Archive for November, 2006

‘Vista’ Flash UI in ActionScript 3,

Well, I’m working on my new ‘Flash Labs’ in a few days, developing a whole ‘Vista’ windows based system in pure ActionScript 3.

A couple of months ago I started on AS 3 about an ‘unix terminal’ component in Flex 2, finally I gave up because I don’t want to be involved into UIComponent series too much. I need a more flexible, lightweight Flash. So now I use Flash 9 preview, it’s a legal version before a final of 2007 summer.

The new Flash AS3 Labs, first it’s interface of course pure Flash 9 IDE plus AS3, currently 9,355 bytes only (Nov 28, 2006 build). It wouldn’t be more than 15kbytes when it totally finished. Very light, quite neat? Yes, I love neat.

So, have a look and see you later there. Even the background image is loaded dynamically each time, so you could refresh your browser to see it again, I just want to make the air to be fresh :). I will surely add more and more icons and more ‘applications’ inside it, and all free source downloads will be there.

Btw, I need to take some nice pictures to replace vista wallpapers, unfortunately it’s the time of long Canadian winter…

Nov 30, 06 updates:

A first version 0.1 finished, 12k (11,952) bytes totally, used 4 days including design. Use more icons/links for multiple windows testing. Works fine synchronization between link/windows/taskbars. Add MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN to CLICK events together, make background windows could be activated easily. Add more blur effects for farther windows, perspective like. 9 slice scaling not support for mask, will convert it to bitmap later. Loaded SWFs could call external functions easily.

Reduce Size for Flex: Runtime Shared Library

James Ward of Adobe posted a good idea to reduce size of Flex 2 applications. He suggested it could be used to load some static url runtime shared library for Flex applications, so only the first time this(these) file downloaded will ask load time, if that file is still cached ( browser cached as well as external cache servers), individual Flash applications which use the same components could be loaded fast after cutting those common-in-use parts.

The same it could be used for Flash 9 development but mostly only for regular class packages like effects and should make sure it was loaded each time. (Unlike Flex a film effects Flash couldn’t allow preloader in most case).

Maybe it will be even better after Apollo available, to have some local access libraries and run with Apollo.

Technical Differences between Film Compositing and Flash Design

The main difference of course film compositing as image-based animation do not care about size of results, but Flash design cares, which mostly have to transmit through Internet but still keep a reasonable framerate. Visitors couldn’t suffer from long time loading, also, small screen or low quality of .flv, .rm, .avi movies are limited to be used in very few situation, as well as a back-end media server necessary.

What I’m talking about here is differences technically. Flash is another kind of movie, another kind of film, it could still have better quality in wide screen if smart organized. Flash can put layers, use media assets repeatedly, as well as coding effects with actionscript. But know first differences is necessary before think about what can we do in Flash design with film effects.

  1. Flash have to use less size of media assets, and maybe change something-not-so-important to still image. We know even in film compositing, we could always use still images, while the results could be ‘animated’. But if in the scene of film some parts is not important to eyes, we can use still image in Flash instead especially if it’s too large like a background, we change position, rotate, resize, blur(moving further distance) and ignore small changes of those.
  2. Film could use varies of effect plugins, Flash couldn’t, Flash use have to coding with actionscript, even when those plugins we can code (always but not all), we have to think about the CPU/Memory used at that time and frame.
  3. Film could be very detailed while Flash design have to be neat. We should emphasize what important you want to show for eyes, make that detailed while simplify others. Because Flash also animated film, human’s eyes could only remember simple visual details, so in Flash we could benefit from this.