This was a 3 part series for Web Designer Magazine, October, November and December 2004.
How to create an audio mixer in Flash, first looking at the task of drawing the graphic assets.
One of the things that Flash handles really well is audio. Flash has the ability to play up to 8 stereo audio channels at the same time, with independent volume and pan controls over each channel. This means that we can get 8 concurrent audio loops going at once, and using volume and pan, we can create our own mixes, and in essence build our own songs. Continue reading Creating an Audio Mixer in Flash
From Web Designer Magazine, August 2004
Displaying an interface at runtime using motion graphics code to animate the elements in to place.
One of the best things about Flash is the fact that it allows for interfaces to be created in a very short period of time. We can easily open Flash, drop a few elements on to the stage, and voila, our interface is ready. In today’s Internet, however, that’s simply not enough. Visitors have come to expect dynamism; they want things to move, fly and zip into place. Traditionally, this would be accomplished by carefully animating the interface on a timeline with dozens of keyframes.
However, that’s not the only way (nor is it the best way). Thanks to the scripting power of Flash’s language Actionscript, we can create dynamic websites with fully animated interfaces with only a few lines of code, and some very simple motion graphics programming.
Think of a website where you arrive, and interface elements begin flying in from off-screen, coming from all different locations only to settle neatly into position. Once in position, they create a cohesive whole to the entire interface. In this tutorial, we’ll be looking at how to create such an interface, and how to integrate Actionscript to create robust motion graphics effects.
Web Designer, June 2004
With inspiration from modern MP3 players, we build our own fully functional player in Flash MX 2004.
Flash MX introduced the ability to load and play MP3 files directly at runtime. Prior to this, the only thing we could do was import the sounds into Flash at design time, or embed our sounds in SWF files and load those in at runtime. This was not an ideal solution, as it required hours of overhead and tedium.
Today, we have the ability to load an MP3 and play it streaming, so that it plays as it’s downloading and doesn’t need the entire song to begin producing sound. Also, we have access to the ID3 tags associated with most MP3 files. This means we have access to information such as song title, album, artist and year. It is these elements that are expected in a good MP3 player.
In Flash we have the ability to stop a stream and pick up from where we left off, without having to restart. This, coupled with information about play head position and duration of the entire song, allows us to create a progress bar that represents the playback position.
We’ll be including all the standards; play, stop, rewind, next track and previous track. We’ll also be representing a playlist in an array.