Biomed Imaging Interv J 2006; 2(3):e46
© 2006 Biomedical Imaging and
Creating animated medical images (Part 2)
NA Kadri, MBiomedEng, MG Raha,
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty
of Engineering, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In part one of the tutorial on creating animated medical images,
the focus was on proprietary software, such as, MS PowerPoint
(Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, USA) and Adobe ImageReady (Adobe
Systems Inc., San Jose, CA, USA)  available
in many personal computers (PC).
Here, in part two of this two-part tutorial, the procedure
for creating animated GIFs using a selection of shareware and
freeware will be described. The user may utilise the sequential
CT images from the first part of the tutorial, but an additional
set of images is also available for download at: http://www.biij.org/2006/3/e46/images.zip
There is a lot of software, both free as well as commercial,
to create animated GIFs. The majority of software available is
shareware, where a user may download a trial version for free
prior to purchasing . According to Download.com,
the two most popular software for creating GIF animation are Ulead®
GIF AnimatorTM (Ulead Systems Inc., Torrance, CA, USA) and CoffeeCup
GIF Animator (CoffeeCup Software Inc., Corpus Christi, TX, USA)
. Both have received high rating from reviewers
In addition to these software, this tutorial will also describe
a freeware, Microsoft® GIF Animator (Microsoft Corp., Redmond,
WA, USA). All software used in this tutorial is available for
download at: http://www.biij.org/2006/3/e46/software.zip
Ulead® GIF AnimatorTM
This software is a part of a multimedia suite of products developed
by Ulead Systems Inc. (Torrance, CA, USA). For this tutorial,
users may either download the software from the above link or
download the current version from: http://www.ulead.com/. Users
may try the software free of cost for 15 days. The current version,
Ulead® GIF Animator™ 5, is priced at USD 49.95.
1 – Open Ulead® GIF Animator™, and click on
File > Animation Wizard…
Step 2 – Set the canvas size or dimensions of the image
to be used. For this tutorial, set both the width and height
at 512 pixels. Click Next > when finished.
Step 3 – Click Add Image… to add
the images for use in the animation. Select all images (by clicking
Ctrl+A) from the selected folder, and click
Open. The list of images will now appear (Figure
1), and the user has the option of re-arranging the order of
the images. Click Next > when finished.
Figure 1 Selecting images
to be used in animation.
Step 4 – The user now has to set the duration of each
frame to be displayed, by setting either the delay time or the
frame rate. A ‘Demo’ field displays an example of
the animation speed at the specified delay time or frame rate
(Figure 2). The default value of four frames per second is sufficient
to produce a smooth animation. Click Next >
Figure 2 Setting the delay
time or the frame rate of the animation.
Step 5 – Click Finish in the final window.
The selected images are now compiled in a new document (Figure
3), ready to be saved as an animated GIF or in other formats.
The user has the option of saving the output as an animated
GIF (.gif), a movie (.avi, .mpg, .mov), or a Macromedia Flash
Figure 3 The newly created
document following completion of Animation Wizard.
Prior to exporting the document into desirable formats, it is
useful to preview the animation by clicking on the Preview
tab. The frame rate of an individual image frame may be changed,
and a frame may also be dropped or added.
The user may optimise the final output by changing the colour,
dither, lossy, and matte values of the image at the Optimize
tab. This is particularly useful if one is producing an animated
GIF as the final file size is dependent on the cumulative size
of the images used.
Figure 4 shows an example of the animated GIF created, which
has been optimised using “Preset 32” option under
the Optimize tab. Note that Ulead® GIF
AnimatorTM accepts both GIF and JPG formats as input images.
Figure 4 The animated
GIF produced by Ulead® GIF AnimatorTM
The above tutorial is based on Ulead® GIF AnimatorTM version
5, but may be used with other versions of Ulead® GIF AnimatorTM
with very slight alterations.
CoffeeCup GIF Animator
This software is a part of a web design suite of products developed
by CoffeeCup Software Inc. (Corpus Christi, TX, USA). For this
tutorial, users may either download the software from the above
link or download the current version from: http://www.coffeecup.com/.
Users may try the software free of cost for 21 days. The current
version, CoffeeCup GIF Animator 7.5, is priced at USD 29.00.
Step 1 – Open the software, and click on File
> New. The Animation Wizard dialog box will appear.
Set the length of time for each slide to 0
seconds. Click Next when finished.
Step 2 – Add individual GIF images by clicking on the
Add Image(s)… Select the images by first
clicking on the file name, followed by Open.
The selected images will now appear in the previous dialog box
(Figure 5). Select multiple images by holding down the Shift
key while clicking on the file name (or Ctrl+A).
Click Next when finished.
Figure 5 Selecting images to be used in animation.
Step 3 – Click Finished, and the user
has the option of setting the colour palettes to be used in
the Palettes window. To select the default
settings check the Make this the Default option,
and click OK.
Step 4 – The list of images is now listed in the main
software window (Figure 6). Uncheck the “Use Image Transparency”
option. The animation may be previewed at the Preview pane by
clicking the Play Animation button (or Ctrl+P).
Figure 6 The newly created document containing the selected
Step 5 – Click File > Save As…,
and select the location for saving the newly created animated
GIF. The user also has the option of saving the output as a
Macromedia Flash file (.swf).
Figure 7 The animated GIF produced by CoffeeCup GIF Animator.
If the user is using the trial version, a small CoffeeCup logo
will appear at the top left hand corner in all the animated
GIFs created (Figure 7). Note that CoffeeCup GIF Animator only
accepts images in GIF format as the input images. The software
may also convert AVI movie files into animated GIFs.
The above tutorial is based on CoffeeCup GIF Animator version
7.5, but may be used with other versions of CoffeeCup GIF Animator
with very slight alterations.
Microsoft® GIF animator
Step 1 – Open Microsoft® GIF Animator, and click
on New button (or Ctrl+N)
to create a new document. Click on Open button
(or Ctrl+O) to add images to the document.
Step 2 – Select the first image for the animation. Click
Open when finished. The selected image is now
located in the first frame of the animation (Figure 8), on the
left side of the window.
Figure 8 The first image is now inserted into the document.
Step 3 – Add subsequent images to the document by clicking
on Insert button (or Ctrl+I).
Select the subsequent image from the dialog box, and click Open.
Step 4 – After all the required images have been selected,
the user may preview the output by clicking Preview
button (or Ctrl+P).
Step 5 – Save the file as animated GIF by clicking
Save As… button (or Ctrl+A)
and selecting the location. Click Save when
finished. Figure 9 shows the resulting animated GIF.
To produce a perpetually looping animated GIF, check “Looping”
and “Repeat Forever” under the Animation
tab. Note that Microsoft® GIF Animator only accepts images
in GIF format as the input images.
Figure 9 The animated GIF produced by Microsoft� GIF Animator.
Kadri NA, Raha MG. Creating animated medical images: Part 1. Biomed Imaging Interv J 2006;2(2):e32.
Wikipedia. Shareware [Web Page]. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shareware.
Download.com. GIF Animator [Web Page]. Available at http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0.html?tg=dl-20&qt;=gif%20animator&tag;=srch.
|Received 29 June 2006; received
in revised form 23 September 2006; accepted 27 September
Correspondence: Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia. Tel.: +603 79676882, Fax: +603 79674579;
(Nahrizul Adib Kadri).
Please cite as: Kadri NA, Raha MG,
Creating animated medical images (Part 2), Biomed Imaging Interv J 2006; 2(3):e46
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