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-- by Erik Sherman
It can be quite a challenge to add multimedia zest to a Web page, especially for the nonartist. The proliferation of "killer" Web sites only adds to the task, as the cyberpublic's tastes quickly become jaded. Luckily, the increasingly available prebuilt design elements for the Web now includes the PhotoDisc Animation Series.
Seattle-based PhotoDisc is known for high-quality stock photography on CD-ROMs, oriented around such themes as business and family. The Animation Series takes the company's previous work further with full movement and sound for use on Web sites or in multimedia presentations. You prepare the royalty-free animations in Macromedia Director, then translate them to the Macromedia Shockwave format for multimedia presentations to stream over the Internet to users.
PhotoDisc deserves kudos for the way it sets up an animation series. Designers choose catchy animations, such as a ringing telephone, a waving hand, a barking dog or a clucking rubber chicken. Their highly contained nature makes them easy to integrate into your presentations or Web site.
Basic and Pro versions are available for each collection. The Basic product includes 8-bit Shockwave files, as well as animated GIF versions that don't support sound. The Pro version includes the same, but adds 24-bit Director files for customizing the animations, as well as three different size options for each animation.
PhotoDisc's Animation Series is worth considering to add flash to your work or for use as a starting point for more extensive animation.