The graphics interchange format is one of many graphics formats available for Web design and other projects. Other common formats are JPG and PNG, but each image format is different in its own way. GIF images are avoided in some cases because of the quality of each image, but they also have their advantages.
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Many webmasters will want to make the file size of each image as small as possible in order to optimise the load time of their websites. The GIF format can be rather bulky, so other formats are often used in its place. JPG images can often be sized smaller without losing much of their initial quality, but in comparison, GIF images are large no matter how they are saved.
GIF images are often avoided in favour of other formats such as JPG or PNG when it comes to image quality. The GIF format is limited to 8-bit (256) colours, which means that many images may end up looking grainy or overly compressed.
Transparent images are useful for designs that use curves and other special effects, and the GIF format supports transparency in its images while most others do not, making it a good choice for transparent images. PNG also supports transparency, but this format doesn't display correctly in as many browsers as GIF does.
GIF images can be animated by combining a number of frames into one compressed image. This can be done with a number of different graphics programs or websites that will create an image for you after uploading all the frames. Most other formats don't support animation at all, so GIF is a useful choice for this type of graphic, which can be used for user profile images, website banners, buttons and more.