Although movement and action can enliven a Web page, traditional animation formats would be too demanding for the Net's narrow bandwidth. You can use a variation on the humble GIF format to create compact animation files, or you can go all out with animations created with high-end authoring apps.
PhotoImpact GIF Animator ($29.95; Ulead Systems, 800-858-5323, 310-523-9393). This is one of the best--and cheapest--GIF animators around. You can quickly construct animations either from multiple GIF images, by color cycling or by using a variety of built-in transitional effects.
Macromedia Shockwave 6 (Free; Macromedia, 800-326-2128, 415-252-2000). Shockwave 6 is the ultimate for adding multimedia to the Web. It covers Director, FreeHand and Authorware. It compresses files created in these programs and lets any Web visitor with the plug-in quickly download and play the files back. This means complex multimedia applications, like those created with Director, can be played over the Web with little download lag.