How To Kill A Mocking Bird

Vasken has been very god-like in showing me this amazing piece of work. Pure genius.

Sadly, this video isn’t on YouTube or Google Video so I had to link it directly and do a little JavaScript magic to get this thing to not auto-play. So…the loading text is misleading. Just hit play (below the movie) to start things rolling. w00t!

[Play | Stop | Rewind]

[Play | Stop | Rewind]

Multimedia – Flash (Lab 2)

This week’s lab (which is due 04/14) is more free-form where you have the opportunity to really explore Flash and see what it can do. With this lab, you’ll experiment with more complex animations. I highly suggest you do the flash tutorials that come with the application – you can find them by clicking on the Help menu. In addition to working with nicely timed animations, you will be scripting in Flash’s ActionScript.

Create a navigation page (similar to a DVD menu) that allows the user to choose from at least 5 buttons/icons/links. Four of these icons should send the user to 4 separate animations (complete with sound). The 5th icon, when clicked, should send the user to my blog At the end of each animation, give the user a navigation menu allowing them to view the other animations or return to the first screen. The 4 animations should be more in-depth than what we did with the previous Flash lab and can include graphics from other sources (i.e. you don’t need to do all the image creation right in flash…you can get pictures or make your own in Photoshop). Here are some animation suggestions:

  • Two balls that bounds around a room, bouncing off of each other.
  • A presidential spoof
  • A kid being attacked by a giant mosquito
  • A monkey dancing across the screen
  • ….be creative

You can add to the above requirements to suit your needs (but don’t detract from them). Have fun with this one. Here are some suggested sources for learning about more complex Flash animations:

  • Here are some simple tutorials at W3 Schools
  • Flash Kit has an awesome set of tutorials on a crap ton of topics

Now, in order to create the menus and navigation; stopping and starting movies and playing from various locations needs to be done with some ActionScripting. Here are a few resources to get you started:

  • has some great tutorials on ActionScripting
  • Here’s some documentation very similar to the Java API
  • Check the help in Macromedia Flash (the application for simple start() stop() and loop() commands for controlling the movie)

And don’t forget about the quiz next Tuesday (4/11)

Multimedia – Flash

Today’s Topic…Flash! w00t. This lab is due next Friday (04/07) @ midnight

Before we get started, here are some terms you should know:

Tween: In animation, it is used to describe intermediate frames often added by an assistant animator or by computer. See tweening.

Motion Tween: In animation, refers to movement of an object along a path.

Shape Tween: In animation, refers to changing the shape of an object.

Export Movie: With Flash, when you save your movie, you are actually saving a file that allows you to open the movie again and edit it later on. If you want the flash movie to be viewable on the web, you must export the movie (which essentially saves it as a .swf file). To export a movie, simply click File > Export > Export Movie, select the folder you want to save the movie in, then click the Save button.

Lets get to it!
Lab (part 1): Working with Macromedia Flash (Do sections 1 and 2)
What to turn in for this tutorial:
You can place each of the following shapes/images on separate frames of the same movie…or create a separate movie file for each. It’s up to you ;)

In this section, you will learn:
* Creating graphics in Flash
* Importing graphics
* Using color effectively
* Creating a color swatch
* Layering Flash elements
* Masking content
* Organizing content in Flash
* Reusing graphics as symbols

NOTE: This tutorial starts on page 1 of a whole series of tutorials and continues on to page to 26.

Lab (part 2): Moving Objects along a Path
What to turn in for this tutorial:

  • You will have created a simple animation by the end of this tutorial…save and export it, then submit it to WebCT
  • Note: Have a little fun with this if you want…customize it to your hearts content…remember, you are preparing yourself for more Flash next week, so everything you learn will help

In this tutorial you will learn how Flash allows us to to gain further control of the movement of an object by the use of guide layers. This method enables to you to draw a complex path or guide which the object will follow.

Note: if you get stumped with steps 11 & 12..This is the guide layer: guide_layer.gif…the steps should be combined into one.

Lab (part 3): Creating Animations with Shape Tween
What to turn in for this tutorial:

  • You will have created a simple animation by the end of this tutorial…save and export it, then submit it to WebCT
  • Note: Same as above…have a little fun with this if you want…

In this tutorial you will learn how Flash can also ‘tween’ the shape of an object. This allows the shape to change between keyframes.

What to turn in
Upload your 3 flash movies (don’t forget to export them first) to WebCT.

Why just Tutorials this week?
Well, the goal of these tutorials is simply to familiarize yourself with the application and terminology in preparation for the more in-depth lab (due on the 14th). Tonight I will be posting your assigned reading and Flash Lab 2

(Next week’s lab will be posted on Thursday of next week)

Thumbstack – A Web-Based Presentation Application

thumbstackA while back, my pal Zach posted about S5, “A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System.” Now, its important to note that S5 is trying to set up a standard and not develop a full blown application. S5 seems to be a solid foundation…all it really needs is a slick editor and I’m sold.

Well, as I’ve been waiting for and S5 editor to come along, Thumbstack has come along instead and I’ll be content goofing around with that for a while. While Thumbstack isn’t built off of the S5 standard, it is a sold web implementation of presentation software complete with a decent draggable presentation builder…themable to boot! (although the available themes are dumb right now, that’s sure to improve). The editor is a div based-DHTML pumped-Ajax integrated layout; the presentation itself seems to be Flash. Interesting stuff.

It shows promise, but there are a few things it lacks that I hope to see:

  • More themes
  • Slide transitions and animations (nothing too crazy, basic will do fine)
  • Export to Powerpoint
  • Ctrl+S to save
  • While viewing a presentation, right clicking should give a contextual menu.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Thumbstack. Google recently bought Writely, which means they are interested in web-based Office software. They’ve got Gmail, an upcoming Calendar, a Word Processor, and a Webpage Builder. All they need now are solid presentation and spreadsheet applications. The race is on.