however there is a problem with GIF images, because even if they
suport transparency they don't have an alpha channel (opacity) they
only have one 100% transparent color. You can still do the fading
effect; however you'll have to work with fixex background color. (I
mean if the background of your site is for example white, you make it
fade to white in GIMP)

Other idea might be using opacity propriety of CSS3 (you decrease the
opacity in a loop from 100 and when you reach 0 you'll delete the
image and place the text), but not many browsers support this at the
time being. Either way, it has little to do with GIMP if you do it
this way.
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