Yes they’re tacky, yes they’re ugly, but still, there’s something oddly nostalgic about animated GIFs. Watching these crude animations used to make my blood boil but now it warms my heart, as I think back to the days when the Web was young and innocent. Although they’ve been virtually left out in the cold since the Internet became all clean and shiny and serious, I still believe there’s a place for animated GIFs. If you’re running a retro gaming site, or want to create an homage to the Web of the late Nineties, then a program such as Microsoft GIF Animator makes for a great way of recreating gruesome graphics of yore.
I’m going to show you how to make a Pacman animation that will really draw your visitors’ attention. Or maybe they’ll just puke. Anyway, kick off by drawing
out each of your frames using an editing tool. Paint works fine for basic animations, though it’s a good idea to storyboard the animation on a piece of paper beforehand, so you can get a rough idea of the positioning.
Aim for around 3-6 frames for a simple animation. Be sure to save each drawing out as a GIF. Once you’ve finished, launch MS GIF Animator and drag and
drop each file you’ve created onto the program interface. The frames will be displayed in a viewer on the right and you can shuffle the order of them using the Up and Down buttons if you want.
Now click on the ‘Animation’ tab. Here you can set the height and width of your animated abbhoration in the boxes provided. Be sure to check the ‘Looping’ button if you want your little Pacman to keep going. It’s also a good idea to switch on the ‘Repeat Forever’ option because people will never tire of watching it move. [Caution: animated GIF over the fold!]
You can preview your monstrous creation by clicking on the Play button, then once you’re ready to unleash it on the World, export it as a GIF, upload it to your website and enjoy!