Users of Adobe Illustrator will already be aware that the program offers solid – albeit limited – animation capabilities. Now from leading SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) mobile-phone exponents, Ikivo, comes a piece of software that attempts to provide some of the components that Illustrator is lacking.
Although Ikivo Animator is an application in its own right, such is the tightness of its integration with Illustrator that you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a plug-in. Ikivo Animator operates in tandem with Adobe’s veteran vector powerhouse, allowing users to use Illustrator to create media with tools that they are already familiar with. When ready, the user then has the option of automatically exporting to Ikivo Animator in SVG format, where animations can be created specifically for the mobile-phone market. Animator does this thanks to a time line-based interface that will be familiar to users of Macromedia Flash or Director. Here media can be scaled, rotated and tweaked; strokes and fills can be animated, and there is even support for opacity. There is also a History palette and a Pacing palette for controlling motion.
The program is a lean piece of software: there’s no conventional toolbox, for example – the developers recognising that they have no real chance of bettering what Adobe Illustrator already has to offer. Similarly, there are no plug-ins or filter effects that can be applied to imported artwork. Anyone hoping to produce exportable content from scratch is going to be disappointed. Animator is simply for manipulating and animating content. No more, no less.
When animations are ready to be exported, users can preview them in a viewer that resembles the target mobile phone. And with Ikivo’s Player program increasingly being supported by many leading mobile-phone manufacturers, users can be sure that what they produce in Animator will be acceptable for online delivery.
All this is good news for current CS users who want to make the jump into a new market. For devotees of Macromedia Flash and Dreamweaver, however, there is nothing particularly groundbreaking on offer. And with Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia due for completion, users will have to decide whether to wait and see what Adobe comes up with, or bite the bullet and shell out £200 quid for a ready-made solution.
That quandary aside, Ikivo has to be congratulated for producing a piece of software that does exactly what it says on the box. Users can try out the 15-day free trial (available for download from www.ikivo.com) if they want to put the program through its paces.