Animation stutters

I just bought a new laptop (Gateway M350, Pentium 4, Windows XP Professional, and I don’t know what other specs are important to list…) and when I try to run the animations I have created on Toonboom, the animation runs a few frames, pauses, runs a few more, pauses, etc. Gateway tech help has been no help except that we’ve eliminated faulty hardware and conflicts with other software. This happens in both Quicktime and Windows media player and also any time I try to preview the animation using the Quick SWF button in Toonboom but interestingly, does not happen if I import the animation into Windows Movie Maker or Pinnacle studio. The animations ran fine on my previous computer that was three years old and less powerful and the files are generally quite small so this new computer should be capable of running them.

Any suggestions? And are there any books you might recommend that explain things like codecs, file formats, and other digital video terminology that might help me in understanding these compatibility issues?

Thanks for your help. I specifically bought this new computer to allow me to do more animating and video projects so it’s very frustrating not to be able to run the simplest animations.


I’m not a highly technie guy, but I’ll offer my two cents.

Usually a stutter is the result of insufficient resources (CPU or RAM), but it sounds like you’ve got that covered with your new computer. Is your computer a laptop? What kind of video card do you have? How much RAM is on the video card?

If I understand your mail, the studdering file is a SWF file? That by itself opens up a lot of possibilities. But you mentioned that it plays fine on your old computer, so that is what raises the big question mark and makes you want to say Hmmmmm…

I can suggest a couple things to try: Download the latest Flash player from Macromedia’s site. Then open your browser and drag the .SWF file into your browser window. How does it play?

I did as Steve suggested and interestingly, the playback on my animations as both swf and mov files are fine as long as I’m connected to the internet but when I disconnect, I’m back to the old stutter problem.

Does that provide any more clues?


Well, it sounds like you should check your network settings in XP. Also check your modem or network card and update drivers. Before you try it again reboot your computer.

If it works while you are online, but not offline it sounds like your computer is searching for the network connection when you are offline and bogging down things enough to cause problems with Flash SWF playback.

Gateway has nice deals, but they aren’t the top end PC maker, so, you might have more problems like this than someone that bought a computer from Dell or Apple, but you should be able to get it to work.


After trying everything (checking my network settings, making sure I had all the latest media software, and drivers, and checking just about every crook and cranny of the operating system) Gateway Tech help (and I use the word “help” reluctantly) decided that my machine had been ghosted incorrectly. We are currently in the process of attempting to fix that though I am also in the process of trying to decide whether to chuck the whole thing and get a different computer. If I didn’t have to use this laptop for work as well as animations, I’d switch to a Mac.

Thanks for all of your suggestions anyway.


Epilogue and warning:

The computer in question was actually the second one I had tried because the first one Gateway sent had given me the same problem so they replaced it thinking it was a hardware defect. When the second one still could not run animations, Gateway finally decided the machines were being ghosted improperly which is where I was at my last post.

After trying unsuccessfully three times to reinstall the operating system according to their instructions, I was fed up and decided to return the computer. When I requested a return, however, Gateway told me that my 15 day return warranty had expired. I said, “I’ve only had this computer for four days,” to which they replied, “The warranty starts upon receipt of the first computer not the replacement.” That means that although it took two weeks for them to send me a replacement, the return warranty clock was ticking that whole time! The only option they were willing to give me was to send it to their service department which of course meant another couple of weeks without a computer.

Fortunately, I have a friend who is the director of Technical services at Alfred University and she let me bring the computer to her staff. They discovered it had been improperly ghosted and that I had gotten a bum XP installation disk from Gateway. However, they managed to set it up properly and the animations are now flowing smoothly and everything is as it should have been a month ago before I descended into Gateway Tech Support hell.

Just thought you’d be interested in the end of the story. And now I can finally get back to drawing.



i don’t get it – what is the meaning of “ghosted”?


Cologne, Germany

Ghost is a software used to make copies or an image of your hard drive. That way if your drive or your OS crashes you can copy the image over a new or existing drive and continue from the date the image was made. Thats if everything works OK.



Vince, thank you very much!