Article Round-up

Justin | articles,design,Flash,links,tips | Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

We’re keeping quite busy around here! Here’s a quick round-up of some recent articles that I’ve published.

5 Flash Animation tips in 5 days on the Peachpit blogs:

Also on the Peachpit site, there’s an excerpt on Character Animation from our recent book with Chris Georgenes.

I also have a new video tutorial over at ActiveTuts+ on Creating Advanced Motion Presets in Flash with JSFL.

In addition to the recent advice page I added on Learning Flash, I’m working on a page about becoming a graphic designer/Flash animator/digital artist. It includes some of my background and lessons learned. That article is pretty much on hold as we work toward the SmartMouth release (hopefully just another week), and I will pick it up after that.

What a year!

Justin | articles | Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Well, 2008 was a pretty good year for us. We released a new animation (finally), put together a reel of previous work (finally), updated the ajarproductions.com main page (finally), and released about 20 (free) extensions.

Thanks to my Creatives Services dept. (my main job), I went to Flash Forward and Adobe MAX this year (both in San Francisco). I also attended Flash Camp in SF and picked up the ‘Most Useful’ award at the hackathon competition for my Combine Textfields extension. I met some great people at all three events.

Thanks to promotion by Chris Georgenes, Lee Brimelow, Keith Gilbert, Michael Ninness, Richard Galvan, Jen DeHaan, Tim Cole, and many others; our extensions picked up a huge amount of new web traffic. Thanks to Josh Carrollhach for his great suggestions as well.

Ajar webstats for 2008

Lesson: Provide something useful and people will visit your site. I always knew this, but I started the blog thinking that tutorials would be the thing that we offered most and at some point in the last year I got consumed with creating extensions.

Plans for 2009

We’ve got more extensions on the way. I’m planning to keep those free. I’ll be putting out a free desktop utility (built on AIR) in the first week or two. I’ve begun work on a commercial desktop application as well. Hopefully we’ll have some more tutorials and animation up as time allows.

Look for us in Chris Georgenes’ How to Cheat in Adobe Flash CS4, due out in April 2009.

Amy’s got and brand new computer and she’s picking up Flash rather quickly, so hopefully she’ll have some animation up in the next year.

Thanks for visiting us in 2008! Thanks to everyone who has commented with suggestions and words of support on the blog. Come back and see us in 2009.

Selling Extensibility

Justin | ActionScript,articles,design,tips | Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Extensibility

(from Wikipedia)

… is a system design principle where the implementation takes into consideration future growth…

…the design includes all of the hooks and mechanisms for expanding/enhancing the system with new capabilities without having to make major changes to the system infrastructure….A good architecture provides the design principles to ensure this—a roadmap for that portion of the road yet to be built…These excess capabilities are not frills, but are necessary for maintainability and for avoiding early obsolescence.

…can also mean that a software system’s behavior is modifiable at runtime, without recompiling or changing the original source code.

—-

This idea is useful when building projects that have iterations or phases. Sometimes the client knows they’re going to want multiple versions of a given project. Realistically though, this happens all the time, even when one is working with little outside influence. An idea doesn’t usually look the same on the screen as it does in our minds or in a script. It needs tweaking and fine-tuning. As designers, we often go through myriad iterations before reaching the final product. Over time, I’ve come to realize ways to save myself future hassle by taking time upfront, at the start of a project, and planning what pieces might change how I can design them to be more flexible and more economic. This ‘brain-time’ early on reduces the ‘oh crap’ time later.

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Hybrid Developer

Justin | articles,Flash,Misc | Sunday, April 8th, 2007

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately about what I consider myself, a designer or a developer. Well, I’m both. It seems to take me by surprise every time I’m asked. Probably because I never planned on being a developer. But now that I do Flash development, I can’t imagine not doing both. The other night I found this great article by Nick Velloff that describes what I do pretty well.