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Based on my hazy understanding of the animated GIF file format, I believe that what I ended up with is very similar to animated GIFs, from a high level at least (i.e., a collection of frames, each of which containing multiple rectangles where the frame differs from the previous one). I have no idea why the animated gif encoders I tried did such a poor job size wise, it looked as if none of them even tried to find the minimal set of changes from one frame to another. I didn't spend too long looking, as 8-bit color was always going to be a show stopper.

I think GIFs only have one rectangle that differs per frame so a "dumb" encoder would be replacing nearly the whole frame each time, since your changes are small but distributed all over the frame.

The smarter encoders would encode most of that rectangle as transparent and let the previous frames show through.

Your example image (http://www.sublimetext.com/anim/rename2_packed.png) is in 8-bit colour. Perhaps you just only tried the awful GIF encoders that couldn't even do the dithering well :)


Next thing I'll find out that you actually can get a JavaScript callback when a GIF has finished animating.

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