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Animation Shop

December 23rd last year, I was working on some example material for my seqmaker tool, a converter/player that turns image sequences into SEQ files that SCI11 can play. The DOS versions of King’s Quest 6 and Gabriel Knight 1 used them extensively. At first I wanted to use a GIF sequence from Prince of Persia, the original one, because it has very few colors (32) and the only animated elements in that sequence are the Prince and a touchplate.

The only tool I had available to me to manipulate the GIF was ffmpeg. It wasn’t very helpful as after I’d made the SEQ file and watched it in examine mode, which blanks out everything outside of the changed region, I found that there was very subtle dithering.

One would expect, when the Prince starts to turn around, that he’d be the only thing stored, much like this:

“No. Fuck you and the horse you dithered in on.”

This is simply not acceptable!

To think I’d already spent too long manually undithering the solid black background! So in the end I went with the first shot from Hotel Mario instead. Worked out great.

Now, years ago I used to have a program called Jasc Animation Shop. By the creators of Paint Shop Pro, which I use to this day. The old 8.0 version from Jasc, before Corel bent it over. Importantly, Animation Shop was meant for GIFs, but also supported AVI and could import from sequences. Even more importantlier, it could export to GIF with full quality control. Or at least full enough to ensure it wouldn’t add dither noise. Today I found a copy and tried the thing again for a laugh.

Beautiful.

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