GIFConverter 2.4
Posted: 16-Apr-2001

4 out of 5 Mice

Author: Kevin Mitchell Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Earl Bruch Class: UTILITY
     
$30   Download

Min system requirements: MacOS 7 and Macintosh with 68020.

Reviewed on: MacOS 9.0.4, Performa 6116CD with Sonnet
G3 240MHz Upgrade Card, 2MB HPV card, 72MB RAM and Seagate 9.2 GB 7200 RPM SCSI HD.

GIFConverter is a program that has been extremely popular for home and academic users, with aspiring Internet graphic and animation creators on the 68Ks/ PowerPCs and professors and students using GIFConverter slide show files as visual aids in their presentations. This program was an inexpensive alternative to the industry standard Adobe PhotoShop software and it allowed students and other hobbyists to convert files to the JPEG format that was the common Internet image format in late 1995.

The Netscape 2.0 beta, which introduced GIF animation support, was released a few months after GIFConverter. Over the next six months, GIF animations were the predominate animation on the Internet and GIFConverter became widely implemented . GIFConverter has support for transparency animations without the need to create masks in other programs. There are also other controls on the behavior of the animation that are controlled by GIFConverter such as the amount of times to loop, the delay time between frames and a few more. GIFConverter has an intuitive interface and a time saving feature that allows the user to spawn the configured Internet browser to view the creation. In addition, there is quick access from one of the submenus if you want to launch the Internet config application bundled with newer versions of the MacOS. The following formats are currently supported in the most recent version:

  • GIF
  • JPEG (and progressive JPEG in GIFConverter 2.4)
  • PICT
  • MacPaint
  • CompuServe RLE
  • Startup Screen
  • TIFF
  • RIFF
  • EPS (output only)
  • PNG (in GIFConverter 2.4)


MacOS screen capture image manipulation and conversion into many different file formats ready for importing into a document layout program or publishing to the web as a GIF, jpeg or other graphic file make this a valuable program. The limited image manipulation tools consist of a pointer, marquee, color dropper, and an image movement tool. Early users of the Mac version of Microsoft PowerPoint began to use this to capture slides and copy clipboard images into new files for creating graphics for the web. Many students started to use GIFConverter's ability to show full screen slide shows to aid in their presentation. Being able to create an EPS format file for import into QuarkXExpress/PassPort or other Adobe and Macromedia illustration software in the future is one of the best features of the software. Printing is another option available in this software that other programs in its class might not have. New to GIFConverter 2.4 was the ability to produce PNG graphic file that loses no image quality unlike the compressible JPEG files. This allows users to create PNG file and still import them into Macromedia's Fireworks software program to create JavaScript animated buttons or other animated structures for the next wave of optimized SWF or SVG animations. AppleScript scriptability and recordability save a lot of time when batch processing can be accomplished or conversion of an image to the Startup Screen format with it being set as the default Startup Screen image.

Pros:

  • Intuitive menu layout with limited windows for tools or colors
  • Various Graphic File conversion support
  • AppleScript support
  • Good GIF animation support
  • EPS output
  • Full screen slide presentation
  • Options for graphic file format save preferences
  • Website and online registration of product

Cons:

  • Limited help file support
  • Difficulty working with larger image size files (1600X1200) or greater.
  • Limited Animation capabilities
  • Very few tools in tool window


Summary:

In conclusion, the user gets a great beginner tool for graphic file conversion and GIF animation while it can create compatible files for use in industry standard graphic design and web design software that would cost much more. It's not memory intensive since it doesn't load a filter or an enormous amount of other libraries for image manipulation. Learning the concepts of basic image manipulation and general GIF animation has been one of the software's strong points for many years. Some intermediate and advanced users might need more options in the toolbars or timesaving shortcuts to accomplish what they have envisioned in a limited timeframe. Those digital creators will find Adobe Photoshop LE, Macromedia Fireworks or Flash, or other inexpensive commercial or shareware "lite" programs to suit their expanding artistic needs.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Mice