Adobe has announced LiveMotion, its new Web animation package dubbed by some as the company’s "Flash-killer".

LiveMotion 1.0 was first previewed at Seybold Seminars earlier this month. The software is an object-orientated, vector-based authoring environment for creating individual-dynamic Web graphics, or complete interactive pages incorporating sound and motion.

According to an Adobe representative, LiveMotion is "more than just a Flash-killer. It doesn’t just export to the Flash file format - although that is perhaps the most interesting format - it also exports to static formats such as GIF, JPEG, PNG or SVG". Version 2.0 will have the ability to export to video formats like QuickTime, he said.

The new product sports the familiar Adobe user interface and drawing tools, and integrates closely with other Adobe products. For example, native Photoshop or Illustrator files can be dragged-&-dropped onto a LiveMotion document - layered files do not need to be flattened or converted into composite formats.

LiveMotion uses an object-based timeline borrowed from Adobe Premiere. Because the timeline is not layer-based, nearly every attribute (position, opacity, scale, colour) of every object can be animated in a non-destructive manner, and edited at any time. With the Auto Keyframing and Auto Tweening features, animators can insert a start keyframe, specify the amount of time for the effect, and change the object. LiveMotion automatically inserts the end keyframe and tweens the effect between the start and the end keyframes.

Other key features include transparency - designers can create transparent graphics and overlay transparent objects on bitmaps - and Styles, where any combination of creative effects can be saved as a Style and then applied to other objects.

A public beta of LiveMotion is due in early March, and the final product is expected to ship at the beginning of May.

The first release is compatible with Mac OS 9, but Adobe said that it definitely plans to support Mac OS X in a subsequent release, and is aiming to have a Carbonized version in January 2001.