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I lost the program when I upgraded systems, so I forked over some dough for the latest version -- and what a mess it has become! Some of these changes may be restrictions imposed by that stupid gif patent thingie, but now the whole interface is just plain user-hostile. I usually know what I need to do, but now I always need to take about 6 more steps to do it. And instead of exporting a frame, I actually end up taking a screen shot!
So I'm wondering, what utilites do people favor for gif animation today? Freeware is always nice, but effectiveness matters the most to me.
A while ago, when we got a CDRW drive for the office, I made a CD backup of all my favorite shareware and freeware utilities I had installed... all those little must-haves I didn't want to worry about hunting down again if I had to rebuild my system. I've been very thankful for that disc more than once.
I have both Fireworks 4 and Photoshop 6 (with ImageReady) but I find them both awkward when it comes to building or editing the animation. I like to run very tight palette and positioning controls on the individual frames, so I usually build each frame in Photoshop itself and then "glue" them together in another program. I don't like automation of important decisions.
Maybe Fireworks or ImageReady can give me what I want (global palette optimisation, redundant pixel reduction, easy timing changes on the individual frames, easy "replace method" options). But I haven't climbed the learning curve for either, and both of them have interfaces and Help files that seem inscrutable.