Brad Bird on Innovation

Justin | links | Friday, April 18th, 2008

Lessons from a master on creativity and innovation.

Guide Maker Panel — New Flash CS3 Extension

Justin | Animate/Flash,design,extensions | Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

This panel creates and saves guides in Flash CS3.

Features, instructions, and download below the fold.


Rapid Icons

Justin | design,tips | Friday, March 21st, 2008

custom icons

A little while back I was looking for a way to quickly create icons to differentiate my project folders and speed-up my workflow a bit. I found exactly what I was looking for in Pic2Icon. It’s a droplet application for Mac OSX that turns an image’s content into its icon. It works with transparency and even layered Photoshop files (CS3 included). Once the icon has been applied to the image file, you get run a get info (cmd + i) on the image and the file you’d like to apply the icon to. Click on the image’s icon in the upper left of the get info window and copy it (cmd + c), then click on the target file’s get info icon and paste (cmd + v). Voilà!

Documenting Actionscript Class Libraries

Justin | ActionScript,tips | Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Over the past several months I’ve put together some rather extensive AS2 class libraries for some ongoing Flash projects. I had noticed that many of the open source libraries available on the interwebs had snazzy html documentation. Putting together this kind of documentation is not only helpful for other people using the libraries (so that they don’t have to go digging through the code), but it comes in handy when the author (me, in this case) hasn’t touched the code for a while.

I’m a big believer in the open-source movement and many times I’ve been able to find an open source solution that does the trick as well or better than a packaged piece of software can. So I started searching under the assumption that I would eventually settle on an open-source solution. In the case of Actionscript documentation, I found my ideal solution in VisDoc. It was one of the few solutions that had a Graphical User Interface rather than using a command line. It produces a beautiful set of documentation files. It works for both AS2 and AS3 (and Java). The one downside is that it’s Mac only. It’s not open-source, but with a sticker price of $40, it’s well worth the time saved. If you’re still looking for open-source or you need an app for your Windows machine, OSFlash has a comprehensive list of open-source documentations tools for Actionscript.

Selling Extensibility

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


(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.