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An animated GIF is an image encoded in graphics interchange format (GIF),which contains a number of images or frames in a single file and is described by its own graphic control extension. The frames are presented in a specific order in order to convey animation. An animated GIF can loop endlessly or stop after a few sequences.
The GIF design allows users to define new blocks. In the 1990s, Netscape designed the Netscape Application Block, which indicates that the file is an animation and not a static image. This was first supported in Netscape 2.0 and spread to other browsers. It is still in wide use today.
An animated GIF is also known as a GIF89a.
Animated GIF is an extension of the GIF standard, which allows animated images to be created by cramming a set of frames into a single file for sequential playback. Even with multiple images on the same file, the file size can still be made small because of the way GIF is encoded and because of a limited color palette. This means that the resulting image lacks detail and is of lower visual quality compared to other image formats.
Animated GIFs are a quick-and-easy way to present dynamic content, especially in Web pages. Their file sizes are small compared to other alternatives for creating dynamic content like Java and Flash and therefore can be downloaded by the browser easily, allowing for a faster browsing experience.