off by one for 2009 June 25 (entry 0)

Throbbing You Blind >

[Trackback URL for this entry] [Comments] (3) Thu Jun 25 13:21:45 Highway Throbbery:

I've always wanted to get the old-timey Netscape "N" throbber working in Firefox, just for some of that retro feel. I found an old copy of the "N" throbber in my files and updated it for use with Firefox.

Here are some instructions for changing your throbber.

And here is an archive with the necessary files for that 90s feel. (Soul Asylum MP3s not included.)

The original throbber was 16 colors (EGA) and 30x30, but Firefox uses 16x16, 20x20, and 24x24 throbbers. Scaling the old dithered throbber looked awful, so I converted the GIF up to RGB, replaced the dithering with a solid color and made resized versions. However, the original GIF had an EGA palette, so converting the resized GIFs looked awful -- what I needed were more shades of the colors used in the image. With a limited palette, I could get several shades of each color within the 8-bit limit (DOOM used a similar trick). So, I stretched and blurred the RGB image and converted it back to 8-bit to make a reasonable indexed colormap (here are my source files). Then, I applied that map to my resized GIFs. Now you can party like its 1995!

Filed under: technical:hack


Posted by Screwtape at Thu Jun 25 19:50:17

Surely it would have been easier to just redraw the original throbber at different resolutions. It's not like it uses very complicated shading; you could build all of them just by copying and pasting image fragments from the original and maybe tweaking the dithering of the pale blue in the middle.

Posted by pedro at Thu Jun 25 22:42:13

Well, yes and no.

What I should have done was just directly convert the 30x30 16-color GIF to RGB, shrink it to the new sizes in RGB mode, and then apply a best-fit 256 color palette.

The reason I built directly off the original is that I wanted it to be exactly the same as the original, with the original shading exactly as it was. I could have faked it (it's not complicated as you said), but I wanted it to be as true to the low-res nature as it could be, while not looking crappy at 16x16. There are only 7 unique frames in the animation, anyway. What I did was replace the dither with a solid, non-EGA color in RGB mode. I did this by masking out the dithered part of the N with selection tools... surely just as easy as copying and pasting image fragments.

I thought that Gimp wanted to switch back to the original EGA palette for some reason... which is why my solution was more complicated.) But I just tried it now and that's not the case, so I don't know what I was thinking.

Posted by pedro at Thu Jun 25 22:43:09

I was going to say, I think I'll make an "F" throbber in the same style when I get a chance.


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