Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Something terrible is about to happen...

... and it's called Microsoft Acrylic. :-) Just kidding. I downloaded it yesterday to see what the fuzz is all about and it seems not too many things have changed since the last version. This build still has no timeline enabled, although somehow they missed to remove the 'Onion Skin' menu which obviously only makes sense if there would be some sort of animation support. So either they want to keep it secret or it's simply not ready yet.

Nevertheless I tried what's there right now and frankly I think they have a long way to go. I've worked on various authoring tools in the past (even designing one from scratch) and know how challenging it can be. I guess my biggest criticism is they they work off a very traditional application design approach using a custom rendering engine. The result is that they will run into a lot of usability issues once they export to XAML. Apple is again showing us where things are going. I mean Microsoft has Direct3D and XAML which are designed to integrate with hardware. Why not build an authoring experience around this, instead of reverting to a cumbersome design and publish approach? While Macromedia Flash is still the leader in vector graphics on the web it has become quite old school in the way it approaches application design. UIs can be fixed, a broken core can't. If I would have to start over I would certainly do it very differently. For one thing I would think hard if using C++ is really the way to go. At least make it a Unicode application from start if you want to save countless of months of QA in the long term.

Some of the more amusing parts are the way some of the features are implemented. They obviously had the challenge of adding bitmap support to a fully vector based application. Somehow things seem to have fallen short when it comes to engineering quality in certain areas though. Look at this 'Gaussian Blur':

The above two rectangles have no filter applied, the lower ones have a 'Gaussian Blur' effect applied with a radius of 0(!) the other one with a radius of 10. Graphics engineers at Apple, Adobe, Macromedia, Alias, NVidia and ATI may now laugh out loud. If you copy the SVG specs at least read it. :-)

That reminds that I wanted to blog of how I came to implement the blur filter which is now in Flash Player 8. It took me several months to get it just right. Gory details will follow this week...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

your cool.:-) just kidding!im blind :0

Monday, April 03, 2006 6:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IIIIIMMMM BACK!!! your a nerd! :-)NOT kidding!

Monday, April 03, 2006 6:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i h8 u

Monday, April 03, 2006 6:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your sexy. NOT kidding

JUST KIDDING! :-( im blind again

Monday, April 03, 2006 6:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get a life

Friday, May 05, 2006 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Shinobu said...

I love the new faux alpha channel capabilities. I can now make pretty implimentations to my GUI designs. one of them was the Fresnel reflections with blurr (for the thumbnails of my gallery engine) I also love the ability to now add a fading transparency at the end of a long description text field using this method. I really love flash 8.

Monday, September 11, 2006 1:13:00 PM  

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