A new FLASH for Animators?
Finally! After three seasons of Mucha Lucha, we are very relieved and excited to learn that a new version of Flash for Animators/Designers is in development! In a recent email received from Mike Downey of Macromedia Inc.:
... I'm happy to tell you that we're in the early stages of defining the next version of Flash, code-named "8ball", and will be focusing the release on animators, multimedia designers, and digital artists. We have a lot of features in mind, but one of the biggest areas that we are having difficulty defining is video export from Flash. We understand that there are limitations in our Quicktime exporter (which I understand is necessary for exporting to broadcast television). One of these limitations is the fact that we don't support exporting nested movieclips. Several experienced developers in your industry have told us that they must export from Flash as SWF and then import into Director MX 2004 as SWF, then export from Director as Quicktime - just to get nested movieclips recognized on export. We obviously want to fix this for the next release.
So, I'd really like to get your feedback. I couldn't help but notice your comment about each release of Flash moving away from your use of it - and I don't disagree. The next product release is being managed by an entirely new team of long-time Flash and graphics experts (unlike the last release) and we are all super-determined to return Flash to it's roots and make it much better for designers and animators. We may not be able to do everything within the next release, but we definitely have Flash back on track for the future. Luckily we created Macromedia Flex to target traditional application developers so we no longer need to stretch the Flash authoring tool into a completely different direction than what it was built for.
In any case, I look forward to your feedback....
So I am collating feedback and suggestions from our Mucha Lucha Flash team. So far having spoken with Joel Kuwahara (Line Producer) and Jason Bierut (Flash Animator), here are some responses:
- 'Nested movie-clips' is not an issue. We (and every other Flash animation studio) use GRAPHIC symbols and these pose no problems at all when exported.
- We don't use Director MX 2004 at all. ML production uses Adobe After Effects. From the FLA --> we export/publish a Flash version 5 SWF --> import to Adobe After Effects --> Render to QUICKTIME for AVID. Sound files are exported separately; so in the end we have four files for each scene:
- the FLA file
- the SWF 5 file
- the sound file
- the rendered QT
Jason: "SWF 5 files are compatible with Adobe After Effects software, and it is an essential part of our QT exporting process. If Flash could incorporate a TRUE quicktime generator the way After FX does, Then that would save us a huge extra step in our production process. AND it would save on cost of Adobe software licences."
- The problem with Camera moves and Camera Control. Technically, there really isn't a camera in Flash, and to zoom in and out of a scene, we are really just scaling objects up or down. But what if you could move the camera like you can in US Animation/Toonboom Studio? There, you have a Virtual camera that you can move in 3-d space even though you are working with 2-d artwork. Sort of a Multi plane camera display. Currently, Flash has a real hard time with camera moves that rotate, and the easing in and out controls are VERY primitive.
- Problem with Sound Editing. A suggestion for the next version of Flash is to let you slice the sound right on the timeline by setting a key frame. Currently you have to search for the cut by pushing "edit" and finding your cue. Sound controls could be WAY better here. Eddie: Maybe "markers" could be placed on the timeline for editing sound?
- Problem with Tweening. Jason: Flash only interpolates/inbetweens LINEAR-ly. What would make Flash powerful is if you could animate using SPLINE curves, like most 3D packages. Better easing in and out capability, by means of a "graph editor" (like in Maya), would make FLASH a more powerful animation tool. IK is another possibility (ie, linking joints together to form a chain of symbols like an hand linked to a fore arm, linked at the elbow, and finally the elbow to the shoulder). There are separate programs for this, but it would be great to have this feature embodied into flash.
Some other suggestions:
- the ability to bend gradients of color. Right now the gradients can only go straight across or radial.
- Embedding the capablity of Adobe Streamline for cleaning up drawings once they get converted to vectors, would be wonderful.
- And for symbol conflicts, it would be nice if Flash would tell you which symbols have been changed or are "conflicted" so you don't have to hunt them down.
Flashers, please feel free to add your two-cents in the Comments below, or email me (and I will fwd. your feedback to Mike).
A new Flash for Animators/Designers is a GOOD thing!
*update: In the comments below are also suggestions from:
- Aaron Simpson - Flash Producer, Cartoon Monsoon, WB Animation
- Eric Pringle - Flash Director, 'Fosters...', Cartoon Network Burbank
- C. McIntyre - Producer, 'Fosters..', Boulder Media, Dublin
- Roman Laney - Flash Designer, 'Maggie The Maggot' (& Mucha Lucha), Walt Disney Animation
- Rich Ferguson-Hull - Director, 'Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law', Cartoon Network/Turner.
- and more...
| ||Posted 9/10/2004 6:06 PM - 2318 Views - 92 eProps - 91 comments|
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