Wednesday 7 April 2010

Cloud 109 - Episode 24

We're now rapidly approaching the point where David and I are going to pull up the drawbridge with our serialisation of Cloud 109. Next week is the last sequential page we're posting for the moment, which is not to say that we won't be posting more pages but they will be out of context. There's a lot we can still do to keep up the momentum and as I mentioned last week we are putting up pages on the new dedicated Cloud 109 website - we'll keep you posted as to when the "opening night" will be.

Which brings me to yet more thoughts about the opportunities that are available for creatives in pushing their work out into the public arena. I cannot stress too often how important networking is for all of us, but if you're a creative then it's essential. Creatives are by nature extremely prone to huge swings of mood, one moment you can just about convince yourself that you are pretty good at your chosen field of self expression, the next moment you look at your work and the awful realisation that it's all crap descends on you with life sapping finality.

I've come to the conclusion that this is just a part of the whole creative process, just accept the mood swings, deal with it and move on, but the sense of kinship that comes with sharing your thoughts as many of us do on our respective blogs is truly restorative. Blogging for David and myself has been a truly enriching experience and without all the positive feedback and encouragement that you've given us over the last few months, the commitment to continuing work on Cloud 109 would not have been as easy to sustain.

This is beginning to sound like a farewell, but rest assured it is not, we continue and as I said earlier part of the next phase is the work we're committing to our website. And both David and I are viewing this as an opportunity to develop Cloud 109 in new areas and to this end we're just gently dipping our toes into the amazing opportunities that Flash animation presents us with. Our blog has been really exciting in allowing us to cybernetically hook up with other creatives but for the all important task of getting the message into schools, which David regularly visits it's not really a viable route - hence really the website and hence my current task of creating animations and immersing myself in online tutorials, John Shuman and Chris Georgenes who you can access from within Adobe Flash are just brilliant and inspirational teachers.

The possibilities that knowledge of Flash creates as we move into the world of Apps are it seems limitless, so we're a-going with the flow and it is our intention to continue with the regular Wednesday look at how Cloud 109 is moving out into the world beyond our desk space by including a look at how we're going to adapt to these new opportunities.

Above is a little taster of something that will be included on the Cloud 109 website.

Plus a lot more of course!!!

Pages 1-12 here

and 13-21 here

Recommended Flash reading:
How to Cheat in Adobe Flash CS4: The art of design and animation


  1. Inspired by what you're doing, Peter, I opened Flash over the weekend for a play around. And I notice my version is 7 years old! Time to upgrade...

    Btw how are you planning for the fact that iPhone and iPad don't support Flash? I hear there are ways to output a Flash movie so it will work on those platforms but haven't yet tried that out.

  2. I'm afraid the only Flash I know anything about used to be drawn by Carmine Infantino! :-/ As David says it's truly inspiring to see that one doesn't have to be a callow twenty-year-old to stay on the cutting edge of technology.

    I've just checked and was surprised to discover that it's exactly a quarter of a century since Mike Saenz started this whole ball rolling with 'Shatter' - supposedly the world's first computer-generated comic book. Seeing just how far the medium has progressed since then my mind fairly boggles at the thought of where we me may be in another 25 years' time...!

  3. Good question Dave, but vee heff zer answerzzz.

    Seriously though Flash CS5 is going to have an export format especially for iPhones as well as all the other apps. You need to work your files up in much the same way as you do with Flash Lite but configured for iPhone display dimensions.

    Here's a description of the new technology Adobe are utilising:

    "We enabled this by using the Low Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) compiler infrastructure. LLVM is a modular, flexible compiler system that is used widely in a variety of projects. The key reason we choose LLVM is its flexibility and applicability to iPhone development.

    We created a new compiler front end that allowed LLVM to understand ActionScript 3 and used its existing ARM back end to output native ARM assembly code. We call this Ahead of Time (AOT) compilation—in contrast to the way Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR function on the desktop using Just in Time (JIT) compilation. Since we are able to compile ActionScript to ARM ahead of time, the application gets all the performance benefits that the JIT would offer and the license compliance of not requiring a runtime in the final application.

    By doing the compilation step, we allow developers to create applications using their Flash skills and their knowledge of ActionScript 3. In the process, we also expose the APIs that developers are familiar with so they can not only use the ActionScript language but follow the customary app-building model. When you build your application for the iPhone, there is no interpreted code and no runtime in your final binary. Your application is truly a native iPhone app."

    So there you have it - my strategy at the moment is just to get the website done first and then start tooling around in Flash Lite so that when (if) I can afford CS5 I'll at least have a working knowledge of all the basic skills required.

    But Dave if you're going to upgrade your timing couldn't be better CS5 launches on April 10th.

    This blog's ongoing campaign to keep battering your credit card continues!

    And BTW Phil, as you might have guessed I really do love Carmine Infantino's The Flash (5 lovely archive volumes out already)

  4. Wow - this blog is the web equivalent of the wise old man on the mountain :)

    Flash CS5 will probably be 500 quid or more, but certainly cheaper than getting bespoke software written for apps. My credit card should be grateful, and I'm sure it will thank you when it stops trembling.

  5. :3 I like that little chibi character animation layout you have there.