FITC is done… Back to work

Flash in the Can Toronto 2008 has come to a close and it is back to the real world. I had a great time at the conference and got so much inspiration from what I saw. As always, the presentations showed that there are some people truly pushing the limits of Flash and creating some beautiful things. I got to attend all of the presentations that I wanted to which included most of the technical track.

Yesterday, Grant Skinner talked about his inspirations that drive his work. It was great to see what others do to keep their interests up when they are held back by corporate site limitations. I also managed to catch Keith Peters‘ talk about Chaos which showed how crazy the world of math is.

It seemed as though the focus of many developers in the conference was randomness, with a side of Perlin Noise. It was interesting to see the different methods that everyone uses to generate their work, and it was especially interesting to see just how much randomness their is in the works that look so precise and structured.

If you are interested in some info about the conference and what was talked about, the new FITC blog is a good resource. Most of the presenters also mentioned putting their slides online so keep an eye on their blogs.

FITC – Adobe Keynote

I am just sitting down to watch the Adobe keynote at Flash in the Can in Toronto. Mike Downey is currently running through this. So far he has covered features of Adobe Air and shown demos of QVC and Nickelodeon which show some of the capabilities.

He then moved on to talk about Flex Builder 3 and it’s capabilities, one thing that I didn’t know about was the Flex Component Kit for Flash CS3. It is a toolkit that lets you create content in the Flash CS3 IDE and use it in Flex as a Flex component. I am not very well versed in Flex but I was definitely curious about the options that I had as a Flash IDE user.

Now they are showing us a demonstration of the features of Kuler and all of its strengths. This part of the presentation seems to not fit in very well with the flow of all the presentation content. The only real tie-in is that they are showing an Air app.

Flash Diesel is up ! They are starting off with the showing the new object based animation engine that does not use a timeline. It is the same thing that was shown at MAX and Flash on the Beach last year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_wRMswNLiU), but impressive just the same. They just unveiled a new track-view feature which allows for much greater/easier control of animations.

Up next is the IK part of the demo where they are using a bones tool to add bone structure to movieclips. This is something that I haven’t seen before, they have a quick option to enable bone manipulation at runtime…. very slick.

The ability to manipulate items on the stage in a 3D style has been added to the Flash IDE. There are going to be new controls and capabilities to work with items in a 3D style, the new controls are able to manipulate images and apply things such as tweens to them.

They are now onto Hydra (AIF Toolkit) which is an image processing language, if you would like more information you can check out the info at the Adobe Labs AIF Toolkit site, it can give you much more information that I can. One new things that they are talking about right now is the ability to work with files in the browser without having to send anything through the server. They have added the ability to take something at runtime and save it to your system without having to do a round trip to the server.

Well, that is all for the keynote. I was hoping to see something about Thermo but I didn’t catch anything about it. I did show up 10 minutes late and may have missed it.

Colin Moock on AS4/ECMAScript 4.0 at FITC

The standards talked about are not slated to be implemented until at least december 2008.

You can see Colin’s notes from his presentation at the following address:
http://moock.org/lectures/newInECMAScript4/

Here is a summary of what he covered in his talk, this is all covered in the link above but I thought that I would just post the items that interested me the most:

Structure Types
– record type
easier way to create custom object types, instead of using classes
– array type
ability to apply types to elements within arrays
– union types
gives the option of assigning one of several datatypes to a variable
ie: var x:(int|string) // x must be either an int or a string

Type changes:
It looks like byte, uint, int are being removed from ECMAScript but they will most likely stay in AS for the time being.
There are a series of new lower case types including string, number, and boolean
There are going to be non-nullable types that cannot be assigned the value of null, the idea is to save time in type catching.

Lexical block scoping lets you create variables without var, it allows you to create assign values to variables within code blocks. Check the lecture for an example, it looks like it would be useful if you have a temporary variable.

You will have the power to create single line functions in the same way that you can currently create a single like conditional statement.

!!= can be used to shorten variable assignment, can turn myVar = myVar || “default” to myVar !!= “default”

Type casting can be done using the operator “cast” ie: food cast Apple

Switch type can be used to test the type of variable in a switch statement to allow for multiple types and custom functionality for each

String indexing looks like it may be a little useful, you can access characters in a string the same way that you would access items in an array “test”[2] would produce “s”. Similarly you can use slice on a string to get a range of characters quickly.

Thats all for now.

FITC – Papervision Workshop / Kickoff

I am here in Toronto and glad to be here! I left a blizzard in Calgary to come to sunny Toronto and attend the Flash in the Can conference. Yesterday, I went to a Papervision 3d workshop run by Ralph Hauwert (www.unitzeroone.com) who showed us just how much can be done with 3d on the internet and he was kind enough to share some knowledge and code with the group.

I can’t say that I was blown away by what I saw and learned because it was a very low-level session but I believe that I am taking away a good base to start on my own projects with Papervision. I recommend similar workshops to anyone who doesn’t know much about Papervision and would like to see what it is about and get a good understanding of what it is and how to use it.

Following the full day workshop, I attended a little function in Kensington Market with a presenter from Graffiti Research Lab (graffitiresearchlab.com) that showed some of what they are all about and some of their latest works. It was quite inspiring to see what they have been up to and their methods.

To top off the night, the FITC kickoff party at the Burroughs was a lot of fun. The venue had a unique style that I am not used to seeing in Calgary. I had a good time talking with people from around the industry and meeting as many people as possible. It also gave me a chance to catch up with some old friends and co-workers that I don’t get to see since I moved to Calgary.

I am now sitting here on the official Day 1 of the conference waiting to hear what Colin Moock (www.moock.org) has to say about Actionscript 4.

Flash In The Can – Toronto

Flash in the CanFlash in the Can Toronto 2008 is quickly approaching, and I am getting very anxious to go. I used to attend the conference every year but missed it last year since I now live in Calgary. Critical Mass is nice enough to send me to the conference this year in hopes that i pick up a couple tips and tricks to show off when I get back. So I get to go back to Toronto!

If you are considering going to the conference, I highly recommend it if not just for inspiration. Being in the presence of the industry leaders is usually enough to get my mind going a mile a minute. Another incentive is that the great folks at FITC appear to be giving a couple last minute ticket discounts. I came across one such discount on moockblog.

While at the conference I will be attending the Papervision 3d workshop which I hope gives me the final push and confidence to start really getting into pv3d. I hope to take in a lot of the technical presentations that are being offered and I will be posting my notes and work throughout the conference.

Flash in the Can