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Friday, July 13, 2012

We just need to update the animated GIF...

Our splash screen shown while loading our WebStart application is an animated GIF. Simple file that happens to have the copyright date. It was showing 2010. I did not create the original nor did I have the original artwork and the guy who created it no longer works here and they have not replaced him. There is a chance we could have sniffed around on old hardware long enough to find but our network tech is on vacation.

I figured this can't be too hard. I found a tool for creating animated GIF images called PhotoScape. It showed the 13 individual images as a time line. I was able to right click on each image an save it to the clipboard. Since I am not familiar with PhotoScape and I did not quickly discover how to edit the images there I used Paint.NET. I copied the 2 from 2010 and put it were the final 0 was for a 2012 copyright. It is a gradient background meaning I had to take some care to make sure it looked good. I updated all 13 images, added them back into the PhotoScape and saved the new animation. Looked great until I looked at the file size. It had gone from 54k to 604k which is simply not acceptable.

Must be a way to optimize a GIF so that frames are deltas instead of the whole image. Hitting up Google for answers showed that to be the case but of course finding a tool to do it was not easy. After trying a number of them out with various forms of failure I saw a post about GIMP supporting what I want. I had version 2.7 which did not appear to have the GIF optimization menu items so I grabbed 2.8. It had what I needed and a quick export to GIF with the proper delay between images had me back down to a 54k file.

I probably could have used GIMP for the entire process and saved a lot of time. I don't have a license for PhotoShop at work but I could have taken it home and done the processing there. Just seemed like a good thing to polish off on a Friday afternoon and once you get started with the investigation process you might as well finish it up.

Lessons learned, new tools learned, mission accomplished. Not a bad way to end the week.