COMPUTER BOOK REVIEW 532 words Title: GIF Animation Studio, Animating Your Web Site; Author; Richard Koman; Publisher; Songline Studios, Inc. and O'Reilly & Associates; ISBN: 1-56592-230-1; Soft cover, 170 pages, US$39.95 CAN$57.95 Reviewer; Raymond Saint Arnaud, "To put your content onto their screen. GIF Animation Studio, Animating Your WEB Site is a great starting point." GIF Animation Studio. Animating Your WEB Site So, why would you be interested in GIF animation? Imagine yourself surfing through the Internet's World Wide Web. Some pages command your attention with their content, others by the grace of their visual appearance. The ability of a WWW page to capture the viewer's attention has become key in the design of a site. If surfers do not get past the first few pages, the WWW sites message never get to it's intended audience. In the search for more powerful attention grabbers, WEB developers have resorted to better graphics and the addition of animation. However, to view some of these animations, the at home user has to download a special piece of software called a plug in to enable their WWW browser to accept and interpret the animation. This is quite easy for the technically competent. However, as the WWW expands into more homes and businesses, where technical expertise is not available, sites requiring a download will never be seen. The average surfer will either not understand how to download a plug in, or will not want to take the time to do so. After all, if the browser that came with computer cannot show the animation, is it worth seeing? For developers that recognize this limitation and want to use animation as an attention grabber a far more elegant solution is at hand, GIF animation. Gif animation can be read by a standard browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or Netscape 2.0. For the viewer, nothing is required. Once a page is entered a GIF animation downloads in the same way as normal text information and performs its animation. This kind of animation is seen as part of those little banner advertisements on the home page of most search engines. How do you create a GIF animation? GIF Animation Studio by Richard Koman is an excellent place to start. The book has clear explanations about the GIF format for animation as well as still images. The author offers a very good explanation of how color is used on the Web, how to use the standard palette or create custom palettes. This is worth reading by any developer who wants to use color effectively on the Web. Also included is a CD-ROM with freeware and shareware programs that facilitate the creation of GIF animation. There are programs for MAC and Windows users. Also included is a trial version of Adobe PhotoShop 3.0 and sample GIF Animation that are used in the book. To create a GIF animation, you create the individual cells of the animation in an imaging program. Then use the animation software to assemble the cells in a frame sequence to create the animation effect. An animation does not have to be complex to attract attention. Any form of movement will be an attention grabber in an otherwise static environment. Because technical books tend to become dated rather quickly, the authors maintain a Web site that allows readers update on new GIF developments. So, why use GIF animation? The answer is to create dynamic Web sites that are easy to access, capture the viewer's attention and put your content onto their screen. GIF Animation Studio is a great starting point.