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Ulead GIF Animator 5

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

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Ulead GIF Animator 5

The Bottom Line

While I can't say that I'd pay for it beyond the 15 day free trial, Ulead GIF Animator is still a nicely packaged little program that would be extremely useful for the hobbyist or casual animator. It's especially good for assembling pre-made images into animated sequences, but has enough functionality to draw decent frame-by-frame animations.

Pros

  • Animation Wizard makes assembling frames easy.
  • Can work with images or import video.
  • Graphical timeline improves frame navigation.
  • Uses layers to add and remove images from frames.
  • Allows frame-by-frame animation of transparent GIFs.

Cons

  • No real advanced drawing or shading tools.
  • No freeform drawing; must have an object on stage, even if blank.

Description

  • Offers functionality for both frame-by-frame animators and creators of animated web graphics.
  • Packages basic animation features into a neat, easy-to-navigate user interface.
  • Comes with numerous effects to spice up your animations.
  • Full version available for only $49.95.

Guide Review - Ulead GIF Animator 5

While it's only a few steps above MS Paint in terms of drawing and shading capability, Ulead GIF Animator still holds its own as a GIF animation program. Considering that animated GIFs aren't meant to be high-quality, full-length Flash videos, GIF Animator doesn't really need the kind of graphics capabilities you'd find in more high-end programs. It's deceptively simple; despite its apparent plainness, it really allows an abundance of activities suiting a number of purposes.

First, there's the Animation Wizard, which basically sets you up in a few short clicks to import all the materials you need to assemble pre-made artwork into a frame sequence featuring one or more of your imported images. The timeline is set up with graphical previews, so you can easily glance down and click on the frame you want without guesswork. I really like that it gives the option to animate against a transparent background, something I've only seen done this way in Adobe ImageReady.

This could really be a fun, intuitive program for a novice animator who doesn't want to learn the more technical aspects of advanced programs. While it's not as simple as something like Toon Boom's Flip Boom, it's pretty easy to pick up. I like the way the layers are set up for each frame, making it easy to draw roughs before tracing on top of them - although in truth, this isn't really a program for draw-and-paint animators. It's targeted mainly towards web users needing to produce animated graphics...and in that, it does its job pretty well.

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