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Gimp is a terrific free image editor that allows a user to create and edit animated gifs.
Windows Bitmap .bmp is actually an excellent format to use when manipulating an image because it is RGB 24-bit and uncompressed. You can make changes to a file and save as a new name without incurring any loss in quality. Once you are through manipulating, then a save in JPEG is appropriate.
Many serious image makers use TIFF format because it is recognized by Windows, Mac, Linux, and other systems, and is a loss-less format that can be saved as uncompressed (for universal compatibility) or with several types of loss-less compression, such as LZW or ZIP, and lossy JPEG. If saved with compression, some image applications may not be able to open the file. ICC profiles may be included, and CMYK color space is possible in addition to RGB.
Another FREE download that I use is Xnview, It recognizes several hundred file extensions. It is handy to use for a lot of things. I do use Faststone for my basic viewer and quick editor. I often open Xnview and put it on my task bar for those screen captures I encounter and want to send along.
I really like the FastStone Image Viewer and have been using it for some time. It has an option to resize and resample "lossless" copies of a photo. It doesn't really matter to me either since I don't usually see any difference but the option is there for those who do.
Another interesting point concerning PNG, is that its 32bits/pixel (RGB+256 levels of transparency), and it supports a 256 colours version with transparency (like GIF) for simpler images.
This, plus the compression, makes it a far better format than BMP.
Leo, I use the Microsoft GIF Animator (free) and there WAS a free one called Gale.exe from Ulead at one time.
When storing photos I often re-size them to an 800 X 600 size. I save photos not as art but as history. Friends often remark how easy my photos load and how visually pleasant they are. Experiment with what size works for you. Remember that the bigger they are the more space they take up also the slower they load.
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