Putting Your Graphics on a Diet

Fat files are embarrassing. They slow down a page like nothing else, turning a fabulous site into a sluggish turkey. A really good graphics program can trim your overweight files, but such a program will also set you back a pretty penny, and you’ll have to work with it for a while in order to get the most out of it. Instead of putting all that money and effort into solving the file size problem, try some of the following Web sites that do the job for you — for free.

GIFWorks

GIFWorks is absolutely one of the best tools you’ll find on the Web. Period. You get the idea I like it? A lot? There’s a good reason. This is one truly full-featured program, and it’s something you may not be familiar with yet — but I think it’s the wave of the future on the Web. This program isn’t one you download and use on your computer. It stays put, and you use it right on the GIFWorks site.

With GIFWorks, you can do everything to GIF files, from reducing colors to adding special effects. So what does it cost? Nothing, nada, zip. And to top it all off, the same folks have a couple of other sites that do everything from making postcards (MediaBuilder, at www.mediabuilder.com) to letting you get your hands on more than 10,000 high-quality GIF images (the Animation Factory, at www.animfactory.com). I’m not exaggerating when I say quality, either. This is some of the best stuff I’ve seen.

The Animation Factory’s images are also free — for noncommercial use. Aha! A catch at ...

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