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Adobe Animate – a first look

Adobe Animate splash screen

Just a couple of days ago, Adobe announced the arrival of a major update to Flash. Industry experts have been forecasting the death of Flash for some time now, so there must have been a few red faces when it was announced that Flash was to be revamped and renamed Adobe Animate. For those of us who’ve been using Flash for a while, there was a lot of anticipation regarding the direction that Adobe were going to take with the new version.

It’s early days for the new application, and it remains to be seen how users will respond to the upgrade. Many people, particularly creatives working in the banner advertising industry, have moved over to Adobe Edge Animate. Edge Animate was seen by many as the logical replacement for Flash. Development of Edge has now been stopped, so it’s future looks bleak. No reason why you shouldn’t continue using it for now, but no further upgrades will be released.

So, what’s new in Adobe Animate? Here are just a few of the outstanding new features below:

Creative cloud features

Animate is now officially part of the Creative Cloud, which means it joins other Adobe software in gaining access to Adobe Stock, and to CC Libraries for easy asset sharing across applications and devices. There’s also access to web fonts via Typekit.

Support for SVG

Animate now supports SVG via import as well as directly importing Adobe Illustrator files. Both formats import as editable vector content, and graphical elements can be automatically distributed to Animate layers,  or to keyframes for animation.

New Paint Brush tool

The new Paint Brush tool is a welcome addition – the older version (which remains in the tools panel) looked like it belonged in a museum. As in Adobe Illustrator, the Paint Brush tool includes a preset Brush Library, the ability to apply variable widths and arrowheads as well as providing control over line caps, corners and so on.

Scale the stage, scale your content

You can now easily re-purpose projects by scaling the dimensions of the Stage, and allowing content to automatically scale to fit the new dimensions. The process can be controlled by setting anchor points for scaling. This could dramatically simplify the process of creating multiple banner ad sizes based on a single composition.

Goodbye to SWF?

Perhaps the most important change is more to do with a shift in emphasis. Adobe say that more than a third of content created using Flash/Animate is output as HTML5. This implies that the SWF format is being phased out in favour of HTML5 based content, particularly on mobile devices. Significantly, the online advertising industry now recognises HTML5 as a standard format for animated/interactive banner ads.

Publish to multiple formats

Animate exports to HTML5 canvas, which is now the default document type. Interactivity is added via Javascript. There’s also WebGL, although that’s still in preview. You can also export broadcast-quality video, as well as older formats like animated gif. Animate allows for other export formats to be supported via extensions.

Want to learn Adobe Animate?

At The Web School, we have expert and Adobe certified trainers. Whether you need to create animated banner ads, or want to generate eye-catching interactive content, get in touch, we can teach you everything you need to know! Find out more about our Animate courses.