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Can I have an animated GIF with more than 256 colours per frame? I want to do an animated GIF but the limited colour pallet is making it look like rubbish.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, you can't; GIF format only allows 256 colours.

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Per frame. Before you mention practicality issues, I'm pretty sure Bing is using these true-color GIFs right now. –  John Chadwick Mar 16 '13 at 5:27

Yes, you can, with certain limitations.

GIF supports per-frame (local) palettes and has "as-is" frame disposal method which allows combining of several frames.

These two features together allow GIF to have more than 256 colors at a time. The catch is you can only take advantage of this when not all pixels of the image change between frames.

So if you have something moving in front of a still background, you can have more than 256-color animation — the moving object will be limited to 256 colors, but the background could be composed of several frames with different palettes.

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No, gif are not limited to 256 colors


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While sort of true, the true-color GIF hack has some major limitations: it doesn't work on image viewers that don't support animation (or in browsers where the user has disabled GIF animation), it may render very slowly in some browsers that impose a minimum frame delay, and it tends to produce huge files that compress poorly. It's neat, but not really very useful in the real world. Just use PNG if you need more than 256 colors. (Alas, MNG/APNG browser support is really spotty.) –  Ilmari Karonen Apr 19 '12 at 0:20
Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. –  Mark Henderson Jan 8 '13 at 20:41

At least in theory you can stack gifs and make the extra colors transparent.

First you copy each frame so that you have 2 of each. Then select the area by color with the sensitivity low enough so that it selects half the picture. Then just errase everything inside the selection. Now invert the selection. Then go to the next frame. And errase everything again. Save the end result. raw-ani.gif Delete half the frames. Save with a new file name. ani1.gif Load the the previously saved version. Delete the other half of the frames. Save again. ani2.gif

Hack some html with absolute positioning and put ani2.gif on top of ani1.gif

Repeat the process to make 4 layers, 8, 16, what you want

You could also speed up the raw-ani.gif result and have what porneL described.

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It is possible to have a true colour gif as this article outlines:


however it is not very practical.

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