FITC 2008: Flash 10 and AS4

 fitcbanner.jpgA little while ago I went to FITC Toronto 08 festival. FITC is an annual ‘design and technology festival.’ It used to stand for Flash in the Can[ada] but since Adobe has acquired Macromedia the festival has been broadened to include other technologies such as motion graphics, 3D, experimental (processing), installations, etc. It’s run on it’s own by Adobe is a big sponsor.

There were a lot of great presentations this year. Mario Klingman  had a great presentationa again, this time focusing on a.viary on which he is working on the Pattern Generator. Eric Natzke showed some of his recent visual Flash work, and Robert Hodgin showed what he’s been doing with Processing lately with music, flocking, and pigeons. Keith Peters gave a talk about fractals and some crazy math as well as an Air app he made to demonstrate both. Dr. Whoo Hoo talked about some crazy stuff with Illustrator and Flash communicting, such as having a swf run actions in an open .ai file. I have some ideas I want to try with that when I get some time. (Illustrator games anyone?) North Kingdom gave a great presentation of what they’ve been doing and what life is like in Skellefteå in Sweden. I picked up a print by Scott Hanson after his presentation and still need to finish the frame for it. There were other great ones too, as well as some great insight to the future of Flash. (I also can’t forget the 2nd night party that had the Junior Boys, a band that I love)

Mentioned at the keynote presentation was some cool features for Flash 10. One is better timeline control, which will act more like after effects. When MovieClips are tweened, there are now bevier paths on the stage that allow for easily easin, curving, and changing. There will also be build in IK for puppeting that will also export for runtime. Another long awaited feature is Z-depth and simple 3D, so now you can have planes in space. I looks a lot more basic than PaperVision, but the key thing is that it is native to Flash and the IDE.

In the future also look for AS4. Don’t get all worked up, this is more similar to the AS1 to AS2 migration than the AS2 to AS3 overhaull.  ECMAScript, which JavaScript and thus ActionScript is based off of, will be updated by the end of 2008. There are very basic changes, but the one that makes me the most excited it the union datatype, which allows you to datatype  a variable as more than one type. So, if you have a String or Number being passed into a parameter, you can datatype it as both.

JSFL scripts

JSFL scripts have been around in Flash for a while now, I think since MX 2004. Incase you haven’t run into them yet, jsfl scripts are used to extend Flash. RIT New Media Design students might be familiar with a file that Adam Smith wrote that prepared your Flash file’s library for use with preloaders. Over the summer I wrote a few extremely simple scripts that are now impossible for me to live without. However, today my laptop crashed and I lost these files, and upon searching the internet, I realized that there is not a lot out there easy to find on these files. So I rewrote what I had, and I figure I’d share them since they are so immensly helpful.

All three of these scripts will go though your library and modify the images/bitmaps. One will turn allow smoothing on, the other two will compress all as jpeg/photo or png/lossless. These are usefull when using the Photoshop importer to bring in png sequences, this way you do not need to open every single image and turn smoothing on or change the compression back to jpeg.

(You’ll want to right-click and save to desktop for these)

Drop these files into the Configurations folder, found here:

boot driveDocuments and SettingsuserLocal SettingsApplication DataAdobe Flash CS3languageConfiguration
Macintosh HD/Users/userName/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS3/language/Configuration/