Reasons to be Creative: Day 3

September 7th, 2012 by Slav

Wednesday started with Gimme5, ( a.k.a. former elevator Pitch)

Twelve speakers: Anders Figenschow, Adam Onishi, Tom Platten-Higgins, Tim Murray-Browne, Reece Millidge, Luke Whittaker, Maikel Sibbald, Mark Skinner, Matt Stuttard Parker, Emre Koc,  Pete Hotchkin, Jean-Marc Le Roux.

Each of them allowed to speak for 5 minutes only.  Speakers were mostly introducing personal projects or sharing some workflows or experiences, some of them really interesting ones. It was great to see what other creative people are working on and getting inspired!

Next session I went to was with Simon Widajaja..

His talk was dedicated to Adobe Edge (now called Edge Animate).  Like most of the people I too played with early previews , and like most of the people I too gave up on it, as it was quite simple and primitive tool at the time, reminiscent of Flash 3 or 4. Since those times it came a long way and it looks like it’s becoming quite a capable tool for visual HTML5 authoring, motion design and animation. It’s very expendable and Simon wrote a couple of extensions for it that can be found at Edge Commons. These extensions offer support for stuff such as:

  • Advanced Logging (different levels, log group and additional log targets)
  • Configuration (external or internal Configuration layer)
  • Script Loader (JavaScript and CSS with simple callback)
  • Sound (integration of CreateJS/SoundJS by Grant Skinner)
  • Adaptive Layouts (Different Layouts for different Sizes)
  • Data Injection (inject Data from HTML into the Edge composition)
  • Drupal Module to load Edge compositions and inject data easily (by Timm Jansen)

Simon demonstrated how Edge can be used to easily animate elements on the existing site, how you can implement flexible layouts for a website that needs to resize for a different device sizes. Although current Edge version doesn’t support media queries he has written extension that does. Another nice feature he demonstrated was support for item renderers. If you haven’t played with the latest release, I recommend you definitely give it a try!

Martin Beeby was next in Pavilion

Martin is from Microsoft and talked about new Window 8 and Windows Marketplace coming this October. More importantly he showed us how easy is to build a new Metro apps with javascript for a market reaching around 600 million potential customers. There are great similarities with apple with what their doing regarding their marketplace.

To develop apps for the store, you will need to have a developer’s membership licence (should cost around £35 per annum) , there will be an approval process, but (unlike with Apple ) there will be a testing tool available for download that the store itself will use for QA, so you can test you app forehand and check if it is eligible. Quite flexible licensing policies as well (see slide above)..

You can download the building tools for free : Visual Studio Express 2012 for your coding needs, designers will have Blend for Visual Studio for more visual way to build and fine-tune. The main resource for window apps developers is available at : dev.windows.com and for designers at design.windows.com.

When building these apps for windows store, you can use variety of languages such as C, C++, C#, Visual Basic but also Javascript.

It is fairly easy to build basic apps using JS, the tools are a great help, the part that connects your app to system is a special javascript library that exposes OS layer capabilities.

Great thing about building these windows store apps is the environment – which will stay the same, (so there’s no need to optimise for different browsers), performance , even with javascript is amazing – identical to native apps.

Johanna Kollmann

She shared some interesting ideas of how to create environments in which the creative collaboration is supported, some of them very simple but effective.

For example, if we do changes in postures it may promote the shift of the focus in mind. Or a moving body could mean a moving mind – this can translate to: ” better thinking while walking”.  The environment in which we have our meeting is also important. There are some sitting schemes that promote the hierarchy (one seat is more important the other). In our ancient history we used to sit around camp fire and shared stories. Recreating this can help sharing, all you need is to create a circular seating arrangement in which everybody will be on the similar eye level and perhaps some focal point (“fire”) in the middle.

Grant Skinner

Grant talked about the Atari Retro games project. It was a great insight into a mature’s company workflow for producing the highest quality html games and a website.

Some things I’ve learned:

  • teach your clients to use bug trackers, it will save you a lot of time and a headache in the long run
  • if you’re doing multiplayer game, use authoritative server (i.e. one server that all clients connect to and has all of the control over game data)
  • JS frameworks used for this project :  jQery, Backbone, Underscore, Modernizr for the website, CreateJS toolkit libraries for all the games.
  • you can use  IcoMoon to convert your vectors into a glyphs (letters of a font), hence be able to use vectors in your game
  • nice way to create sprite sheets is to use Zoë and flash, plus a JSFL script that makes it possible to have your animations in nested timelines!
  • use compression parameter on http headers to reduce the filesize of the images you’re sending to the browser
  • to drastically reduce sprite sheet filesize while keeping full alpha channel use ImageAlpha tool. (mac)
  • use CodeKit to write “object oriented css” using sass/less (mac)

Conclusion

Reasons to be creative is a great conference to visit whether you are a designer or a developer or a creative technologist or other kind of hybrids. With so many sessions going on, there’s always something to choose from. With the daily work stress and a big workloads it is easy to be submerged inside your world, working on the same kind of projects, using the same kind of approaches and same kind of tools. This conference offers a change to resurface for a breath of a fresh air, and a nice vista of what’s present above the surface and what lies ahead. To see where others are and what are they doing, how are they doing it as well. Will be back next year if I can!

Posted in Personal

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