Graphics Optimizers

Does anyone have a recommendation for freeware or cheap shareware programs to create optimized GIFs? I’m interested in the following features:


  • Both Windows and Mac versions (could be separate programs)
  • Will read a Photoshop PSD file
  • Supports layers (minimally - image & separate background)
  • MOST IMPORTANT - Supports exporting transparent images w/ a ‘mask’ setting (i.e. can set the background color the image will be displayed on so the edge blending will look right).



    It would be great if it supported slices too, but I don’t think I’ll find a cheap program that does that well.



    I use photoshop, but it’s an expensive program and I’d like to recommend something cheaper to others that need this ability. I’ve also downloaded Paint.net per ETI’s post and will check it out, but it only runs on Windows and requires the .net framework to be installed, which is a lot to ask for a beginner.



    I’ve looked around and there are tons of optimizers out there, but none have really looked ideal and I thought someone here might have some ideas.

… Hate to break this to you but photoshop would be the best program to use.

PNG are my preference. PNG24 actually.



When you want to save an optermized file

Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S

all at the same time brings up image ready.



Regards,

Jesse

Paint Shop Pro is a cheaper alternative I guess.

[quote name=‘JesseLeeStringer’]… Hate to break this to you but photoshop would be the best program to use.

PNG are my preference. PNG24 actually.[/QUOTE]Sure, I know Photoshop + ImageReady is the best solution … I personally use it. But as I mentioned in my post, I was looking for an option for people who have only a limited need (optimizing), and don’t wish to lay out $300 for that one ability. Basically an easy and cheap alternative for people who aren’t graphically oriented.



PNG files are great, but are not supported by all browsers. I won’t use PNG until they are more commonly supported, why alienate customers or be “that site” that forces people to upgrade their browser? I’ll leave that heavy handed approach to others. Cutting edge is a nice place to be, but not unless your customers are also cutting edge.



Zyles, thanks, PSP is a reasonable alternative, I’ve been looking at it.



Thanks for the input. I’ve found a few cheaper options that I may consider recommending.

What about photoshop elements?



[url]http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/[/url]

Thanks ETI, I’ll check it out. I don’t know anything about Elements