Just a short 2 weeks later, I can finally put down some of my thoughts and take-away’s.
Multiple screens is becoming more and more prominent. Not just mobile devices, but others including TV’s, computers, phones, MID (mobile internet device), netbooks (stripped down laptops hitting the market for under $400-300), and more. Adobe is leading a group of companies in the openScreen project. It’s not really a project, but a push towards Flash 10 in as many devices as possible. Currently, Flash Lite is what is being used in mobile devices, and it’s not consistent across manufacturers and devices. The challenge with working across multiple screens is the varied resolutions (including variables such as a software keyboard taking up screen real estate, changing from landscape to portrait mode, etc.).
In one view of consistency, however, the focus is NOT pixel perfect identical rendering of content across devices and screens. Consistency is more in line with branding. A consistent experience. For example, the New York Times demo’ed an AIR newspaper reader. When resized or displayed on a smaller device, it didn’t shrink and enlarge the text; rather, the layout was changed so that pictures became thumbnails or disappeared, the # of columns changed, etc. The goal would be to provide a consistent, predictable, user-friendly experience across devices and screens rather than duplicating the content across multiple screens.
Flash CS4 animation is revamped (much more like After Effects)
Flash 10 Player is revamped with “3D” effects (from Flex)
AIR has integrated the webtool kit (html rendering engine in Safari browsers)
CS4 has better integration between apps; they added a few file types to go between applications (such as FXL between Premiere and Flash, FXP between Catalyst and Flex)
SWF’s are searchable and indexable
Other interesting Adobe products
Flash Catalyst (previously Thermo) is a great rapid prototyping tool (take PSD work on it in Catalyst then program it in Flex)
Alchemy – compile c/c++ into Flash (WHOOO)
Possible Projects to pursue
Adobe AIR (desktop/internet application hybrid)
With the introduction of a more robust HTML rendering engine in AIR, we can now deliver most content (such as World Campus courses) in AIR and build an interface and experience around it. A custom World Campus or Penn State web browser would go a long way to adding interactivity (or at least make it easy and provide a framework to do so). We would be able to add Flash/Flex pieces all around the content with ease. Also, it’d open the door to offline coursework.
Designer vs. Developer, “jack of all trades”
My official position at work in this moment in time is “Multimedia Specialist.” At Max, every session ended with a survey. The first question had a series of bubbles across the top and two of the options were “designer” and “developer.” My time at Max has been a good reflective time to figure out a better, more defined direction for my career. I’ve always felt that I was a “jack of all trades, but master of none.” This is easily seen in my musical endeavors (I can play trumpet, trombone, drum(set), guitar, bass guitar all at a advanced beginner level). It’s also a conscious decision I had to make about sports a year back. As I was preparing for a wedding and marriage and got busier with living life, playing ping pong, tennis, basketball, volleyball, snowboarding, and rollerblading just wouldn’t work out. I decided to focus on just tennis and volleyball – with a little snowboarding on the side. What a difference! Having focus in my life has been great and it gives me more time to do what I love to do. I think I am now on the crossroads of figuring out a career path. Designer? Developer? I’ve only been working for 3+ years (all with Penn State since June ’05) and it’ll be a fun time figuring out where to go.