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extremely good gif editor required

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Carol Haynes:
I have championed Xara here before - if you haven't looked it is brilliant and certainly rivals/matches much more expensive alternatives. It is much more aimed at 'illustration' (path based) art than pixel based editing but there is a new pixel based editor built into the latest version, and it is excellent for building animations. Check out for details and if you need some help check out the demo/tutorial movies.

By the way I really like Xara Webstyle too for producing quick webpage templates and layouts. Not great for whole sites but for the odd group of pages it gives nice results. Also allows you to build JS menus and rollover buttons etc.

Xara does free demos of all its software.

so far, photoshop is still providing me with the largest set of options for this .gif project - i just thought there would be something even more powerful in this 256 colour palette area.

Carol Haynes:
I'd be very surprised if there is anything that can do much more than a full version of PhotoShop/ImageReady.

Why limit yourself to 256 colour palette in PS ? Do what you want in a full colour palette (PSD files) and then use PS tools (eg. Save for web) to render the GIF files with a custom palette - this should give a pretty accurate 256 colour version of the image without limiting your subsequent editing of the original PSD file.

i'll try and explain what i'd like to be able to do and what i'm doing at the moment.

this all relates to the new cody logo but will become more of a problem when the new themed codies are designed as there will be more colours to incorporate into the gif palette. okay, 256 colours sounds like it's enough but it's too small when you are trying to shade things nicely.

currently i design the image in photoshop (or fireworks) using an unrestricted colour palette. i want to be able to start with a high quality image, with shading, and then save out as a gif that obviously has a reduced palette.

i'd like to be able to specify which colours i want to keep whilst viewing the gif preview. further, i'd like to be able to delete colours i think are unnecessary and maybe even put ones in that aren't already in the gif palette.

i can do this in a restrictive way using photoshop 'save for web' option but i'd like something that does things more in 'real time'. so, as an example, i may preview the gif and decide that i can lose some grey shades without the image being degraded too much but at the same time i can then introduce a few more shades of red that were originally in the high quality image.

so, i remove what i think won't be noticed and lock or bring back colours that i think will improve the image. sort of like the better jpeg image makers were you can lasso an area of the image and prevent that area from being compressed - i'd like the same thing with a gif image - lasso the area i think important and the palette adjusts itself to please me.

Carol Haynes:
Have you checked the PS manual. I have PS 7 and there is a whole section on colour management for web graphics and it covers specifics individually for JPEG, GIF and PNG fornats. In the PS 7 manual it is in the chapter  14 "Preparing graphics for the web" and includes sections such as "Optimizing colors in GIF and PNG-8 images" and "Using masks to modify dithering"

If you have the online manual installed (and no paper manual) do a search on the chapter title and it should all pop up on screen.

There is even an "Optimize palette" in ImageReady.

I'm sure you can acheive what you want in native PS but if not there must be plugins available to acheive what you want.

I haven't got PS installed at the moment so I can't play with the options but I'm sure there is the option to save a user palette with GIF files as well as the web-palette option.

How about PhotoGif which I found here Free Photoshop Plugins which has a really useful collection of freebies and commercial plugins. Unfortunately it isn't free ($30) but it does have a demo so you can at least see if it does what you want.


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