GIF Construction Set Pro v2.0a - Powerful GIF editor to create, edit, optimize animations, single images and transparent GIF files for web pages. Easily create web animations in seconds with Animation Wizard; Fine tune them with the best block-management tools; Squeeze them with Supercompressor. Features intuitive user interface and extensive documentation. Win 95/98/2000/ME/NT - Updated Nov. 6, 2000 Shareware, Alchemy Mindworks Inc. $20.
March 2, 2020 Subject:
An amazingly good program
This is an excellent program. Especially for 1998! How do I know it's from 1998? That's what its copyright says in its "about" window.
This program gives you granular control over every single piece of data inside an animated GIF file, including headers and comment metadata. It can even view and edit a file with more than one comment block. You can't even do this in the year 2020 with EXIFtool! This program won't mangle data blocks that it doesn't understand, so futuristic metadata such as XMP are safely preserved. (This program was made 3 years before XMP was invented)
It has a feature called "super-compressor" which is amazingly good at optimizing a GIF to take up as little space as possible with many very clever tricks such as turning identical pixels transparent, cropping away unaltered areas of frames (did you know each frame can be a different size?), and removing unused palette colors. All without altering how the GIF animation itself looks. This compressor was actually able to slightly out-perform ImageMagick which also used most of these same tricks in 2019! But the super-compressor will refuse to deal with GIF animations where each frame has its own palette. This is surprising because this program can import AVI videos and convert them into GIF animations with optimized palettes.
The video export feature is also handled very intelligently. It exports an AVI file using the Microsoft Video 1 (CRAM) codec with palettized RGB, meaning that color palettes are preserved. And these files still work in modern versions of Windows Media Player to this day. Obviously VLC can also play them.
It has very extensive help documentation, both inside the program and outside.
You can click on any window or widget and press F1 to get useful help about that exact widget.
Meanwhile, the HTML help documentation includes information about not only the program but also about how computer graphics work and how Windows drivers handle color depth... all with a good sense of humor. Apparently GIF Construction Set expected Microsoft to get attacked by terrorists in the distant far-off year of 2008 for their awful graphics drivers.
This program is also very lax shareware. It doesn't limit any features or enforce any time limit. The only thing it does is add an additional comment block to your GIF's saying that they were made with an unregistered program.
The user interface could use some very slight improvements, but I can look past that considering this was made in 1998. It's still very easy to use.
There is a newer version of this program. Mind Workshop (previously Alchemy Mindworks) is still working on it more than 20 years later! And it's still shareware. http://www.mindworkshop.com/gifcon.html
In short, if you just want to make a simple GIF animation, the simplest way is probably just dropping an image-sequence onto an ImageMagick script. But if you want to see and edit every piece of data inside the file, GIF Construction Set is very good at that.