Repeat Signage V4 help

Control - Animated gif

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Animated gif control

 

Supported file types .gif (animated ones only)
.svg (background pictures not supported in Windows XP)
Playlist support Yes
Scheduler support Hourly, daily and weekly scheduling
Scrolling support Yes
Rotation support No
File locations Files on local or network drives (all editions), Internet websites and FTP sites (Standard and above editions)
YouTube videos Repeat Signage controls - Animated gif control 2014

Description

A standard gif file is a type of picture/image file.  Animated gif files hold a series of pictures that are displayed one after the other which gives the appearance of animation.  These are often used on website pages to display moving images that can be seen correctly on any Internet browser.

The animated gif control allows animated gif files to be displayed on a white background.  The gif image then plays in a continuous loop. 

An example of an animated gif is at the bottom of this page.  There are also some examples on our Single, playlist, scrolling and advanced scrolling page.


   
WARNING - When inserting animated gif files, it is advised that you leave them the original size if possible.  Don't try to make them larger.  Any image file has a resolution, such as 640x480 pixels.  Try to make sure that when you size an animated gif control that you do not make your control bigger than the resolution of the animated gif otherwise you may get a poorer quality of image.  Most animated gif files collected from the Internet are really small in size as they are designed to be placed on website pages. 

We now include a number of sample animated gif files in our installation package.  The best ones are the arrows which can be useful if you want to highlight some text.  It depends on your usage to whether you feel they are professional enough for your audience.  For example, in primary and junior schools, using animated gifs can enhance a playing presentation as children are drawn to moving things.  However, using poor quality animated gif files in a shop window can be off-putting especially if you are trying to portray a professional image.

New in April 2015 - This control will also display most SVG files.  SVG files are a picture format that scale when resized.


Single animated gifs

On the designer screen menu, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert animated gif'.  This will allow you to choose an animated gif file.  If you select a standard gif file (a non-animated one), you will receive a message on saving.  You can then position and size your animated gif control as required.  Double click the animated gif control to view the properties.


Playlists of animated gifs

You can create a play list of animated gifs so that many animated gif files can be displayed, one after the other:

1.  On the designer screen menu, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert animated gif'.  This will allow you to choose a file.  This defaults to 'On local or network drive'. 

2.  Click on the browse button and choose an animated gif file and then click on 'Open' to return to the previous screen. 

3.  Now click on OK to insert the new control onto the designer.  You can then position and size your control as required. 

4.  Double click the Picture control to view the picture control's properties.

5.  Put a tick in the 'Use play list instead' tick box.  This will take you to the Playlist  tab.  Your first animated gif appears in the grid for you. 

6.  Use the 'Add' button to add other files to the list. 

NOTE - You could also use 'Add blank' to add blank items which can be used to give a pause between playing your gif files.  For example, you could insert a single gif file and set it to display for 2 seconds.  Then insert a blank item again for 2 seconds.  This would then give the effect of flashing the animated gif on and off the screen.

7.  When you have added your play list files, then click on the OK to close the properties screen and return to the designer.  Your play list will start playing immediately.  Then length of time each item will display for will depend on how long you specified for each play list item.

 
Scrolling animated gif files

1.  Follow the instructions for 'Playlist of animated gifs' above. 

2.  Open the picture control's properties by double clicking it and then selecting the 'Scrolling tab'. 

3.  Change the 'Scroll direction' combo box to an entry other than NONE, for example RIGHT TO LEFT.   Click on OK to see it scrolling. 

For more scrolling options, on the properties 'Scrolling tab', press the F1 key to see the various options.  Also see Single, playlist, scrolling and advanced scrolling for visual examples of what is currently possible.


Scheduling the playing of animated gif files (Standard and above editions only)

The information on creating a play list above shows you how to create a play list that just loops files.  On the play list tab, there is a 'Schedule type' drop down list.  You can change this from 'PLAYLIST' to 'HOURLY', 'DAILY', or 'WEEKLY'.  The difference between this and the 'PLAYLIST' option is that when you add items you have to specify 'From' and 'To' time values. 

For example, an HOURLY scheduler can be used to play a file at the start of every hour for 1 minute (0 minutes 0 seconds to 0 minutes 59 seconds).  You have to put in files to cover the entire hour.  If you don't want anything playing for the rest of the hour, then insert a blank item that covers from 1 minute 0 seconds to 59 minutes 59 seconds.  At the end of an hour, the entire hourly schedule will loop again.  When you play a presentation, it displays items based on the current time or day.

When you add a blank item, you can decide whether to make the blank item display the background of the control (which you can specify a colour or picture for) or whether to make the entire control invisible.  When adding or editing a blank item, go to the 'Blank item' tab and either tick or un-tick the 'Entire control is visible' box.   This is useful for scheduling when you want a control invisible.

The DAILY schedule type allows you to specify files and blank items to cover the entire day.  At the end of the day, the schedule will start again.  WEEKLY allows you to schedule what happens on each day of the week (at any time), and then restarts at the beginning of the next week.  Repeat Signage uses Monday as the first day of the business week.  Another thing to note is that every control that supports scheduling runs independently of all others, so you can have lots of different controls all doing different things.

Tools have been added to Repeat Signage to help you test scheduling.  On the designer screen menu, you can click on 'View' then 'View program time for schedule testing'.  Clicking on this puts the time on the bottom right of the designer screen menu.  This is the clock that Repeat Signage uses with controls.  You can change this time using 'View' then 'Change program time for schedule testing'.  This allows you to change either the time or date, so that you can see what will be displayed at any point.  For example, you may have an 'offer of the day' for each day of the week, made by displaying pictures in a picture control.  Changing the program date to another day will allow you to test that the correct picture file, with that day's offer on, is being displayed.


Playing animated gif files from RepeatServer.com or another website

You can create a free RepeatServer.com account and use this to upload animated gif files to your online account.  When you insert an animated gif file in your presentation you can choose to collect it from a website and point it at animated gif files that you have uploaded.  You then get your presentation to monitor the online version for changes.  When it detects that you have uploaded a new version of the animated gif file, then this is automatically downloaded and played whilst your presentation is running.   You can do this in the following way:

1.  Create a free RepeatServer.com if you haven't already done this.  This can be done by visiting www.RepeatServer.com in your web browser or via the 'RepeatServer.com' tab on the main Repeat Signage screen.

2.  Log onto your RepeatServer.com account and on the menu click on 'File' then 'Upload files'.

3.  Use the 'Browse' button and then locate your animated gif files on your hard disk (hold down your keyboard Ctrl key to select more than one at a time) and then click the 'Upload' button.

4.  On the RepeatServer.com menu, click on 'File' then 'Documents and files' list.

5.  You can now see your animated gif files that you just uploaded.  (You may have to use the page buttons if you can't see your file on the first page).

6.  Back to Repeat Signage.  Go to the main screen and select the 'RepeatServer.com' tab.  If you haven't already linked your Repeat Server account to Repeat Signage, then you will need to follow the instructions on screen.  When this has been done, then please click on the 'Refresh' button to display all your Repeat Server files, which should include all the files you have uploaded.  This needs to be visible before we can continue.

7.  Create a Repeat Signage presentation on your computer or open an existing one. In the Repeat Signage designer, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert animated gif'. 

8.  Click the 'RepeatServer' option and a list of your files will be displayed, which will include any you have just added above.  Now select your file by clicking on it, then click on the 'OK' button.  

9.  Click on 'OK' to insert the control.  The next thing to do is to resize the control to an appropriate size.

10. Double click your new control to see it's properties.  Click on the 'Refresh' tab.  By default, new controls that are collected from a website location will automatically check for changes every 15 minutes.  You can set this value appropriately.  If you need the presentation to update itself almost as soon as you make a change online, then set this value to check every minute, or 15 seconds, etc. 

To give this a test:

11.  Edit the animated gif file and make some changes (or overwrite it with a different animated gif file). 

12.  Log onto your RepeatServer.com account and upload the new version which will overwrite the original.

13.  Your presentation will update itself (even in the Repeat Signage designer) within 15 seconds.

You don't have to use RepeatServer.com as you could use your own website instead and use FTP software to upload and download files. 


Sources of animated gif files

Try a google.co.uk search on 'free animated gif files' and 'animated gif' files.  There are various websites offering commercial and free animated gifs and design companies that will produce them for you if you have a specific requirement.

www.sevenoaksart.co.uk - This site has some nice free animated gif files.


Creating and editing animated gif files

There are many software packages that allow you to create animated gif files.  Do a Google search on 'animated gif software'. 


Example animated gif file

Below is an animated gif of the Windows display settings tab in Windows Vista:


Windows Vista - How to extend the Windows Desktop onto multiple monitors