements in file size will improve overall web responsiveness, and since there is no visual difference (besides seeing the animation download faster) there is no excuse not to reduce file size. A small improvement in file size will be magnified when you consider the number of times it is downloaded by viewers.

The viewing features were added due to user’s requests. Many GIF utilities and viewers available when A Smaller GIF was developed did not fully support the standard GIF specification, and did not properly display some animated GIFs.

How does A Smaller GIF work?

A Smaller GIF can produce smaller animated GIF files as the GIF standard allows for a variety of ways of encoding animations. GIF utilities rarely use the method that is optimal for the particular GIF being made. Even A Smaller GIF is not guaranteed to maximally compress GIF files (later versions of the program may incorporate additional compression techniques).

Several popular browsers, including Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, support animated GIFs.Placing animated GIF files on web pages does not require CGI or JAVA programming, and does not require special HTTP servers.