1.7/19  TheCounter.com Professional Edition


Date:    Thu, Jul 19, 2001, 2:34pm (PDT+2)
Subject:    TheCounter.com Professional Edition - July 19, 2001
From:    TheCounterProfessional <listsupport@internet.com>
List-Unsubscribe:    <mailto:leave-counterprofessional-text-5203089B@list5.internet.com>
Reply to:    TheCounterProfessional <listsupport@internet.com>

TheCounter.com Professional Edition
Vol. 2 Number 28
July 19, 2001


To submit an article for possible inclusion in TheCounter Professional Edition, please send it to: countersubmissions@internet.com
or go to: http://www.thecounter.com/Submissions.html The article must focus on topics relevant to Webmasters.

For TheCounter technical support, please email support2@theCounter.com. Be sure to first check the Help Page
(http://www.theCounter.com/help.htm) for the answer to your question.


Search Engine Strategies --Now 2 Days-- 1 Just Isn't Enough! Register Today and Save $200 for the industry's premier event for understanding how search engines work and how to leverage their power! Day 1: "Promotion Day", teaching the ins-and- outs of search engine marketing from top experts in the field. Day 2: "Search, Techniques, Technology and Trends Day." Pick a day or come to both and save!. 8/16-17, San Fran.,CA Check out: http://seminars.internet.com/sew/sf01/index.html


Animation Tips & Tricks
by Nathan Segal

Animation is all the rage on the web and is becoming more popular every day. But before you begin to create animations for your site, you need to consider some basic questions, such as: What is the purpose of the animation? What kind of audience do you want to draw? What are you trying to say/promote? Will the animation add interest to your site or detract from it? If you've decided that having an animation will add value and interest to your site, we now move onto other considerations. These include file formats and file size, along with design and execution.

When looking at the available image and animation formats, here are a few things to keep in mind. JPEG, (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a 24-bit file format and is the best choice for compressing photographs, realistic artwork, gray-scale images, etc. As a JPEG file is compressed, it discarding data and referred to as a "lossy" format. Repeated saving discards more data and can cause "artifacts," where portions of the image begin to clump together.

GIF, (Graphic Interchange Format) is the format of choice to compress lettering, simple cartoons, and line drawings. GIF images are often made up of Vector graphics, such as lines and curves, which are mathematically defined, so they produce a high quality result, regardless of how much they are scaled. GIF files are often composed of few colors and compress well. Other common animation formats are AVI (Audio-Video Interleaved - a desktop video movie format from Microsoft), MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) Quicktime and SWF (the Flash Player format).

A simple animation using the GIF format can be quickly built within applications such as Adobe ImageReady or Deneba Canvas. Other animation options include vector or vector/bitmap animations built in Macromedia Flash and Adobe LiveMotion, or 3D animation, which creates more complexity and can introduce greater interest. This article offers 10 tips designed to help you make clear decisions about animation aesthetics, implementation, storyboarding and optimization, without sacrificing quality.

Step 1: Before you even begin to create animations, there are several important aesthetic issues to take into account. To elaborate, a single animation on a web page will overwhelm all static images, so placement is important. As mentioned above, make sure that the animation is beneficial to your site, otherwise you will lose your audience.

Step 2: Before you place a finished animation on your site, be aware that if you have more than one animation on a single page, the effect can overwhelm the viewers and turn them off, rather than draw them in. Also, animations that cycle endlessly can quickly become annoying. Design your animation with a finite number of loops, so that it eventually stops.

Step 3: Once you have decided to create an animation, you need to begin with the fundamentals. Of these, a crucial step is the creation of the storyboard. Here, you detail the animation in a precise fashion with sketches, scripts, transitions, timing, etc. It is with the storyboard that you can work out many creative difficulties.

Step 4: A key issue in storyboard design is complexity, which was a common problem encountered by many of my animation students. Often, they would design animations that were beautiful in theory, but impossible to complete in the time allowed. Whenever possible, keep it simple.

Step 5: For animations that include vector images, use only the minimum number of points to define the shape. This will reduce file sizes. Applications such as Adobe Illustrator 9, or the Corel KPT 6 plug-in, offer a command which automatically reduces the number of points in a path.

Step 6: When working in 3D, reduce geometry complexity for objects that are further away in a scene. At a distance, such detail is not likely to be discernable by the eye.

Step 7: When objects are in motion, the eye is not able to discern information one would normally see in a still image and is much more forgiving. This means that details can be further reduced.

Step 8: In 3D applications, lines and facets can appear on an object that are not seen by the viewer. Turning these off reduces image complexity and rendering time. Also, turning off anti-aliasing will speed up rendering. The down side is that the edges will appear jagged, but this may not affect your animation. Test it and see for yourself.

Step 9: As with vector images, it's important to reduce the number of points and not to rely totally on geometry alone to define create an object. A better option is make use of image maps, which create the illusion of geometry while reducing the file size.

One note of caution: Be careful how you use image maps, as they can bloat your file sizes as well. Until the bandwidth issue is resolved, keep file sizes as small as possible. This issue becomes even more important when you consider that many users still use 56.6Kbps modems.

Step 10: A new method for compressing image maps/bit maps is "Weighted Optimization," available in Photoshop 6 and ImageReady 3. Weighted Optimization uses an alpha channel to vary compression settings across an image. For areas where quality is important, you use a lower compression, and in areas such as sky, you use a higher compression. The end result is an image of a small size but with certain areas having a high quality. Weighted Optimization gives you control over GIF dithering, lossy GIF settings and JPEG compression.

The above tips will help you make wise decisions about animation aesthetics, implementation, storyboarding and optimization, without sacrificing quality. In future articles, you will learn about tips and tricks specific to a wider range of software applications such as 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, LiveMotion, Flash, etc., all designed to optimize your animations for streaming media.

About the author:

Nathan Segal is a Writer who is also active in Stock Photography .

Reprinted from Streaming Media World


** WE DO THE WORK - YOU GET THE HEADLINES ** Submit your news and choose your media lists. We'll email your press release to thousands of subscribing journalists and business professionals. Distribution prices start at $275 for targeted media lists. Press release writing, translation and international distribution services also available.

counterprofessional-text Is Powered By http://By.SparkLIST.com/ In-house vs. Outsourced Email List Hosting: Are you paying too much for your email list management? Download the FREE REPORT: http://SparkLIST.com/free-report/

Advertising: If you are interested in advertising in our newsletters, call
Frank Fazio on 1-203-662-2997 or send email to mailto:ffazio@internet.com
For contact information on sales offices worldwide visit http://www.internet.com/mediakit/salescontacts.html
For details on becoming a Commerce Partner, contact David Arganbright on 1-203-662-2858 or mailto:commerce-licensing@internet.com
To learn about other free newsletters offered by internet.com or to change your subscription visit http://e-newsletters.internet.com
internet.com's network of more than 150 Web sites are organized into 16 channels:
Internet Technology         http://internet.com/it
E-Commerce/Marketing         http://internet.com/marketing
Web Developer               http://internet.com/webdev
Windows Internet Technology http://internet.com/win
Linux/Open Source           http://internet.com/linux
Internet Resources           http://internet.com/resources
ISP Resources               http://internet.com/isp
Internet Lists               http://internet.com/lists
Download                     http://internet.com/downloads
International               http://internet.com/international
Internet News               http://internet.com/news
Internet Investing           http://internet.com/stocks
ASP Resources               http://internet.com/asp
Wireless Internet           http://internet.com/wireless
Career Resources             http://internet.com/careers
EarthWeb                     http://www.earthweb.com
To find an answer - http://search.internet.com
Looking for a job? Filling an opening? - http://jobs.internet.com
This newsletter is published by internet.com Corporation http://internet.com - The Internet & IT Network Copyright (c) 2001 INT Media Group, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
For information on reprinting or linking to internet.com content: http://internet.com/corporate/permissions.html

You are currently subscribed to counterprofessional-text as: To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-counterprofessional-text-5203089B@list5.internet.com