Why are my GIFs so pixelated?

This title is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a question I’ve asked, directly and indirectly, on this blog for the last couple of posts. And I think I’ve finally found the answer, so really it’s not so much why my GIFs are pixelated that I’m wondering at this point, but why others’ GIFs are not.

The pixelation I’m talking about

You can see it in the following GIFs I’ve done recently. Note, I’m using GIMP.

And what I’m talking about is that the colours get all pixelated. I didn’t have this issue with the GIFs I made during the #ds106zone—those were all black and white. That was a clue to what is going on…something with colours.

Why it happens (I think)

After numerous web searches last night, what I came up with as the cause is probably that the original images I’m using for the GIFs are in RGB colour, and GIFs have to be in indexed colour, at a maximum of 256 colours. So when the image is exported as a GIF, it reduces the colours and I get this.

The text on the Scottlo GIF is a different matter. I’m not certain what causes that, though maybe it has to do with anti-aliasing and semi-flattening, as discussed here? Ideas?

What can be done?

I don’t know. Any ideas? I thought at first maybe I was just out of luck because GIFs have to have smaller numbers of colours.

But that can’t be all there is to it, because other people have been making GIFs in colour and they look better. Sure, there’s still some of this pixelated colour stuff, but it seems not as bad, I think.  See, for example, GIFs by Talky Tina, John Johnston, Rockylou, Andrew Forgrave.

So what are they doing that I’m not, besides using other programs than GIMP, and can I do in GIMP what they’re doing?

Or am I just being too picky about how my GIFs look? Entirely possible!

Thanks to any and all who have ideas. Much appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.