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Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

Cartoon of the Word vol. 1

Northside Madison
 
Ambrosavage's Cartoon of the Word (of the Day)

ambromator

Ambromator: Ambrosavage's Excellent GIF Animator v0.6
download here - sorry, Windows only

The animated cartoons on this site are created in our own .gif animator, because we couldn't find one that had the features that we needed, and we thought that you might like it too, if you're into that sort of thing.

Specifically, it is the individual frame timing that proved problematic. Most .gif animators only let you set a single frame speed parameter, even though the .gif file format allows for each frame to be individually timed. Everyone knows that the secret to comedy is timing, so for us, this was a must.

For a while, we used Adobe ImageReady, because it had this feature, but it stopped running under Windows Vista. We didn't upgrade our Photoshop to get this feature, because, well, Photoshop is expensive and we already paid for it once.

Another thing that our Animator does is that it stores full frames instead of just the changes that occur between frames that is common in most .gif animations. This was helpful back when everyone was on dial-up and connections were slow, but makes less difference today. Besides, our animations don't generally have very many frames. The reason that we want to store every frame is so that you can view them that way, using our "view Frame by Frame" feature. Have you tried that? It's pretty cool.
 
Current Features

LOAD PSD/GIF
Brings up a File Load dialog box. The file may be either a properly layered (one frame per layer) .psd or an animated .gif. When the file loads, the number of frames will be displayed in the first box, and the first frame will be displayed. Initially, all frame durations are set to zero (0), unless there are already frame durations in the .gif that you load. If there are, these are used.


The Ambromator Interface is set up for 425x425 images, because that's the size that we use, but it will adjust if you load files that are larger or smaller.

NAVIGATION
Press the Next (>), Previous(<), First (<<) and Last (>>) buttons to navigate between the frames of the animation.

DURATION
You can type a number into the duration box for each frame. These are in seconds, and you may enter fractions of seconds as well as full seconds, i.e. 0.5, 0.75, etc.. As you move between the frames, your numbers will be saved automatically.

APPLY TO ALL
Applies the value in the duration box to all frames. This is useful if you are doing an animation with constant motion, like someone juggling. This way you don't have to go to every frame and type in a number.


PREVIEW GIF
Shows your animation, using the most recently set timings.

STOP PREVIEW
Stops the animated preview and returns control to the editing interface.

SAVE GIF
Brings up a File Save dialog box. All files saved are gif animations with the extension .gif.

SHOW HELP

Brings up this list of instructions, or something very much like it.
 
Revision History
version 0.6
Save file name is now automatically generated from Open file name. Previously, the file name had to be entered manually.

version 0.5
Preview function added. Now requires the support file "animate.gif", as a stand-in for you animation.

version 0.4
Automatic resizing of the window if files other than 425x425 are loaded. This was the first feature added to make the program useful to other people, rather than specifically for the production of the Cartoon of the Word.

version 0.3
File Load and File Save dialog boxes implemented, so that files can be loaded from anywhere on the computer or network. Previously, all files had to be copied into the same folder where the ambromator was installed.

version 0.2
Added the "Apply to All" button so that the current timing could be applied to all frames. This feature was implemented after we did a nearly 100 frame animation with constant timing and had to type ".75" one hundred times! Also cleaned up the interface a little with some visual feedback on the buttons, so that you could tell if you had pressed them or not, and some messages telling you that your file was loading or saving.

version 1.0
The basic feature set was implemented. Load .psd and .gif, step between frames, adust timing, save .gif. That's all we needed, and not too much has changed since.
 
Disclaimer
The ambromator is free, but you get what you pay for. There is no official technical support, and there are no upgrade plans. That said, feel free to drop us a line if you've got suggestions that would make the ambromator better. OK back to the disclaimer: use at your own risk. We cannot be liable for any direct or consequential damages or losses incurred as a result of either using or not using our animator. May cause dizzyness, drowsiness, excitability, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, increased appetite, or whatever. Probably not, but who knows? See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist if your teeth are falling out, and see your bartender if you need a stiff drink or even just a beer. Call 911 if your house is on fire, and call a vet if your dog needs fixing. We have lots of other advice, but we're running out of room. See, the bottom of your screen is right down there. Ouch. almost ran into it.
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In John's Words
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Ambromator