Friday, November 21, 2008

Flash CS4 = Crash

UPDATE: This post is no longer accurate as Adobe has fixed the issues mentioned below. Please check the following post for a more up to date report. Thanks.

I'm frustrated so this is a venting post... maybe someone at Adobe will hear it.

I've been playing around with Flash CS4 (Production Suite) for a week or two now and at first I didn't know what Jobe Makar was talking about... But alas, the crash bug has bit me... bit right in the buttocks.

- Yesterday my crash number was in the double digits. Today doesn't look like its going to be any different.
- Each crash occurred while testing the movie from the IDE.
- It is not isolated to one project.
- There does not seem to be a pattern as to when during the playback the crash would occur.
- Doesn't matter if I am interacting with the piece or just having it run in the background.
- Doesn't matter how many other programs I have open.
- Sometimes I would have made no changes to the FLA.
- Almost everytime I was able to open it right back up and it would work fine (for awhile).
- I am using Vista 64 bit.
- I am saving the file as CS3 (I am the guinea pig at the office and the only one with CS4 installed.)

Therefore it is really tough to narrow down and I can't really submit a bug report to Adobe besides a vague "Flash Crashes when you test the SWF in the IDE". I did try to submit a crash report each time, but sometimes even that would freeze and I would have to use the task manager to take Flash down.

Fun stuff. I recommend staying away until Adobe releases a fix, unless you need it for a specific purpose (possibly Keith's 25 line competition?)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tweener Hidden Gem (_autoAlpha)... No more setting visible onComplete garbage

I just stumbled across _autoAlpha in the Tweener documentation. I was actually looking for something completely different but this caught my eye. Typically when I do a tween where the object needs to turn invisible afterwords I have to call an onComplete function to change the visibility or possibly just setup a second tween with a delay that sets the visibility to false.

_autoAlpha gets rid of the unnecessary bulkiness of those methods by simply hiding the item automatically when the alpha reaches 0. On the flip side it also makes objects visible when their alpha goes above 0.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Hiring 2 Full Time Positions: a Flash Developer and an Interactive Designer

The Basement is expanding once again. Please check out the following job posts:

Flash Developer

Interactive Designer

Good luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to become a ... [flash developer, designer, 3D animator, etc]

Brian Phillips and few members of the Basement recently got the chance to talk as a panel to the local SIGGRAPH group. There were a lot of specific questions about our company, our projects, and what not... but throughout the entire QA session there was a strong underlying theme of "How do I become a _________". Fill in the blank with any multimedia job... be it 3D, design, project management, development, entrepreneur, etc.

When I was in college I had the same question. Its almost something that you won't understand the answer to until you just do it, but there are a few tips that you can keep in mind that should help steer you in the right direction.

1. You absolutely have to learn to learn. Make sense? Good. What I mean is, you have to be able to teach yourself and not depend on a professor to push you. If you want something then get it. You want to be good at Flash? Buy some books, look up tutorials, follow the blogs, and give yourself assignments that will give you new skills and set you apart from your peers. Start the habit early and continue it throughout your entire career.

2. Internships. Do as many as you can. Besides being a great experience and chance to check out the "real world", its also a great networking tool that will drastically increase your chance of getting a job. Even if you don't get a job at that immediate company, you should still be able to make connections within that company who may know of a place that is hiring and can put in a good word for you. On that same note, make sure you maintain your contacts by touching base every once in awhile.

3. Build a portfolio. Sorry to say it, but unlike what you may have heard, your GPA and degree mean absolutely bupkiss. If you don't have a portfolio then you don't have an interview. In our field, your portfolio is your first impression, not your resume. Unfortunately I did not learn this until after I graduated. I spent the summer after graduation making my online portfolio, which is dated now, but at the time it allowed me to get my foot in the door. Don't wait. Start putting it together as soon as possible. Also, on that same note, treat every project as a portfolio piece. Your work is your resume... its a reflection of yourself... treat it as such.

4. Once you have a solid portfolio, reach out to companies in your area of interest. Don't wait for job postings (although look there as well). Find companies, send them your work and see if they are interested. They may not have something now but it could lead to something later. Also, they may be able to help in other ways by giving you feedback on your portfolio or giving you the contact information of other companies who may be hiring.

5. Lets say you can't find the perfect job. Do it anyways. Huh? You'll obviously have to do what you have to in order to pay the bills (and no, I am not talking about prostitution). Either get a job close to what you want or a job that pays well so you don't have to work that much. Then do whatever it is you really want to do at night and on weekends. Spend your free time freelancing for companies, doing projects for family/friends, or even making up companies and making website comps for them just to expand your portfolio. Always continue doing what you want to do and eventually you will end up doing it for real. Your hobby/night job will eventually catch a break and become your day job.

That should be enough to get the ball moving. Feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions.

And on that note I will leave you with an inspirational quote...

"All you have to do is want it". - Palin / Fey

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Head Conference... the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Aral Balkan recently uploaded all of the videos from the recent Head Conference. Now I can go back and watch the ones I missed. How many conferences allow you to do that??? If you can't already tell, I've been a huge fan of the Head Conference and have been very impressed with how it turned out (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3).

Last night I took some time and went back to watch Mario Klingemann's "Pixel be Here". I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was the presentation video recorded, but also all of the chat and presenter's webcam. Which for Mario's presentation, this feature was very important. He talked about using "MacGyver" like techniques with Flash's API to explore new areas and discover new capabilities of Flash. In this presentation he focused on different Bitmap tools to interact with the webcam. At one point he even used QR-Code to tell his presentation which slide to go to, which was very impressive. Then, instead of getting into the nitty gritty code, he jumped into the Aviary suite and demonstrated how to go about finding QR-Code in the webcam by comparing Aviary Filters to AS methods. By the end of it, we were watching Flash hone in on the QR-Code and start to use projective mappings to translate a piece of paper into 3D space. With a little more time and some papervision icing, this could become a very cool trick. (Mr. Doob mentioned in the chat box that a Japanese team has already taken the first steps... this video is incredible: Fireworks). Needless to say it was a very impressive presentation, and I highly recommend watching it once it goes public.

Wii Balance Board + Adobe Air + Google Street View = AirSanpo

Unfortunately this is all in Japanese (I think)... but I stumbled across a video today of someone who rigged his Wii Balance board so that he could walk down Google Street View. Check the video out here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Finding FLVPlaybackAS3.swc in CS4 for Flex

Back in April I posted about how to setup FLVPlayback in a Flex ActionScript Project.

I installed CS4 (and uninstalled CS3) Friday night before I took off for the weekend. I just made sure it opened and that was about it. This morning I open up my Eclipse/Flex workspace to find that all my projects that used the FLVPlaybackAS3.swc were busted. No biggie. It is currently pointed to:

C:/Program Files(x86)/Adobe/Adobe Flash CS3/en/Configuration/Components/Video/FLVPlaybackAS3.swc

I'll just swap out the CS3 to CS4 and it will be fixed... nope. There is no Components folder anymore. DOH.

With a little searching and hunting around you can find it here:

C:/Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Adobe Flash CS4/Common/Configuration/Components/Video/FLVPlaybackAS3.swc

Similarly, the component source can be found here:

C:/Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Adobe Flash CS4/Common/Configuration/Component Source/ActionScript 3.0/FLVPlayback

Hope that helps some people from searching too long.