using still images to create animation?

i’ve downloaded a trial version to see if this will work: my client doesn’t want quicktime or flash installed to run a screensaver, but they want an animation for a screensaver. it’s a very simple 10 frame sequence, but i can’t get it to move quickly enough through the images to make the animation appear smooth. the minimum duration i can set is 0.001 secs but each image stays on screen way longer than that. so my questions are:

  1. is there a way of compressing/compiling still images so they can move through the sequence quicker? does building the screensaver speed up the processing?
  2. is there a way of randomizing the duration of a particular image, so it waits before going through the animated sequence?

thanks in advance.

Great questions.

iScreensaver can handle thousands of images, but there are limitations (both hardware, and software) on how fast they can be displayed. If you want to cycle though images very quickly, you’ll most likely need to do one of two things:

  • Convert your image sequences to a QuickTime movie. You can do this easily in QuickTime Player 7 – choose “Open Image Sequence” from the “File” menu, and then save as a movie file (we recommend Photo JPEG for maximum speed, or H.264 codec for maximum compression). This wouldn’t allow you to have random timings. However, you could create a dozen or so variations of the movie, and then have iscreensaver shuffle playback of the timing.

  • Create a SWF file using Macromedia Flash. This would allow you to program in random timings & loops.

thanks, but as i mentioned my client doesn’t want to have quicktime or flash installed on their machines in order to run the screensaver. so just to confirm there’s no way i can do points 1. or 2. above using still images?

Generally, the answer is no – you can’t really use the OpenGL slide-show engine for animation.


  1. The image size does matter, and building a screensaver (if you have compression enabled) will reduce the image size, and may (or may not) increase the speed. However, due to differences in speeds of many computers (CPU, Hard Drive, Video Card, etc. etc.) there’s no way to guarantee any particular timing.

I just ran a test, and with small images on a fast mac, I can get about 5 fps animation. With larger images the speed drops down to about 1fps.

  1. Random durations: no. However it’s easy to create pseudo-random sequences in the editor. Say you have 10 images. set them all to 0.5 seconds. Select all, duplicate. Set this batch to 1.5 seconds. Duplicate, and repeat. You can edit the timing of a batch of images in the editor using the multi-edit feature.

Set the sequence to shuffle, and you’ll end up with seemingly random durations.

Again, for what you client is asking, the slide show engine in iScreensaver doesn’t seem like the right tool, but feel free to experiment, and let us know if you can make it work for what they need?