Flash Forward – From Flash to Adobe Animate CC

Adobe Flash has dominated some sectors like eLearning development for 20 years now and for a very long time, Flash was the last word in interactive, engaging websites too. Flash played a critical role in creating rich media content and this ease drove its wide applicability for eLearning courses and websites. In the early days of Flash, numerous businesses adapted Flash to create interactive web portals, games, and animated websites. Some of the notable names were Cartoon Network, Disney, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, and GE. Flash saw further growth and penetration when Adobe introduced hardware accelerated Stage3D to develop product demonstrations and virtual tools. As Flash leaves its teens, though, the world has fundamentally changed.

There are multiple reasons why Flash needed a revamp. Its lack of touch support on smartphones, compatibility issues on iOS, need of Flash player to run content, and non-responsiveness were some of the major reasons that incited Apple to move away from Flash, and the die was cast.

Adobe recognized that it was time for a change and when Adobe announced a rechristened product Adobe Animate CC, better days seem to be coming for developers. We believe that Adobe did the right thing at the right time. With the new name came a more user-friendly outlook and a more market-focused product designed to keep up with the latest trends.

Most reviews of the product suggest the following reasons for you to look at Adobe Animate CC:

  1. Adobe Animate CC leverages the familiar tool User Interface like Flash for rich media creation and extends its support to HTML5 canvas and WebGL.
  2. Conversion of existing flash animations into HTML5 Canvas can be achieved without any issues. It can convert fairly lengthy animations also with ease.
  3. The Motion Editor provided in Animate CC allows granular controls over motion between properties making it much easier to create animations.
  4. Animate CC provides an output that can easily integrate into responsive HTML5 frameworks and that can scale based on the device size. It, however, doesn’t publish a fully responsive output by itself.
  5. Animate CC provides a library of reusable content to speed-up production and animation in HTML5.
  6. Animate CC provides multi-platform output and supports HTML5, WebGL, Flash, AIR, video and even custom extensions like SVG. It can also export animations in GIF to be shared online and GAF format that can be used on gaming platforms like Unity3D.
  7. Animate CC’s timeline feature optimizes audio syncing in animations which is a major plus over HTML5. It also enables easy control of audio looping.
  8. Videos can be exported in 4K quality using Animate CC – keeping up with the latest trends of video consumption preferences. Videos can have custom resolution and the latest Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays.
  9. Animate CC also provides the ability to create vector brushes similar to Adobe Illustrator.
  10. Animate CC has added Typekit Integration in a tool-as-a-service that helps developers to choose from the library of high-quality fonts.

Some reviewers have commented that images did not load on some occasions while creating animations but that they did load when the tool was refreshed. However, this issue can be easily optimized by pre-loading images. There could also be other parameters like browser performance and network issues causing delay in image loading.

It has also been observed by some that some of the filters did not render the expected results in HTML5 output compromising on the visual quality and richness of the output. These filters are Gradient Glow, Gradient Bevel, Quality, Knockout, Inner Shadow, and Hide Object of the Drop Shadow Filter. Given the focus that Adobe has on the product – we anticipate these issues will surely get addressed in the future releases.

One interesting thing to note is that Animate CC has eliminated the dependency on Flash player completely though, it continues to support flash output. The tool also complies with the latest Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) guidelines that are widely used in the cartoon industry by giants like Nickelodeon and Titmouse Inc. For those seeking a much more in-depth feature comparison between Adobe Animate CC and Flash versions we recommend visiting Adobe’s website.

It’s early days yet but our view is that Animate CC could well be instantly applicable to over one third of the graphics created today that use Flash, and are delivered on more than a billion devices worldwide. Adobe Animate CC marks the beginning of new era for Flash Professionals, just around the time when Flash reaches its 20th Anniversary!

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