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Chapter 3. Principles of Animation > Timing Problems Online

Timing Problems Online

Timing, which is a fragile and easily botched aspect of animation, is virtually impossible to maintain with some animation formats on the Web. Animated GIF, for example, allows you to set frame delays for one frame to the next, but many browsers display a GIF one frame at a time as the animation downloads. The animation may play through at full speed the second time, if you have it set to loop, but the trickle-down of frames invariably destroys the timing impact of an animation. A worse aspect of GIF animation is the fact that if you specify no time delay for frames, the animation plays at the fastest rate supported by the computer viewing it, so a fast computer zips through the animation in no time at all, whereas an old, slow computer pokes a new frame onto the screen just as you're nodding off.

If timing in your animation is important, you are better off using QuickTime movies or a one of the plug-in animation formats, such as Shockwave and Flash, which can similarly suspend the start of an animation until the animation is completely downloaded. Streaming formats, such as RealMedia, suspend playback of an animation until enough of it has downloaded that the animation plays back with timing intact. Shockwave and Flash can also suspend playback in this way.


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