Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

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When should we use animated GIFs and when should we use flash?

In order to liven up our products, I have been asked to rotate
different photos. The photos are quite small thumbnails (c.120 pixels
and they won't need to slide around the screen or do anything clever -
flick straight from one to the other.

The only way I actually know how to do this is by using animated
I have never used flash but I understand that it is a good way to do

The problem with GIFs is of course that they do not compress blended
colours very well, and can look rather rough...

But the problem with flash is that:
a) I dont know how to create it (yet)
b) I imagine a number of users will not have flash installed on their

Any thoughts?

Shiperton Henethe

P.S. I normally use Photoshop 6 & XaraXtreme Professional

Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

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You could use both-- put the animated gif inside the OBJECT element.
Then people without Flash will see the animated gif instead.

I don't know what, if any, advantages Flash has for this though.

Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

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Animated GIFs are pretty much dead these days, for anything beyond
blog icons. The trouble is that they're just not good enough quality
as a format for showing images: not bad for drawn cartoons, terrible
for photos. The filesize (i.e. download time) also gets huge for
multiple decent quality photos. If you're using them for product photo
gallery work, they just look shabby.

If you want image swapping, do it with images (JPEG, maybe PNG but
probably not), simple HTML, CSS and some JavaScript. Make it so that
the JavaScript does simple image gallery / rollover / slideshow as
needed. Make this friendly to users with different ideas about how
they want to view the page. If you want to look at one picture for
long, then you should be able to do this without interruptions. Use
CSS and @media print {} so that printing the page gives all of the big
images at once, not the thumbnails.  Code the JavaScript so that it
works when disabled: the "non-JS" static page gives a list of useful
images (maybe a fallback to a simpel CSS rollover) and there's also a
section of alternative HTML content that's not used _except_ when a
piece of JavaScript executed from the onload event enables it and
makes it visible (you can do this by adding to the page's DOM when
loaded, but it's usually easiest to simply author it into the static
page, but switch display:none; around to control which is visible).

Avoid <table> markup in your galleries, use a sequence of floated
<div> instead, one for each thumbnail. It copes with varying page
widths much better.

Why not use Flash? Because you don't _need_ Flash for this much, and
HTML/CSS/JS gives you a simpler page that works well, may even work
better for printing, has better accessibility from other devices
(mobiles and tablets get ever more important in the market). Most
importantly though, the authoring is usually easier: you don't have to
build new Flash for each new page with new images embedded in it
(although a Flash-aware CMS can do this for you automatically).

Why use Flash? Because you're trying to do something more than a
simple gallery / rollover / slideshow that isn't amenable to the JS

Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

ship wrote:
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Do not use gif for photos. The quality will be crappy because gif only supports
256 colors, and the file size will be enormous compared to jpg.

If you don't want to use Flash, there are plenty of JavaScript image rotators


Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

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I personally would not use Flash, I don't want to be dependent on what
the browser user has installed and/or enabled.  Based on the sites I
visit that's a minority viewpoint.

If you just want to do a slideshow on a simple page without any form
input fields, it might be possible to accomplish that by using timed
redirects, but unless the layout and level of text is such that it can
be done smoothly I'd stick with the GIF approach.  A javascript might
also be an approach to check into, though again the user may have
disabled the necessary features.

Never assume that you only have the choices you're aware of unless one
of them really matches the need.  You've been asked to "liven up" your
product presentation and someone has concluded for you that the way to
do that is with moving images, but that might not be necessary or the
best improvement you could make.

no aluminum siding offers today

Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

crankypuss wrote:

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That is probably one of the most rediculous suggestions I have read on
these NG's all year!.
Gif's do not work at all well for photos, the quality of the images
would not be very good, plus the file size is bloody massive!!

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Can you not read or something, the suggestion that Andy correctly made
was to use JavaScript for the main reason that you can provide a fall
back feature if JS is disabled in the browser.
Although Flash is a good option if you want fancy anomations (but it
is not as accessible).

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You really should read some marketing research, people (especially
kids and younger people) love shiny things that move all over the
Regards Chad.

Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ?

ship wrote:
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jQuery < can empower you to do this. One possible
application that comes to mind, is having the images dynamical load in
the display div, fading from one to another. You could do this without
having to reload the page. jQuery would handle the transition effect and
the dynamic loading. Your users would have to have JavaScript enabled,
so you should still have some straight-up HTML fall-back to viewing the

David Hennessy

Re: Animated GIFs vs flash - when should I use which ? says...
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I just viewed the jQuery site and when I went to the Animations and
Effects page it immediately slowed IE to a crawl.  After about 10
seconds I got this error message: "A script on this page is causing
Internet Explorer to run slowly.  If it continues to run, your computer
may become unresponsive.  Do you want to abort the script?"

I have never seen that message before, so I would be vary wary of using
these scripts.

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