Adobe Edge Animate 1.0 review

Edge Animate’s interface will be familiar to anyone with experience of time-based multimedia. There’s a WebKit-based Stage area for assembling/creating graphics (SVG, JPG, PNG and GIF file formats) and text elements and previewing animation and HTML, and there’s a Timeline and a Properties panel, all presented in the usual Adobe UI look. Animation is carried out via keyframes, with an auto-keyframe stopwatch to automatically tween values when changes to elements on the stage take place over time. You can also use the Pin tool to animate. This pins or fixes the properties values at a certain point on the timeline, allowing you to move the playhead and change the element properties. In this way it creates keyframes from the Pin to the playhead in a single edit. In another shortcut you can copy the animation from one element and paste it onto another. You can thus quickly build up a sequence of animated elements such as a fading slideshow of images. An easing button lets you smooth the in or out motion of the animation.

You are also able to group a collection of elements, together with their animation timeline, into one reusable Symbol. This allows you to quickly have objects with internal animation being animated as part of a larger sequence. Playhead commands can be applied to start Symbols running forwards or in reverse at a certain point on the timeline. Triggers are another set of functions that are called into operation to tell the timeline what to do, such as Stop. These are quickly applied via a code popup, which offers prewritten lines of code. Elements in the work area can also have functions called actions applied to them in response to a mouse click, touch (for tablets and mobiles) or trigger/timeline event- this is again scriptable via a code popup. In addition a separate Code window offers a view of all the actions and Timeline triggers for easier management. There’s also strong publishing support, packaging the animation in a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data structure for uploading to web sites, to digital publishing applications, or for embedding in Apple iBooks titles.

OUR VERDICT

Edge Animate’s workflow, particularly the Pin and Easing tools, as well as hidden gems like cut and paste functions and live rendering of Web pages in the Stage, makes for effective and free HTML 5 animation creation. However there’s no audio support and ‘no-coding’ designers may be put off by the (admittedly minimal) use of Code popups and the Code window.

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