Flash Sneak-Peek from New Orleans
Lousianna welcomed the Macromedia faithful in early November at the yearly MAX convention. Most of the event has little to do with character animation (much as the program itself does), but, nonetheless, a few bits of information relating to 2D animation emerged.
A Flash developer in Texas posted some video taken during one presentation, and it looks as though the next Flash version (codename ’8-ball’) will have some of the layer blending tools akin to Photoshop. This will allow for some fairly dynamic compositing and image manipulation tricks for the 2D animator, and should eat away at some of the work that Adobe After Effects gleans from broadcast Flash productions.
The next bit of functionality that caught my eye was the ability to manipulate the shape of line joints. In the past, line joints, especially one’s with heavy-stroke lines, were rounded. It looks as if we’ll have the option to make crisp edges on those joints, which gives those using the line tool for actual design (which wasn’t really recommended in the past) a few options. This really won’t effect the work I’ve been doing for the last few years, but I’m sure there’s happy Flashers licking their chops out there.
And lastly, the video displayed some new gradient functionality. I’ve been known to favor artists who’ve mastered the dark art of Flash gradients. It’s not a pursuit for the weak of heart, because the gradient controls are frustratingly skimpy, and if you get Flash gradients wrong, it can get REALLY wrong. But that might all change with ’8-ball,’ which will supposedly boasts directional circular gradients, a function not even available in Photoshop. Kudos to the Flash Dev Team!