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Comparison: Animation Workshop and GIF Construction Set

Both Animation Workshop and GIF Construction Set Professional will build animated GIF files. They even look similar in operation. They're very different rides under the hood, however.

This document will assist you in deciding which one is the best match for your requirements.

Animation Workshop

  • So many people, so few comets.Is at its best building complex rectangular animations, such as banner advertisements. The Hummingbird Cafe advertisement to the right is a good example.
  • Has a very short learning curve, even for building elaborate animations.
  • Is object based — it requires little understanding of how GIF files work to get professional results.
  • Stores text as editable text, making it easy to edit the text elements in your animations after they're completed.
  • Allows multiple moving or changing elements to run at the same time in a single animation.
  • Can fill objects with solid, gradient, texture and matrix fills to create complex visual effects with almost no effort. The clouds behind the hummingbirds are one of its textures.
  • Can have internal transparent elements, but cannot produce GIF files with transparent backgrounds.
  • Can't directly access the effects available through the Alchemy Mindworks animation plugin library, although it can import these effects generated by GIF Construction Set Professional or PNG/MNG Construction Set using these plugins.
  • Can't open and manipulate existing GIF animations.
  • Is ideally suited for building and maintaining commercial banners and other animations that must be revised periodically.


GIF Construction Set Professional

  • The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters.Is at its best building simple animated characters and elements. The hummingbird animation is representative of what GIF Construction Set can assemble from source images.
  • Is easy to learn for simple tasks, but requires a moderate level of effort to fully utilize.
  • Requires some understanding of the structure and limitations of GIF files to get the most out of it.
  • Stores its documents as GIF files, which renders text as un-editable graphic images.
  • Only allows a single moving element at a time, unless you're unspeakably crafty.
  • Has very limited facilities for creating graphic elements internally.
  • Can produce GIF animations and still images with transparent backgrounds.
  • Can access the Alchemy Mindworks animation plugins, such as 3D Effects #1, Text Effects #2, Elements #1 and Transitions #2.
  • Can open and manipulate existing GIF animations with an exhaustive library of tools.
  • Is ideally suited for building artistic animated elements by moderately accomplished animators.

If you're serious about building web page animations, you'll probably want both applications. We'd also recommend having our PNG/MNG Construction Set on your desktop — it can produce 24-bit MNG animations for use with Animation Workshop for superior image quality and smaller final GIF files. A compete discussion of this issue is included in the Animation Workshop documentation.

Return to the main Animation Workshop page.