Macromedia thrust on online video, mobile with Studio 8

Macromedia recently announced the launch of its latest offering, Studio 8 in India. Speaking to Animation ‘xpress, Macromedia India head Shriram Krishnamachari said that,” There are tremendous improvements to features and performance in Studio 8 which will allow content creators, video professionals, graphic artists, web designers and developers,to design, develop, and maintain interactive online and mobile experiences in less time than ever before” Studio 8 includes Dreamweaver 8, Fireworks 8, Flash professional 8 (Including the new flash video encoder), Contribute3 and Flash Paper 2. The full package of Studio 8 is priced at Rs46,200 and the upgrade cost is Rs 18,600. Flash Professional 8 is priced at Rs 32,300 and Fireworks 8 at Rs 13,900. India shipping begins in 2 weeks time. Looking at the catalogue mentioning the new features, it is very clear that Macromedia has strengthened its thrust towards Online Video, Mobile and also towards integrating the workflow of the various products of the Macromedia family. As part of its online video thrust, Flash 8 Professional has added some new high quality video codec, included run time support for alpha video (which could mean tonnes of new ways in which to mix and match video in flash) and Cue embedding for enhanced interactivity. The bundle also includes a stand alone video encoder with batch processing capability and skinnable video playback components to add more fun as well as branding possibilities to the experience of watching flash video. There are also a host of new bitmap related features in this release of Flash which include blend modes, graphic filters (one can add to the library by scripting some more). The Flash Player now includes Bitmap caching which is aimed at reducing render time and the load on the processor. The new release adds custom easing for advanced animation control. Flash has also licensed Flash Type, an improved text rendering technology from Mitsubishi and now boasts of extraordinarily clear text even at small font sizes. While Flash MX 2004 put a lot of power into the hands of programmers, leaving the design community with a challenge to get acquainted with scripting, this release has put back a lot of power and more back to the design community without compromising its actionscript features. In terms of Mobile, Fireworks 8 now includes new interactive design features and new mobile assets for digital asset creation, including the ability to create pop-up menus in the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) format without the need for programming. The new mobile assets give designers and developers a selection of bitmap interface components to jump-start their mock-up efforts while creating mobile interface design Flash 8 includes Flash Lite Specific ActionScript which makes it far simpler to use different versions of the ActionScript language. The new Script Assist feature helps in understanding the syntax used by Flash Lite 1.1 better. The mobile emulators within Flash help in building content once and testing it over a wide variety f devices using preset profiles for every mobile device that supports Flash Lite. Flash Professional 8 will ship with nearly 90 mobile device profiles, and promises to continue to update profiles with every new device that supports Flash Lite. Items that are specific to individual devices, such as screen size, available memory, navigation models, and button configurations will be simulated exactly as they work on all supported phones.