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Why use Gif·gIf·giF instead of manual screen captures?

A few people have asked us why they would elect to use Gif·gIf·giF when there are other, more general GIF animation tools available. They suggested that similar animations could be constructed by capturing a large number of screens and then combining the screens into a GIF animation using one of the excellent general purpose GIF animation tools available.

To be perfectly clear, we do think that many of the available GIF animation tools work well in conjunction with Gif·gIf·giF. Please keep in mind that Gif·gIf·giF is mainly used for recording or producing visual demonstrations, especially of software, and is not a general purpose animation tool.

We did as the few users suggested, and constructed the same 80 second animation with and without the aid of Gif·gIf·giF. The results are summarized in the table to the right.

Hopefully this note would clear up some confusion.

For the interested, here are the two animations:

And following are more testing details and hints:

To ensure the two animations were the same, we placed the animation made with Gif·gIf·giF into a GIF animation utility and copied all of the frames into a painting program and saved them to disk. We then loaded all of the frames back into a new animation. All of the saving, cutting, and pasting took 20 minutes.

The bandwidth required for reasonable playback was calculated by assuming a 14.4 kilobaud link is required for the Gif·gIf·giF animation, and multiplying by the ratio in file sizes to get the bandwidth required for the animation produced without Gif·gIf·giF The Gif·gIf·giF animation plays back in near real-time over a 14.4 kilobaud link.

Remember that after an animation has been viewed once, it may be cached—if it is, reasonable playback can be attained with or without Gif·gIf·giF. Of course, the smaller file size still translates into a faster initial download and a lesser demand upon both the client's and server's hard disks.

Please NOTE: Some GIF animation editing programs are improving as upgrade versions are released. Here is a newer report comparing the tools.

Without Gif·gIf·giF With Gif·gIf·giF
Time spent
recording animation
> 20 minutes< 2 minutes
Animation size347K75K
Bandwidth required for
reasonable playback
66.2 kilobaud14.4 kilobaud
Hard drive space
used during recording
> 1.2Mzero bytes
Timing information
Attractive border
around animation