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lilrayray77
09-04-2006, 01:47 PM
I have been meaning it improve my toolset lately and I need your opinion. Is flash worth the investment. I would be using it primarily for the web. Then there is PIM tools which has website capabilities. What do you guys think would be the best investement. Thanks.

Bytehawk
09-04-2006, 02:28 PM
flash is a goot tech, but I wouldn't get Flash myself if I had the choice, more like swishmax or something.

Depends on what you already own and what you need to do really. If you want to make full on (yuck) flash websites, then there is no real alternative. If you want to make flash graphics supporting a html or php website, then swismax is better, easier and faster to work with. If you have illustrator, Photoshop, etc like me, then flash is ott

imho offcourse

ThriJ
09-04-2006, 02:37 PM
Hmm…

It depends; if you make lots of sites with ads or interactive content then yes. If you just want it to show your 3D work on the web then I think an HTML site is better suited. I have worked with Flash 8 a little bit and it can be frustrating to work with. Plus you should keep in mind that people will find flash annoying when used for busy sites, but they will love it if it is used for content that needs to be interactive to work and provide what is wanted or needed. In that case it is better then anything out there. I hope what I just said makes sense.:confused:

lilrayray77
09-04-2006, 03:24 PM
So people like html/non flash sites better?

Bytehawk
09-04-2006, 03:35 PM
imho flash is misused a lot,

It is a great vector format with animation possibilities. It's just not suited for full websites.

Also I really hate the flash interface. It's not user friendly.

lilrayray77
09-04-2006, 04:07 PM
hmmm, thanks for the insight

Wonderpup
09-04-2006, 04:08 PM
The new video codec in flash is very impressive, and the ease of use with skins is good if you want to put video on a site without too much actionscript ability ( I have none).

I agree that flash has been overused- ironicly the worst offenders are often design agencies who claim to be in the communication business but build sites that are a nightmare to navigate.

lilrayray77
09-04-2006, 04:30 PM
Well, I want to create an attractive, artistic site to display my work, and html just seems so "common". I want intuitive navagation but I also want style, and uniqueness.

loki74
09-04-2006, 05:19 PM
ah... I think HTML is so common becuase it is quite literally the language of the internet.

My biggest beef with flash sites is the fact that everything is one page. I can't use the back/forward buttons, and I can't do the "open in new tab" (or window) thing. I've never tried printing, but I'd imagine it would be difficult to do, especially when you have scrolling content.

Therefore, I think that flash is well suited to small sites with largely static content (ie no dynamically created pages... imagine a forum in flash! yuck!) that you simply CANT get lost in. Well, not lost per se, but where its not going to be annoying having to navigate between two areas, and where you won't need to be looking at two of their pages at once, as in tabs/windows.

Andyjaggy
09-04-2006, 07:34 PM
I agree flash sites can be very annoying, and I would never do a business or large site in flash. That said I think it works really well for small portfolio sites with simple navigation and limited content. That is why I used it for my site, although the main reason is because I hate coding html :) If anyone visits my site I am well aware that it has problems and some of it isn't working right now, currently in the process of fixing that.......... That said I think if you are interested in flash go buy it, it is a great program and it never hurts to have another added skill in your arsenal.

lilrayray77
09-04-2006, 07:55 PM
what do you guys think about PIM tools? Is it to much to ask the viewer to install a plugin?

SP00
09-04-2006, 09:08 PM
I been a web designer and programmer for a few years before I got into 3D. Here is my opinion on the matter. A complete Flash based website is only good for small sites with only a few pages. Flash sites are also harder to maintain. If you want good results, you will need to learn how to program with actionscript. Overall, it is not worth it for people who don't build websites for a living.

philipsavage
09-05-2006, 03:20 AM
I found that Flash is a great tool for making short graphic movies for exhibtions and such like. Exporting the movie, complete with sound, as an uncompressed file and finishing it in After Effects. There are limitations but nothing you can't get around. Examples are here - http://www.artsurgery.co.uk

As far as web design is concerned, I no longer use it, as internet search engines do not read Flash text content. I understand that Google will be able to read them in the future though.
If used in a web page it's best to incorporate the Flash element within the HTML page as a panel. IMO, Flash only sites tend to annoy more than entertain as most visitors are looking for information and are not interested in sitting through 30 seconds of intro that, even at broadband speeds, takes some time to load up and run. That said, there are some great Flash sites out there.

loki74
09-05-2006, 02:36 PM
Is it to much to ask the viewer to install a plugin?

In a word...

yes.

At least that's my opinion. Unless its something I absolutely must see, I'm not gonna put aside the time to download some plugin.

lilrayray77
09-05-2006, 03:25 PM
ok, thanks for the comments. I guess with things like xhtml, css, and dhtml, you can create fairly interactive website without flash, correct?

CMT
09-05-2006, 03:45 PM
You can use Flash with many HTML editors. It doesn't have to be either/or. You can create the base page(s) then add interactive Flash elements, buttons, animations or whatever. It can be unique but still be managable.

bryphi7
09-05-2006, 04:11 PM
Yes... flash(PRO) is worth it!

Rayek
09-06-2006, 03:36 AM
I've designed and created websites and webapplications for about 9 years now. In my experience, IF you want to use Flash, use it for certain components. For example, animations, banners, sound, movies, small games and certain web apps (or elements thereof) benefit from using Flash.

On the other hand, I wouldn't really want to create and maintain a website wholly in Flash. Yes, very snazzy looking portfolios can be made with it, but these days I tend to use a lot of CSS, even for those kind of websites. CSS layout is easy to maintain and update. Flash complicates things in most cases other than those mentioned above.

What's more, creating a usable and user friendly website with Flash still is quite a hassle. I wouldn't be caught dead creating forms in Flash, for example. And when I think of those teeny wheeny flash sites with even tinier scrolling text boxes... urghhh.... At least with normal html pages even small websites can be scaled in Firefox and Opera on my dual 22-inch screen setup.

It's probably best to use a combination of Html, CSS and certain flash elements to create a site. Think functionality and usability first, then looks second. There's a reason why 98% of the web still uses html and css for its basic page structure.

Cheers,

R.

lilrayray77
09-06-2006, 04:37 AM
For simple animation I COULD use image ready. The idea of making small part of the website interactive sounds nice. Why isnt there an open source app like flash?

Red_Oddity
09-06-2006, 04:41 AM
I have a love hate relation ship with flash...

First a couple of bas things:

Flash is often overused, abused and more than not navigation on flash conforms to no navigational ruleset people are used to.
Not to mention the annoying habit of putting sound everything (sound should be OFF by default in my opinion)

The biggest problem is the pisspoor documentation (when going doing actionscript the manual alone isn't enough, you need a couple of good books to get even a 'basic' undestanding of how the more complex functions work (and trust me, you'll reach out for those functions rather fast))

Somewhat arcane and 'this really could have been done alot easier' actionscript language.

some good things:

I've been doing our site with flash and eventhough Flash can be quite cumbersome (and eventhough it can become a nightmare to keep track of scripts and movieclips), it does have decent connection options to Java,XML,PHP and MySQL (or other databases).

No matter how you scale a Flash clip or on what system you load it, it basically looks the same on all OSes (offcourse you need to remeber to export used Fonts, but thats' no biggy)
Note: Adobe still has no Flash 8 player for Linux (eventhough we're already at Flash player version 9), so remember when you use some advanced new functions your site might look wonky on Linux (i noticed embedded fonts and outlines make Flash for Linux go coo-koo)

Further it has some very nice features, like Photoshop style layer blending modes, good scaling, very nice VP6 compression format for movies, nice run-time creation and loading features, etc.

You can use Flash to author some interactive CDs with you portfolio, or create a Video DVD with a Data track that contains your Flash presentation so it will run on, and DVD players, and computers (MAC and PC)


As for HTML, it can be an incredible pain in the behind to get HTML/CSS pages to display properly on every browser/OS (Firefox, IE, Safari, Opera, all seem to display pages differently), but then again, that might be me nittpicking (how many sites do you know that work properly in every browser...goverments seem to be really good in FORCING us to use IE, eventhough they all sue Microsoft, otherwise the site won't jsut display properly, it doesn't even work properly)


Pfew...big piece of text this has become, but, bottomline, Flash is worth the investment.

Rayek
09-06-2006, 05:31 AM
lilrayray77,

Why not use 3d Flash Animator? Dead cheap ($49) and very easy to use. compared to flash. Animation-wise also more powerful. It will import 3d objects. Link: http://www.3dfa.com/

For more complex animation (character animation) I'd advise you to have a look at moho (http://www.lostmarble.com/). Only $99. It even has 2d-bone animation and the capability to create 3d-scened and import 3d objects.

lilrayray77
09-06-2006, 01:56 PM
thanks for the comments guys. Ill try out this 3d flash animator thing first.

Carm3D
09-06-2006, 02:20 PM
Here's my 2 cents: Yes.. Flash is worth it.. However.. I bought mine for half price from E-Bay. It turns out I was sold a seat from a site license so I couldn't register it and won't be able to upgrade it.. Oh well.

Let me add that Flash is "worth it" only if you are willing to learn a good portion of ActionScript. If you don't want to learn ActionScript you will only be using 1/4 of Flash's power, and not worth the purchase in my opinion.

My knowledge of Flash and ActionScript has gotten me several projects so it's a good thing if you are a freelancer. Opens up more jobs. Lightwave and Flash (and a nice compositor) are a good combo for freelancers. :)

My site is currently half Flash half HTML, but I intend to go 100% flash eventually.

Sarford
09-07-2006, 05:42 AM
I totaly agree with Carm3D!
If you are serious about webdesign or producing animations for web (interactive or not) you'll get flash. But be prepared to spend some time to learn actionscript.

It's the same as with 3D, if you take the time to learn the aplication (weigtmaps, UV's, dynamics, expressions etc. etc) you can get stunning results, if you go for the 'easy' route you get Poser quality.

For flash this is the same, those 'other' flash programs are for amateurs, the "I-want-great-results-without-any-effort-on-my-part" kind of people. Learn flash and actionscripting, its the industry standard. Its also extremely versatile. You can build all kind of projects, connect to databases, dynamicly load content (images and text), show intercative video etc. Try that with just bare HTML

And by the way, I don't see many sites wich mis-use flash, no professionaly designed sites anyway. I think its very good people try different things with flash, thats driving inovation. If we all had to conform to what people were used to we'd better stop breathing, what an incredible boring world this would be.

PixelDust
09-07-2006, 06:51 PM
Rayek, since you mentioned Moho, I thought I'd mention it's now being distributed by e-frontier as Anime Studio, and there are two versions - a basic one for $49 and the full version (which is the same as the current Moho 5 plus some additional content) for $199. More info at the e-frontier website (which seems to be having problems loading for me right now :P )

Current Moho 5.x owners will get the full version for free, and there will be a discount for Poser and Manga Studio owners. Just FYI.

Lightwolf
09-07-2006, 07:02 PM
Screw Flash... if you need to code anyhow, get Haxe http://haxe.org/intro, that way you won't have to fight the horrible Macromedia GUI ;)

Cheers,
Mike - ducking for cover now.... :neener:

P.S. Seriously though, even the predecessor MTASC rocked, and even though we do have Flash licensed, I prefered to use MTASC on my last Flash project (a companies structure as a dynamic diagram for their intranet, editable by the user).

riki
09-07-2006, 07:11 PM
I like Flash, use it occassionally, not really enough to justify the price tag or keep up with new features and actionscript. However if you know javascript of PHP you'll be able to pick it up fairly easily.

lilrayray77
09-07-2006, 07:30 PM
So is haxe an alternative to flash or merely and add-on? Looks interesting though.

Carm3D
09-07-2006, 07:39 PM
I just finished this flash site for a client: FenixDown (http://www.fenixdown.com/FlashSite)

The music selections will be replaced with his own music once it's all paid off.

:)

MiniFireDragon
09-07-2006, 09:08 PM
I bought the entire Macromedia Suite for web design. Dreamweaver is nice (but I hear NVu is an equal). Fireworks combined with flash make some nift buttons if you understand layering of colors.

The flash compressor is very nice imho. To see it in action, check out www.youthinsports.com. I am working (slowly) on the site. Most of my time is updating the video feed every week to the new show. It's an hour long show I cut into 4 segments and compress it down to a meger 250mbs at 24fps. And if you want to see a combination of flash, aura 2.5 and lightwave, then check out www.fallsafety.com. The banner is the object, the buttons were done with fireworks.

I am not upset one bit I bought the program set. I have a friend who is using his to make a load of different gif banners for myspace.

Lightwolf
09-08-2006, 01:44 AM
So is haxe an alternative to flash or merely and add-on? Looks interesting though.
It allows you to code in AS2 without actually having Flash. Other assets (such as images etc.) need to be specified using XML files. It is not an animation environment, but a pure development tool.

Cheers,
Mike

bryphi7
09-08-2006, 01:52 AM
It is a nice tool, but for some stuff flash is much faster to use...

lilrayray77
09-08-2006, 04:39 AM
Why do people so often use fireworks. I never really seen much that it can do that photoshop/imagready can't. I havent used it much so maybe I am missing ssomething.

MiniFireDragon
09-08-2006, 07:24 AM
Fireworks allows for a very quick way to create buttons with drop down menus, atleast that is the reason I use it.

Wonderpup
09-08-2006, 09:46 AM
A little off topic, but I was wondering if anyone see's a market for fully lightwave rendered 24fps banners opening up in the near future- or is bandwith still too big a hurdle despite the new codec and progressive download stuff in Flash 8?

MiniFireDragon
09-08-2006, 11:51 AM
You mean like: www.calisun.com/new

The banner is fully Lightwave with Aura 2.5 for the comp work. As for the want in the future, I make my own when I build websites. As for other web artists, I don't know if they know it is available, and if they do, they either have it or can do what they want to do in some other app.

So the question comes down to if you are a web artist, and is that a route you want to take to bring your art to the public.

Wonderpup
09-08-2006, 03:52 PM
Hi MiniFireDragon,

Thanks for posting that example. My interests are less artistic than commercial, to be honest. If it is practical to do then I can see a new possible market opening up for quality rendered animation on the web which the current flash based web animators will not easily adapt to.

Lord Snarebotto
09-09-2006, 10:29 AM
I just finished this flash site for a client: FenixDown (http://www.fenixdown.com/FlashSite/FenixDownWeb.htm)

The music selections will be replaced with his own music once it's all paid off.

:)
I find it rather amusing when someone claims to be getting paid (a 'professional'), then they post a dead link to their latest work. Brilliant!

Jim_C
09-09-2006, 10:35 AM
I find it rather amusing when someone claims to be getting paid (a 'professional'), then they post a dead link to their latest work. Brilliant!


True 'professionals' realize that during the early stages of web development, especially during the turn over to the client, last minute changes, or during the addition of the actual content, links come and go.

riki
09-09-2006, 10:38 AM
which is why we have .htaccess :)

Lord Snarebotto
09-09-2006, 10:52 AM
True 'professionals' realize that during the early stages of web development, especially during the turn over to the client, last minute changes, or during the addition of the actual content, links come and go.
I also find it quite brilliant when some genius responds like this, when the guy clearly stated "I just finished this site". Doesn't quite jibe with your response now, does it?:D

In addition, his post is less than 48 hours old. Kinda makes your argument even less relevant.

Carm3D
09-09-2006, 05:35 PM
Calm yourself, Snarebotto.. The site was moved from my server to his once it was paid for. It's over here (http://www.fenixdown.com/FlashSite) now. The music tracks are temporary placeholders and will be replaced with his band's music when that is ready.

lilrayray77
09-09-2006, 06:41 PM
I think Ill stick with good old dreamweaver and photoshop for the time being. If I manage to get any hits to my portfolio (once it is made) I might buy flash. No reason to rush into anyhting.