Support: FAQs

Why are my AVI files corrupted when saved on a computer running Vista?

There is a bug in Vista that breaks Windows' built-in support for saving AVI files. You can read about it in greater detail on the MSDN forum. Microsoft has the fix ready for SP1 (due in the fall), and there is a good chance the fix will appear in an earlier hotfix.

In the meantime, the workaround is to use the XP version of avifil32.dll under Vista. You can get the XP version of avifil32.dll here; it resides in the System32 folder in both OSs. The forum discussion above has more details about copying a system file under Vista and you can read more about messing with system files on Vista here.

When I try to use a Vista-type icon with PNG compression in my .NET/WPF-based app, I get an error trying to extract the icon. How do I fix this?

To work around this bug in .NET, you will need to turn off PNG compression in your icons. In GMG, select Edit>Preferences from the menu, then choose the Export II tab (yes, the name is not clever). Uncheck the PNG compression option in the Icons section. Now resave your icon, and it should work properly. The one downside is that the icon's file size will increase significantly once PNG compression is not used.

My animation has a transparent background, and when it plays, the previous frames show through. How do I make the previous frames go away?

The GIF animation format has several removal methods that can be used to control what happens to the current frame before the next one is drawn. The default method is "Leave Alone": the current frame is left as is, and the next frame is drawn on top of it. This works great when the frames are designed to cover each other. But for animations with a transparent background, this doesn't work as well: you end up seeing "through" the new frame to the old one. This is where the "Background Color" removal method comes in: the current frame is erased so that the original background (the web page's background) is restored before the next frame is drawn.

To change this in your animation, do the following:

  1. select the Frame>Global Properties menu item
  2. at the bottom, choose "Background Color" for the removal method. This will affect all of of the frames in your animation
  3. hit OK

Note: the "Restore to Previous" removal method, while potentially very useful is not implemented properly in Netscape browsers. It is recommended that you avoid it for this reason.

XP Icons: When I load my 4-bit images, they show up as 8-bit images and won't properly save in the icon file. How do I fix this?

First make sure that you are running Version 4.0 or later of GMG (look in Help>About). If not, download the latest from here. You will need this version to make sure that GMG recognizes Windows 4-bit images.

The term "4-bit" color is not entirely appropriate. This color resolution implies that the color table is composed of the 16 EGA colors (each of R, G, and B is either 0, 128, or 255 plus a single light gray at 192,192,192).  Reducing a color table to an arbitrary 16 colors won't do the trick: the result will still be treated at 8-bit. Get a Photoshop 16-color CLUT here.

If the image loads as 4-bit and then "becomes" 8-bit once other images are loaded, go to Edit>Preferences>Palettes and make sure that "Local Palettes" is checked. This will ensure that no palette mapping takes places are images are loaded.

How do I convert a GIF animation to an AVI?

GIF Movie Gear can save animations out in several formats, including the AVI format, a video format commonly recognized by Windows presentation applications. To "convert" an animation into AVI, do the following:

a) Load the animation into GIF Movie Gear
Version 4.0
b) Use the File>Save As menu item, then select AVI for the file type. Settings options will appear once the AVI file type is selected
Version 3.0
b) Use the File>Save AVI Video menu item. Compression settings are adjusted in Edit>Preferences>AVI
Version 2.x
b) Select the File>Export As>AVI menu item
c) Follow the directions. For most "drawn" animations, the RLE8 compression does a great job.

How do I register my copy of GIF Movie Gear?

Find out more about ordering GIF Movie Gear on the Order page.

How do I speed up/slow down my animation?

The speed of a GIF animation is controlled by the delay defined for each frame. The delay is expressed in 1/100th of a second, so a delay of 100 will take one second. During playback, the frame is viewed for the amount of time in its delay. There are several ways to set a delay:

a) Select the frame and enter a delay number in the second toolbar, next to the little clock
b) Double-click on the frame (or select it and choose the Frame>Properties menu item. Then type in a new delay value in the appropriate spot in the Frame Properties dialog.
c) To set the same delay for all the frames in the animation, select the Frame>Global Properties menu item. Setting a delay here will set the same delay for every frame in the animation.
d) To set a default delay to be used when a new frame is inserted, select the Edit>Preferences menu item. Under the Defaults tab, you can set a program default for setting a delay to a new frame. This does not affect any frames already in the animation.

New for Version 3.0 and later:
Use the new Edit Timing dialog to easily adjust the timing while watching the preview. This dialog is accessible from the toolbar (big clock on the upper toolbar), from the Animation>Edit Timing menu item, and from the Animation Preview dialog (the big clock button).

Can I attach sound to my GIF animation?

Unfortunately the GIF file format has no provisions for including sound with an animation. The alternative of adding the sound to the Web page isn't helpful because there is no way to synchronize the animation and the sound. One possible solution is to use the AVI format since it is designed to store both animation and sound, though AVIs are not played inline like GIF animations are. GIF Movie Gear has extremely basic support for adding audio to a video file: you will see the option when saving to AVI. You will want a full-on video editor for anything fancy, like editing the audio in any way.

How do I save a transparent AVI?

The AVI format does not support transparency. If you are building an AVI to place in a Windows control and want it to play with a transparent background, you need to make use a special workaround that is supported by Windows: the color of the first pixel (upper left) of the first frame in the AVI is used as the transparent color when the transparent style (ACS_TRANSPARENT) is used for the Windows control. So if you build the AVI carefully you can get it to play "with transparency" in a Windows control. Microsoft has a knowledgebase article about this topic (specific to MFC but usable in any Win32 app).

My animation plays incorrectly in my browser. What's going on?

This could be the result of either a problem in the animation or, more likely, an incompatibility with the browser in question. Please check the Browser Issues section below to see if you've stumbled across a known browser issue. If your problem does not show up here, please contact us and include the URL of the animation along with a description of what you are seeing vs. what you expected to see.

When I try to export to an AVI I get an error: "Unable to AVI open <filename>.  Error 0x80040154." What did I do wrong?

This error is caused by an incomplete installation of the AVI system built into Windows. This can be fixed by running a small Windows Registry patch. There is one for Windows95 and one for Windows98. Click on the appropriate link to download it and then "run" it. The files contain the missing Windows Registry info that is needed for the Windows AVI handler to work properly.

Browser Issues

No software is perfect, and Web browsers are no exception to this rule. Over the past few years as the Web has developed, popular Web browsers have been inadvertently released with some, um, limitations, in the way they handle GIF animations. The result is that a Web designer, working with pages that will be viewed using a variety of browsers, needs to be aware of things that might not work properly on some viewing setups.

Below is a list of some of the bigger issues. "Netscape Navigator" is referred to as "NS" and "Microsoft Internet Explorer" is referred to as "IE".

  • NS3, NS4, and NS4.5 do not properly handle the "Restore to Previous" removal method. It is a good idea to refrain from using this setting. All animations can be successfully defined using either "Leave As Is" or "Restore to Background".
  • Both NS and IE browsers sometimes have difficulty dealing with interlacing in any frame of the animation. Side-effects often manifest as intermittent black horizontal lines on some frames.
  • Both NS and IE browsers do not do an especially good job of scaling GIF animations on the fly. This happens when the height and width components of the <IMG> tag do not match the height and width of the actual animation. The results are especially bad with a heavily optimized animation.
  • Both NS and IE browsers are not entirely accurate with their timing, especially with very short delays between frames. GIF Movie Gear's playback will often be faster than that of a browser if the delays are shorter than 15/100th of a second. Time for download slows playback even more.
  • IE4 may experience drastic slowdown in the playback of long animations containing lots of transparency. Only some animations are affected, but the exact cause is still unknown.