GraphicsGale is an inexpensive, easy-to-use raster graphics editor for spriting, pixel art, and animations. It can animate images, create and edit custom icons and cursors for Windows, and batch-convert files. Its Onion Skin feature lets you view sequential animated frames in place. The separate GaleBrowser manages files. You can also use GraphicsGale to draw and paint like other graphics tools--it offers layers, effects, TWAIN acquisition, and more--but its primary focus is for producinganimated graphics for games and similar applications.
GraphicsGale works in any edition of Windows likely to be running, from 98 to 8, though obviously newer systems will better handle resource-intensive processes like creating animations. The program is free to try, and only costs $20.77, which is less than comparable tools.
GraphicsGale's user interface screams "graphics editor" on first glance, and there's nothing wrong with that--that's what the program does. Layout features include includes free-floating Preview, Frames, Palette, Loupe (magnifier), and Layer windows. The Help file includes a Tutorial section that explains each tool and feature and simple processes such as creating animated GIFs; the program's Web site adds more tutorials, such as how to create transparent GIF or PNG files.
I started by creating simple animated GIFs using several sets of files, including a series of existing GIFs and a JPEG sequence that was converted to GIFs using GraphicsGale's batch convert feature. I could drag frames into order (or into the trash) and edit each frame, individually. I also tested out GraphicsGale for drawing and image editing. Creating images pixel by pixel can be very tedious--GraphicsGale simplified the process and results were impressive, considering the applied skills.
GraphicsGale strikes a good balance between an intuitive process that you can learn by clicking a few buttons and more complicated tools that do everything but require night classes to learn how to use them. It simplifies detail-intensive processes, but new users are strongly recommended to start with the tutorial to make the application even simpler. For Web and app graphics, it's a top pick.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of GraphicsGale 1.93.22.