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BoxTop Software's GIFmation also does a sweet job of rendering fonts and compressing the final complete file.
Starting with version 5.5, Photoshop offers 3 different types of anti-aliasing. I find this gives the widest option for getting a good look out of your chosen type face and background color.
Jaggies can get introduced both as you create the individual cells, and when you optimize the full animation. It takes a little study and experimentation to get a handle on how the gif algo works -- any utility can give poor results with type.
Here's a good, and up-to-date, tutorial, with a nice annotated list of GIF animation software: [webreference.com...]
The issue comes up because, with GIF, transparency is an all or nothing deal. But anti-aliasing algorithms create pixels that are some PERCENT transparent.
The key is first to change the background to white, instead of leaving it transparent. After adding the type layer, merge the layers. Then select only the pure white and make that transparent again.
The anti-aliasing pixels then will come out in the "right" shades of grey to make smooth looking letters.
Very high resolution print work may still benefit from Illustrator in some cases. But for web resolutions, there's no need to start with AI.
The thing is, even if you start with beautiful vector-defined type, it MUST be converted to pixels to create a gif -- and that conversion is where the jaggies come in.
The little border pixels around curves and diagonals must be the right color to fool the eye into seeing a curve -- a neat trick since pixels are only little squares. If you take care in the conversion, the pixels end up being a color that does the job well. But when you are working over a transparent background, you can get shades that are much too dark -- and then the jaggies have arrived.
If I start out with a higher res PS file, or import from a vector program, when I shrink the graphic/text down to 72ppi for web optimization, I've seen the text turn to garbled mush. By starting out with a web resolution source file, I know everything is going to turn out more or less the way it looks when I start... whether that font will work at low res/small size, whether those colors will blend properly, etc.
Especially for display fonts, I find the best results come from rendering the letters at the final size of the file. This doesn't mean you CAN'T size down effectively.
Here is another thread [webmasterworld.com] where we get into some techniques that help in re-sizing from larger resolution source files. They can work respectably when resizing text as well as images.
The biggest caveat: always convert GIFs to RGB color space first; never resize in indexed color.