Geting started with Starling, running Flash in GPU.

With Flash player 11 comes Stage3D, which enables us to run Flash content in GPU. While its all good, coding for a simple task looks as if something real big.

Fortunately Starling-framework makes the life easier. Its a framework on top of Stage3D(codenamed Molehill). The best part of it is one can just use it as if using flash’s own API. It has movieclip, sprite, events and displaylist. While I was trying my first handson this framework, found some must to do things, which may save someone’s time.

Minimum requirement,

To run
1. First of all, it needs Flash Player 11.
2. It must be run inside a browser. Yeah, SWF must be embedded inside a HTML page.
3. Inside the embed code, “mode” must be set to “direct”.

<param name="wmode" value="direct">

4. Embeding the swf with SWFObjectdoes not work for me. So used the minimum default Object-embed method. To author 1. Need Flash Player 11 SDK 2. Overlap it on Flex SDK 4.5.1 , so that you got the compiler ready. 3. Compile with extra compiler argument as ” -swf-version=13 “.

The basic HTML boilerplate code to embed look as

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">
<head>
        <title>HelloStarling</title>
        <meta name="google" value="notranslate">         
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
    </head>
    <body>
        <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="600" height="600" id="movie_name" align="middle">
    <param name="movie" value="Startup.swf"/>
    <param name="wmode" value="direct">
    <!--[if !IE]>-->
    <object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="Startup.swf" width="600" height="600">
        <param name="wmode" value="direct">
    </object>
    <!--<![endif]-->
</object>   
   </body>
</html>

 

 

Happy Flashing.

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From SketchUp to 3ds Max Design

SketchUp is really nice and straight forward when it comes to 3d design. Models are just minutes away with precision.

Somehow we need a professional 3d rendering tool to create photo realistic renderings. And 3ds MAX is a nice choice. The only problem is taking files from Sketchup to 3ds MAX. There is a tool available for that as described in this official blog of Sketchup.
While going through a project, I found Audodesk 3dsMAX Design 2011 can now natively import Google SketchUP 8 files. No addon, no plugin required. Not sure about plain 3ds MAX 2011 though. But this is good news for both the communities. conversion tool is not required now.

It took the textures and materials with it. While importing into 3ds MAX design 2011, it even asks for changing lighting and environment settings to Mental Ray and if one chooses yes, it automatically sets the Mental Ray lighting, environmental Map and rendering settings.

Just beautiful.

Two impressive things from day one keynote of Adobe MAX 2010

Edge : A tool to take control of HTML 5 animation capabilities
Can not say more about this, one must watch the video on the link. Feels like early Flash days, when timeline was everything.
Molehill : A new set of lowlevel 3D APIs.
The details of this new 3D API and its capabilities are here at Adobe Labs. Definitely that would open up some more fun on gaming side and as we can see the demo car race is already impressive. Just thinking whether the game studios will be interested in porting the native codebase to SWF or in AIR. Or how much re-writing may be necessary for the translation. If at all the games are ported into SWF with/without the help of Alchemy can those still maintain the frame-rate and the massive multiplayer requirements (which again should not be diffiicult with P2P in Flashplayer). If those are going to be of some standard result, then I think all the games are playable in all the Operating systems. I mean the games will not only become windows only. One can play the same game on Linux, MAC and Windows. No Code re-write, hopefully I guess. As everything will boil down to AIR or SWF. Ohh, I am forgetting the AIR and Flash are coming to TVs, so gaming consoles also could take that advantage. The keynote already showed gaming controls like joysticks and steer wheels. Will Flash take on the gaming industry by storm this time?!! Time now is to just wait and watch.

Basics of a scripting language

I must say, the more I read the basics, the more I get hooked to the basics. I have just finished reading a book on UnityScript Basics for Noobs. Must not confuse with the name of the scripting language. Since actionscript, javascript or UnityScript or any other scripting language for that matter shares the same ideology. So, if you are new to a scripting language, just get this book reading. And I am sure that will make the basics of your clear. As this book itself says its for Noobs, it is for Noobs but then written very nicely to make you understand the core of a scripting language.

Best of all its free to download too.

Happy Flashing

Getting into design with Linux

Well,I was thinking this for a long time. It is a general tendency even now to think of Linux as a sub standard operating system. It is very hard to get going and is not very flexible.

While I was into Linux for more than 5 years, I found the time has really come now. Almost everything has come to a point where a designer can start with Linux. Below are the list of the softwares,which I think can kick-start your design career without investing a lot of money on costly softwares.

1. Ubuntu (The linux flavour can be delivered to you free from the makers)
2. GIMP (Image editor)
3. Inkscape (Vector editor)
4. Audacity (Audio editor)
5. Aptana (HTML,Javascript,CSS editor)
6. NetBeans (PHP,HTML,Javascript,CSS and more editor and IDE)
7. Firefox, Opera, Chrome (Browser)
8. VLC ( Multimedia Player )
9. Blender ( 3D-Authoring tool )
10. WINE ( Windows simulator inside linux )

These are some of the potentials of the Linux to deliver to a designer. the only thing is, once you take a little brave step to love the command line, though not necessary, it will come in handy and help you a lot. And I am sure once you start with commands to do your job done, you will also appreciate it.

The best of all is, all these softwares are legally free, so there will be no license fee or agreement to anyone.

Happy designing :)

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010,a first look.

Autodesk Revit, the building information modelling is gaining grounds, slowly but steadily. The new generation of architects are willing to push the limits in terms of technology usage too.

Now as of this software has got power but adoption was not that as per its capabilities. Time is changing and people are now aware that they have to move to new and productive things.

I have seen this one almost 6 years back and amazed at its efficiency. Since then the software has made quite a lot of improvements in itself. Now the User Interface is the standard UI for all the Autodesk products. The main tool bar is on top with a “start” kind of button on the top-left corner.

The first screen has got the option to create a new project or open one, along with family creation options right up-front. This gives the user an advantage by saving in time,which was previously took the user to go on to menu and select the desired option. Nice UI improvement.

The first thing comes to mind,when one creates or opens a project is, where is the UI customizsation option?! Well, all the options are now in the top bar of the software.

To customise the UI of the environment,one has to go to view>UserInterface

Now one has option to show/hide Interface elements, along with Project Browser and Browser Organisation.

Now all the options regarding the detailed and general settings about the software as a whole is in “options” menu,which is inside the main button in the top-left corner.

This menu opens up the settings dialog box where one can set to use the graphics card(Hardware Acceleration),Anti-Aliasing on 3D views, setting of file locations(including template files and family files) and customising the View-cube and where to display it.

Once inside designing or creating stuffs, all the options for a particular options are up in top again.

This means the wall creation tool details are right on the top bar just above the design area and below the component selection area. Again a very nice improvement on the UI,saves a lot of time for the user avoiding un-necessary clicks here and there.

The Instance Properties and Type Properties for a family is at one place and can be opened directly in one click. There is no more go through the Instance properties to edit Type properties. Real time saver again.

Now all the settings are done and we are moving in our design process. Still we need some more tweaking to fit in our own style.

So the detailed tweaking for the project,the components, even the line style,shadow and snaps settings are inside Manage>Settings

Along side that the material editing menu. This opens up the material editor. So all the managing things regarding the project is inside the “Manage” menu.

Now the big screen real estate saver is a tiny arrow just at the end of the menus.

This tiny arrow shows/hides all the visual elements on the top bar. The result is one can just turn off all those icons on the top bar with the texts only or even completely hide those menus,exposing more screen area to work with.

Now each element one is working with adds its own menu just at the ends of all menus(just next to “Manage” menu and before that magical tiny arrow for top UI show/hide,we talked now)

Another great addition to the UI is the 3D box and the shortcut wheel as in all other Autodesk products. Once inside a 3D view, one can see these on the top-right corner by default. This gives a nice one point access to move arround in the 3D space.

The rendering dialogue box is now up front in the UI. This is placed with all other view related settings icon,which are just below the design are.

This is again a nicely done UI. The rendering options are just a click away in the same user interface. And this rendering settings dialogue has got all the options to tweak the rendering settings along with the sun,exposer and rendering quality.

Over all Revit 2010 has got massive UI improvement to ease things out for an user. But it could mean a little difficult UI if someone is coming from the previous versions of the software. Hope I have made a good inside into the new UI to make the transition smoother from the older version to the new one.

Did my passion for Flash ends here!

All this started when I was doing Lingo scripting with Macromedia Director in our multimedia class. I first heard about Flash there. At first I ignored it,for Lingo was giving me power that point of time (2001-2002). As an architect I used do AutoCAD and 3DSMAX and then import the 3D models into Director to add some interactivity. It was not that straight forward those days but with a lot of plugins and addons one could do Shockwave movies. While I was enjoying Lingo, I heard Flash can do animations and interactivity with very little effort. So thought will give it a try and started with Flash5. At first it seemed me a lot constrained compared to Director. Very little scripting or so to say actions one can choose from and adds to the objects you create. But then I came across some beautiful sites such as (lookandfeel.com,wearehere.com,not sure whether they exist now!) Then I thought I must try this out and there began my Flash carrer. Slowly caught Actionscript 1.0 and started doing experiements. Still love the first time I made mediaplayer in Flash to run the SWFs with stop,pause,play and seek bar.I still consider thats my best project till date.

Slowly Macromedia pushed in Flash and kind of neglected Director. I found value in that but surely missing all those 3D features of Lingo. While there were a few in Flash those days,the community arround Flash was superior compared to any other scripting. Learned a lot from Flash-DB and Flashmove. There I grew myself and looking at the vibrant community I never looked back as to do some other programming (JAVA,C#,PHP etc). I tried  those languages those days but then its the community which let me down. I could found a lot of folks arround me doing JAVA,dotNET but they were kind of showing their superiorness to me all the time. On the contrary Director forums were kind of very slow and there were almost no discussion about HTML and Javascript those days(At lest arround me).

I got myself going in Flash and slowly realised that there is not much I can do with the frontend unless I got some data from backend and the Flash community helped me right away with the support(Flash-DB,you guys rock). Within few months I started with PHP and MySQL,this were all happening from the same community. I never looked to go to a PHP forum till that time. When I visted a PHP forum,just for a test,I found those guys were also share the same kind of passion as Flash. I was been accepted and encouraged. The next thing was JAVA. Actually I started it intentionally as I heard a lot about it in everywhere. Learning was a little tough then as it was pure OOP and AS2 is just a compromise. When I have started my hands on JAVA, AS3 was shipped. And it was like a cake walk for me as I was just polishing Java. AS3 come in just the right time and I loveded it. So much of the pain of AS2 is gone. Till that point everything was going right. I was heavily doing Flash applications from casual games to applications.

This was the time when javascript developer were looked upon as inferior guys than the Flash guys. It was not the problem of the community, as the community was always aware of things. This was the problem created by big corporations and their management. They have to face the customers and customers werer asking about Flash applications. All done, we were delivering Flash applications for years but for what? For the native Javascript and HTML was not sufficient then to provide the kind of user interaction Flash was doing.

The time came when Flash is pushed into the enterprise arena. Macromedia released Flex as a serverside component and the buzz was everywhere. In between the transition of Macromedia to Adobe, Flex matured as a front end component framework. Wooohooooooo, a corner stone. And suddenly there were divisions in the Flash community happened,Flex developer and Flash developer. Some people,including me adopted Flex and started learning it as to see what it is doing. While some just dove into from other programming language as it was fetching money. I found value in Flex, as an application framework and started developing applications. Fun at first,but then I felt I am decreasing my value as a creative individual and doing the same kind of stuff what other programming language guys were doing. The objective of the company(Macromedia /Adobe) was achieved, with the similar syntaxes as other programming languages and ease of use of a declarative language, Flex brought in the developers from all arround the development sphere. But then developers who were really liked Flash for its richness in simplicity started to fade up,that includes me too. If all I have to do is learn your complex event models, lifecycles(which obviously will come in a matured language as AS3) why not I learn other languages like JAVA, dotNET, PHP. They are coming up nicely and if you talk about frontends,we have JavaFX,Silverlight and HTML.  Another big problem is the mindset of the community now, people coming straight to the Flex framework from other programming languages, think the Flash counterparts are just some guys but Flex developers are real ones. Common, put them into test by giving some animation logic or at least custom transition effects. Suddenly the answer would be why would that be required. Flash community was never like that, it always experimented with visual elements of any kind.

If we talk about pure cross-platform products,I mean data driven applications currently javascript and HTML are already doing nice stuffs, I would consider better than Flex/Flash. Coming with HTML5,CSS3 and javacript a great new era of web applications. The community arround it is looking as vibrant as the Actionscript 1 version of Flash. They are ready to take on the challenge and try things out differently.

Well, with that came along iPhone and Cocoa framework for ObjectiveC. I never thought the community could be so enrgetic there. I think its quite healthy and matured community there while at very early age of their life. Within 1-2 months of my diving into the code and starting my objectiveC venture I got direct help from people into core cocoa programming. Go catch @jonsterling at Twitter,this guy is incredibly talented and helps you out , just at the moment. I am steadly falling in love with ObjectiveC.

To conclude, my passion for creativeness and innovation is still there, so I will choose my wipons. Currently HTML5,Javascript,CSS3 are on the web side of things that passionate me. While for iphone and in general ObjecitveC is the thing. All in all on front end side, I should be doing Flash for my earnings I hope, not passion anymore, until Adobe or the Flash community does something to bring me back on the game. This kind of things happened,when I switched from Lingo to Flash. On job front I was doing Lingo but for passion I was into Flash. Now its the time for history to repeat itself. For I have stopped enjoying Flash on application front. While I still passionately do any gaming assignments on Flash. There is still a lot of things in there. But obvioulsy not Flex or any datadriven framework. The passion right now is on objectiveC,HTML5,CSS3 and javascript. Ohh well, how can I forget HAXE. And if we talk about games again,Unity and those kind of frameworks are already in the game. That is another area,which I am looking passionately too.

So there are a plenty of things for me to do as to keep up with my passion.

Lets go and do it.