Manpage of XAnim


Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 21Mar99
Return to Main Contents


xanim - multiformat animation/video/audio viewer for X  


xanim [ +Vnum ] [ +Aaopts ] [ +Ccopts ] [ +Ggopts ] [ +Mmopts ] [ +Ssopts ] [ +Wwopts ] [ +Zzopts ] [ +opts ] animfile [ [ +opts ] [ animfile ] ... ]


is a program that can display animation/video/audio files of various formats on systems running X11. XAnim currently supports the following animation types:

FLI animations.
FLC animations.
IFF animations. The following features are supported:
GIF87a and GIF89a files.
GIF89a animation extension support.
a kludgy text file listing gifs and what order to show them in.
DL animations. Formats 1, 2 and partial 3.
Amiga PFX(PageFlipper Plus F/X) animations. TEMP DISABLED
Amiga MovieSetter animations(For those Eric Schwartz fans).
Utah Raster Toolkit RLE images and anims.
AVI Animations.
Quicktime Animations.
SGI Movie Format Files.
WAV audio files may have their sound added to any animation type that doesn't already have audio, by specifying the .wav file after the animation file on the command line.
AU audio files may have their sound added to any animation type that doesn't already have audio, by specifying the .wav file after the animation file on the command line.
JFIF images. NOTE: use XV for single images. This is more for animation of a sequence of JPEG images.
MPEG animations. NOT FULLY SUPPORTED. NO AUDIO. And currently only Type I Frames are displayed. Type B and Type P frames are currently ignored, but will be added in future revs. It also doesn't handle MPEGs with audio streams.
any combination of the above on the same command line.
See the file "Formats.doc" for specific support details for each format.
Please read the "README.dll", "README.zlib", "cinepak.readme", "indeo.readme" and "creative.readme" files

XAnim also provides various options that allow the user to alter colormaps, playback speeds, looping modes and can provide on-the-fly scaling of animations with the mouse.  


A + will generally turn an option on and a - will turn an option off. This can be reversed at compile time. (see xanim_config.h).

In each SubMenu, the options can be run together with no intervening spaces. In the list of SubMenu options presented below, the first letter given is the letter that specifies the SubMenu and should NOT be repeated if several SubMenu options are to be run together.

For example, "+Cn +Cs10 +CF4" can also be written as "+Cns10F4" or "+CF4s10n".

A + or a - within a SubMenu will be an exit from that submenu. Options will affect all animations following the invocation of that option. Some options may be changed in between animations without affecting previous animations.

In the following sections, an num represents an integer number and an fnum represents a floating point number. If a floating point number is of an integer amount, the . need not be specified. There should be no spaces between the option and the numbers.

aopts SubMenu for Audio Options

AIX Only. Specify audio device. Default is /dev/paud0/1 . Another common audio device is /dev/acpa0/1 . For example: "+AD/dev/acpa0/1".
Audio Enable. XAnim will ignore audio data if this option is not used.
This option allows XAnim to skip video frames in order to help keep video in sync with audio. default is on.
Take the audio from the next audio-only file and use it with the video file previous to it. Any audio already existing in that video file will be discarded. NOTE: XAnim by default will add audio from an audio-only file to a previous video only(ie not audio) file. This option just forces the issue if the previous file already has audio.
Take the audio from the next audio-only file and use it with the video file previous to it. And in addition, scale the timing of that video file to be of the same duration of this audio file. Any audio already existing in that video file will be discarded.
This turns a hardware specific Audio port on or off. The default port is selectable in xanim_config.h. It's shipped with internal speaker as default.
Scale Audio playback speed by "fnum". Only the range 0.125 to 8.00 is allowed. NOTE: Video does not currently scale with the audio.

 0 - internal speaker

 1 - headphones or external speaker

 2 - line out
Sets the inital Audio Volume(0-100) with 0 the lowest. default is 40.

copts SubMenu for Color Options

Create a colormap from the first frame of a TrueColor anim and then remap the remaining frames to this colormap. This can potentially add significant time to the startup of an animation but usually results in better colors. The animation needs to be buffered for this option to work. Not valid for TrueColor or DirectColor displays(nor is it needed).
Convert TrueColor anims to 332(StaticColor). TrueColor anims are animations that provide separate RGB info for each pixel, rather than each pixel being an index into a global colormap. AVI(16bit CRAM), QT(RPZA and RLE depth 16 and 24) and URT RLE 24 bit anims are examples of TrueColor anims. This option is ignored for TrueColor or DirectColor displays.
Create a colormap from each frame of a TrueColor anim. This can be useful if the colors radically change during the course of the animation. This can take a VERY,VERY long time at start up. Animation must be buffered. This option is ignored for TrueColor or DirectColor displays.
Remap all images to single new cmap created from all of the colormaps.
Use Floyd-Steinberg dithering if needed for non-monochrome displays. This will cause a reduction in playback speed.
Forcibly remap to all frames to 1st frame's cmap.
Disables +CF4.
This option samples the colors of true color animations ahead of time and forms a color lookup table. Beats the just truncating to a RGB 332 color table and IMHO beats dithering. See the +s option below(also in copts submenu). NOTE: this is now on by default.
Convert TrueColor anims to gray scale. This option is ignored for TrueColor and DirectColor displays.
Use histogram to aid in color reduction. Histrogramming is only done on frames that are buffered.
This option is currently needed if you want to dither TrueColor anims to a 332 colormap. Animation must be buffered. Typically +bC3dm is the option to use. This can take a VERY long time at start up.
Don't create new colormap but instead allocate colors from the X11 Display's default cmap.
This is the number of frames the +CF4 option looks at ahead of time. More frames potentially yields better colors results, but takes more time at start up. default is 5.

gopts SubMenu for Gamma Options

Set gamma of animation to be displayed.
Set gamma of display. 1.0 is no change. gamma's greater than 1.0 typically brighten the animation.

mopts SubMenu for Median-Cut Quantization Options

compute box color from average of box.
compute box color as center of box.
Truncate rgb to num bits before quantizing.

sopts SubMenu for Scaling Options

Half the height of IFF anims if they are interlaced.(Not completely reliable since not all IFF anims correctly identify themselves as interlaced).
Prevents X11 window from resizing to match animations's size.
Allow user to resize animation on the fly. Enlarging an animation can greatly reduce playback speed depending on the power of the cpu.
Scale the size of animation by fnum before displaying.
Scale the horizontal size of the animation by fnum before displaying.
Scale the vertical size of the animation by fnum before displaying.
Scale the animation to have width num before displaying.
Scale the animation to have height num before displaying.
Copy display scaling factors to display buffering factors.
Scale the size of the animation by fnum before buffering it.
Scale the horizontal size of the animation by fnum before buffering it.
Scale the vertical size of the animation by fnum before buffering it.
Scale the animation to have width num before buffering it.
Scale the animation to have height num before buffering it.
Copy buffer scaling factors to display scaling factors.

wopts SubMenu for Remote Window and Control Options.

See the file Remote_Window.doc for more details.
Specify X11 Window id of window to draw into.
Don't refresh window at end of anim.
Use property string for communication. Default is XANIM_PROPERTY
Prepare anim, but don't start playing it.
Resize X11 Window to fit anim.
Position anim at x coordinate num.
Position anim at y coordinate num.
Position relative to center of anim.

zopts SubMenu for Special Options

XAnim will exit after playing through command line once.
XAnim pause at frame num and then wait for user input. Several pauses may be specified. Each group of pauses will only affect the animation immediately following them on the command line. Pauses will occur at least once.
XAnim will pause on the last frame of the animation.
This option pops up the Remote Control Window. This overrides the default condition set in xanim_config.h. Remote Control support must be compiled into XAnim for this to work.
This option cause XAnim to exit prior to even displaying the animation. This is useful in conjunction with the +v option if you just want to obtain info about the animation without actually playing it.

Normal Options

Uncompress and buffer images before displaying. This only applies to AVI, QT, IFF, FLI, FLC, JPEG, MPEG and DL animations. The rest(GIF87a, GIF89a, PFX and RLE) are currently always uncompressed and buffered. This is cleared by the +f option.
Used X11 Shared Memory(if present) for unbuffered animations only.(This is mutually exclusive with +b above).
Use X11 Multi Buffering (if present) to smooth animations by double-buffering. Default is on.
Don't load anim into memory, but read each section only when needed. This is supported only for AVI, QT, IFF, FLI, FLC, JPEG, MPEG and DL animations. This option is cleared by the +b option. This saves memory at the cost of speed.
let xanim know that iff anim is a nonlooping one.
debug switch. num can be from 0(off) to 5(most) for level of detail.
Floyd-Steinberg dithering when needed.
num is the number of milliseconds between frames. if 0 then the time specified in the animation is used for timing purposes.
loop animation num number of times before moving on to next animation.
ping-pong animation num number of times before moving on to next animation.
don't display images. Useful for benchmarking.
turns on certain optimizations. See xanim.readme.
Use Pixmap instead of Image in X11. This option has no effect if the animation is buffered(either by default or with the +b option).
Prevents XAnim from printing out the title header. Useful for when XAnim is called by other programs where no tty output is desired(doesn't affect +v or +d# options).
Tiles animation/video onto X11 root screen.
Allow color cycling for IFF single images.
Allow color cycling for IFF anims. (default should be off)
Title option 0. Title is just XAnim.
Title option 1. Title is current anim name. When anim is stopped, the current frame number is included.
Title option 2. Title is current anim name and current frame number.
Verbose mode. Gives some information about animation such as size, number of frames, etc.
Select X11 Visual to use when displaying animation. The num is obtained by using the +X option of xanim.
Select the best X11 Visual of Class class when displaying the animation. class can be anyone of the following strings and is case insensitive. (ie StaTicGraY is same as staticgray).
Select best StaticGray Visual.
Select best GrayScale Visual.
Select best StaticColor Visual.
Select best PseudoColor Visual.
Select best TrueColor Visual.
Select best DirectColor Visual.
X11 verbose mode. Display information about the support X11 visuals.



Once the animation is up and running there are various commands that can be entered into that animation window from the keyboard.

Stop color cycling.
Toggle ping pong flag for looping.
Restore original Colors(useful after g).
Restore original window size(useful after resizing).
This pops up or removes the Remote Control Window. Remote Control support must be compiled into XAnim for this to work.
Toggle. starts/stops animation.
Single step back one frame.
Single step forward one frame.
Go back to start of previous anim.
Go forward to start of next anim.
Single step back one frame staying within anim.
Single step forward one frame staying within anim.
Increase animation playback speed.
Decrease animation playback speed.
Reset animation playback speed to original values.
Decrement volume by 10.
Decrement volume by 1.
Increment volume by 1.
Increment volume by 10.
Toggle. Audio Volume(MUTE). on/off.
Toggle. Main Speaker. on/off.
Toggle. Headphones. on/off.



Once the animation is up and running the mouse buttons have the following functions.

Single step back one frame.
Toggle. starts/stops animation.
Single step forward one frame.



XAnim by default will read the entire animation into memory. PFX, Moviesetter, GIF or URT RLE type animations are always uncompressed and stored in memory as individual images.

For the AVI, QT, IFF, FLI/FLC, JPEG, MPEG and DL animations, only the compressed delta is stored. These deltas are then uncompressed each time they need to be displayed. The buffer option(+b) may be used to potentially speed up playback by uncompressing and storing these images ahead of time. But more memory is used up in the process.

When an XPutImage is called, the image typically gets copied twice, once to memory and then from there onto the display. A pixmap is directly copied onto the display without the first copy. This is why it is sometimes much faster to use the pixmap option(+p). Each image isn't converted into a pixmap until the first time it is displayed. This is why the first loop of an animation using this option is sometimes slower than subsequent loops. While the pixmap option may improve playback speed, it will slow things down if on-the-fly scaling needs to be performed. This is because XAnim no longer has direct access to the image and needs to get a copy of it before it can be scaled.

The read from file option(+f) causes XAnim not to store the compressed deltas in memory. Instead as each image is to be displayed, XAnim reads the corresponding compressed delta from the file, expands it and then displays it. While this can dramatically cut down on memory usage, the necessary reads from disk(or whatever) can slow down playback speed. XAnim still needs to allocate one to three image buffers depending on the type of animation and the scaling options used. This option is only supported for AVI, QT, FLI/FLC, IFF, JPEG, MPEG and DL animations. The BODY chunk of IFF animations is not included in this. As a result, an IFF animation that is made up of several BODY chunks will not currently benefit from this option.



There are two sets of scaling options. One set, the display scaling factors, affects the size of the animation as it is displayed. The other set, the buffer scaling factors, affect the size of the images as they are stored in memory(buffered). The buffer scaling factors only affect animations that are buffered and can greatly increase or decrease memory usage.

These two sets are completely independent of each other. You can set the buffer scaling factors to 20 times the normal animation size and not affect the size at which that animation is displayed. The images are stored at 20 times the normal size(and at 400 times the memory usage), but then get scaled back down to normal size before being displayed. NOTE: that an animation must be buffered in order for the buffer scaling factors to have any affect on it. The display scaling factors affect all animations.

You can create pixellation like affects by buffering the animation at 1/8 it's normal size, but keeping the display scaling factors at the original size. (IE "xanim +bSS0.125 anim.anim").

Many times it's faster to store and display an animation with large dimensions at half-size. The option "+bSS0.5C" or "+bSS0.5s0.5" both will accomplish this. To save memory, you could even store the animation at half size and yet display it at full size. "+bSS0.5" will accomplish this.



Many type of animations(FLI/FLC/IFF/some AVI and QTs) are compressed with forward playback in mind only. Each delta only stores the difference between the current frame and the previous frame. As a results, most of these animations don't display correctly when played backwards. Even when buffered up, these may not work, since XAnim only stores the smallest rectangle that encompasses the changes from the previous frame. You can force XAnim to store the entire frame by specifying the "-o" option to turn this optimization off. This will most likely use more memory and slow down the animation, since more of the image needs to be stored and/or displayed.



Most of this will be a TBD for a future rev and what's here might be sketchy, incomplete or just plain confusing.

TrueColor and DirectColor displays don't need to worry about most of these options, as the animations can be displayed in their original colors(ignoring monitor variations etc). However, TrueColor and DirectColor displays can't display animations that employ color cycling techniques where the colormap changes from frame to frame. DirectColor could potentially support this, but not TrueColor.

For the rest of the displays, the problem becomes matching the colors in the animations to the available colors of the Display. For most PseudoColor displays this means 256 colors. Many of which are already in use by various other programs. XAnim defaults to creating it's own colormap and using all the colors from that. The window manager then installs this new colormap, whenever the mouse pointer is inside the XAnim animation window(Sometimes a specific action is required to change the ColorMap Focus, like clicking in the window or pressing a specific key). In any case, this action usually causes all the other colors on the screen to be temporarily "messed-up" until the mouse is moved out of the animation window. The alternative, is to use the "+Cn" option. Now XAnim tries allocating all the colors it needs from the current colormap. If it can't get a certain color, then XAnim choose one that is "close" to this certain color. Close is completely arbitrary. The animation is now displayed in colors that are different than the original colors. This difference may or may not be noticeable.

Another big problem is when the animations are what I called TrueColor animations. Where each pixel is stored as RGB triplets. For example, AVI 16 bit CRAM animations. Each pixel has 5 bits of Red, 5 bits of Green and 5 bits of Blue info associated with it. This means there can be up to 32768 unique colors in each image. And on most PseudoColor displays we can only display 256 unique colors. Beside getting better displays, what can we do? XAnim defaults to truncating the RGB information from 555 to 332. That is to 3 bits of Red, 3 bits of Green and 2 bits of Blue. Less on Blue because the human eye is more sensitive to Red and Green than Blue. This 332 colormap happens to be 256 colors in size, which nicely fits in with our display. If our display only had 64 colors, then XAnim is smart enough to truncate things down to 222. Now the problem is the colors of the displayed anim are noticeably different than the original colors. Typically you can see color banding etc. While this is fine to get a feel for the animation, we can do better. One of the solutions XAnim currently offers is the "+bC1" option. What this does is choose the the best 256 colors from the first image of the animation. Then each pixel of each subsequent image is remapped to one of these 256 colors. This takes up some CPU time up front and more memory since each image needs to be buffered, but results in a colors that are closer to the originals. Another option, "+bCA", chooses the best 256 from each image, then 256 colors from all these colormaps are chosen as the final colormap. This is useful if the colors in the first image aren't representative of the rest of the animation. This can be very slow. Another option that is supported, but not really optimized for yet is "+bC3dm". This causes XAnim to use a 332 colormap and then apply a Floyd-Steinberg dither algorithm to each image. Currently this is very slow. Different dithers(like Ordered) and better optimizations might speed this up in future revs. In general, handling of TrueColor animations in XAnim needs to be improved.

Another scenario where colors need to be remapped, is when several images or animations with different colormaps need to be displayed. Changing the colormap usually results in an annoying flicker. One solution to this is to remap all of the images/animations to the same colormap. The "+Ca" option chooses the best colors from all the colormaps and then remaps all the images to it. The "+Cf" option, simply remaps everything to the first colormap. The "+Ch" option is useful when an animation's colormap specifies a lot of colors that aren't used. XAnim looks through each buffered image of the animation and makes a histogram of the useage of each color. This information is then used to weedout unused or rarely used colors.



Quicktime animations are usually stored in two separate files. One is call a data fork and ends with a ".data". The other is a resource fork and ends in a ".rsrc". Sometimes these animations are in a "flattened/merged fork" format, where everything is put into one file. There's no standard naming format for these types of files, although usually .qt or .mov is used.

For example, if you have a quicktime animation made up of two files named: "spin.rsrc" and "", you can display them using Xanim with either of the following commands "xanim spin" or "xanim spin.rsrc". XAnim is smart enough to add/modfiy the ".rsrc" and ".data" endings as needed.

If you use AUFS from the Columbia Appletalk Package, then Macintosh files have their data fork stored in the expected place, and the resource fork is in a file with the same name in a .resource subdirectory. Therefore, if the data fork is in "spin", and the resource fork is in ".resource/spin", the movie can be displayed with "xanim spin".

For "flattened/merged_fork" quicktime animations, you need to specify the entire file name.

NOTE: XAnim doesn't support 100% of the quicktime format.



Mark Podlipec




This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 20:58:25 GMT, April 21, 2024