CIMSS Satellite Blog: Java and QuickTime Animations

The majority of the image animations posted on the CIMSS Satellite Blog use either the Java applet AniS, or the Apple QuickTime application. The Java applet has the advantage of using the raw images (preserving the original "high quality" of the individual images), plus it allows a greater degree of user control over such items as animation speed, image zooming, fading between images, etc. However, the Java applet is very memory (RAM) intensive for longer animations, which may cause it to fail on some computers that lack adequate RAM resources ( remember to check your Java memory requirements!). Since Java is a true "cross platform" solution, the animations can be viewed on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux computers (however, some Linux browsers may need to have the Java plug-in installed).

QuickTime has the advantage of creating a smaller self-contained animation file for longer loops, due to efficient compression schemes. However, user controls are more limited than with the Java applet. QuickTime animations can be viewed on Windows or Mac OS X computers (most Windows and Mac OS X browsers already include the QuickTime plug-in).

The user controls for the Java applet and for QuickTime are probably fairly intuitive to most...but here are some additional tips on using the Java applet and QuickTime for viewing image animations:

The Java applet controls are located above the images; usually the animation is set to begin playing automatically, once all the individual images are loaded into RAM. You can stop the animation and step forward/backward using the ">" or "<" "VCR buttons" in the controls area, or you can stop the looping and then advance forward/backward using the Right/Left arrow keys on your keyboard.

The QuickTime player (viewed using a web browser) has a small control bar along the bottom of the images. You can grab the slider knob and swing forward/backward quickly through the animation if you desire a faster speed. To advance forward/backward through each individual image, you can either click on the appropriate "VCR button" on the far right end of the control bar, or click on the image (to gain "focus") and then repeatedly press the Left or Right arrow key on your keyboard to advance backward or forward through the images. To manually start/stop the animation, press the Space Bar (or the Return/Enter key) to toggle betweem "play" and "pause" modes.

If you are trying to view large images on a small monitor, you may not be able to see the QuickTime control bar along the bottom. However, you can still (1) click on the image to gain "focus", and then repeatedly use the Left or Right arrow key on your keyboard to advance backward or forward through the images, or (2) press the Space Bar (or the Return/Enter key) to toggle between "play" and "pause'" modes.