Animation with Scripting for Flash CS5.5 Update

Justin | Animate/Flash,books | Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

If you’ve purchased a copy of Animation with Scripting for Adobe Flash Professional CS5 Studio Techniques, or are thinking about purchasing it, and have been wondering what effect changes in Flash CS5.5 might have, look no further than the official Peachpit store page. The CS5.5 update to Animation with Scripting is available as a FREE download when you register your (print or digital) copy of the book. Locate the orange type on the page linked above that says register your product. The update covers the latest features as they pertain to mobile development, character animation, and Flash design in general.

Features vs. Bandages

Justin | ActionScript,tips | Thursday, April 28th, 2011

At my part time job with Pearson, I’m a member of a team that maintains a large template system for e-learning projects. This template system allows us to produce very large media-rich courses in a relatively short span of time. In these projects, as well as others, I try to teach and maintain a system of adding features, rather than bandaging functionality that needs to change. When a client request comes in, I challenge myself and my colleagues to consider how this request could be made part of our permanent (and ongoing) system, rather jury rigging the current system to temporarily support new functionality. This feature-based approach has several long-term advantages that I will elaborate on this post.

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Animation with Scripting Book Giveaway

Justin | Animate/Flash,contests | Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

We’re giving away a copy of Animation with Scripting for Adobe Flash Professional CS5 Studio Techniques, the book co-authored by Flash character animation guru Chris Georgenes and myself (and tech edited by AJ).

Animation with Scripting is an intermediate-level guide that covers a gamut of Flash animation topics in step-by-step detail, including: lip-syncing, walk cycles, visual FX with ActionScript, controlling a character with ActionScript, building an online portfolio, publishing to mobile devices, and automating tasks in Flash.

This is your chance to get your hands on a free copy! Find out how to enter below…

Ways to Enter:

  1. Tweet about this post. 1 point
  2. Post a comment on this entry.  1 point (Be sure to include your email address, it won’t be shown publicly, but we will use it to contact you if you win)
  3. Subscribe to our newletter. 2 points
  4. Blog about this post. 2 points

If you choose all 4 options, you’ll have 6 chances to win.

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 25th. Good luck everyone!

If you’re interested in this book, you might also be interested in Chris’ How to Cheat in Flash books.

Update (4/25/11): The competition is now closed. Congratulations to Cécile for winning the giveaway! Thanks to everyone for entering! Honorable mention to Alexis for also upping his chances by earning all 6 possible points!

Adding Menu Items to Existing Menus with Adobe AIR

Justin | ActionScript,AIR,tips | Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

I’m working on a new desktop (Adobe AIR) application. More on that app in the months to come. In the process of putting together a prototype, I’ve found that NativeMenu.getItemByName doesn’t work (at least not on my system). I initially used the following code to try to add a menu item to the File menu:

var nm:NativeMenu = NativeApplication.nativeApplication.menu;
var nm0:NativeMenuItem = nm.getItemByName('File');
var mi:NativeMenuItem = new NativeMenuItem("Export...");
mi.addEventListener(Event.SELECT, exportSelected);
nm0.submenu.addItem(mi);

Unfortunately, the menu item resolves to null in the above code and subsequently generates an error. Instead, I’m using the following code (that works):

var nm:NativeMenu = NativeApplication.nativeApplication.menu;
var nm0:NativeMenuItem = getMenuItemByLabel(nm, 'File');
var mi:NativeMenuItem = new NativeMenuItem("Export...");
mi.addEventListener(Event.SELECT, exportSelected);
nm0.submenu.addItem(mi);

The getMenuItemByLabel function is as follows:

function getMenuItemByLabel(menu:NativeMenu, labelName:String):NativeMenuItem {
var count:uint = menu.items.length;
for(var i:uint=0; i < count; i++){
var item:NativeMenuItem = menu.getItemAt(i);
if(item.label === labelName) return item;
}
return null;
}

That way I can get the menu by name and rest assured that I’ve added to the File menu (or any other existing menu) without having to guess its index.

Future SmartMouth Features

Justin | Animate/Flash,extensions | Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

We’re collecting information regarding possible new SmartMouth features.

Here are a couple items we’re considering. We’d love to have your feedback so that we can determine where to best apply our resources.

1. Additional languages. This would only apply to the user interface at the moment (and not the help documentation).

What other languages would you like to see in the SmartMouth interface?

View Results

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2. Keyframe Frequency Control. This would allow you to limit or reduce how many keyframe are produced in Flash Pro by SmartMouth. Some people have noted that by default, SmartMouth outputs a lot of keyframes. This is fine if you’re animating on 1s (24-30 fps), but if you’re animating on 2s (12 fps), the mouths move too quickly in relation to the rest of the animation. In response, we released the Convert to 2s and Convert to Ns extensions to convert keyframes to different frequencies. These extensions can be used with or without SmartMouth. This proposed new feature, however, would be built into SmartMouth and would choose which keyframes to omit based on how unlikely SmartMouth believes they are to a match, rather than just arbitrarily removing keyframes.

It might look something like this:

How would the Keyframe Frequency feature impact your use of SmartMouth?

View Results

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Update (11/16/2011):
The Keyframe Frequency feature has been added in version 1.1.

Thanks in advance for your input!

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