Archive for February, 2015

A look at Adobe Edge Animate

I recently played around a bit with Adobe Edge Animate, as I was searching for an SVG animation tool, and jotted down a few notes on my impression of the editor.

Adobe Edge Animate CC 2014
  • The timeline and visual preview are excellent, it’s refreshing to have something like this available for web animations. I did notice a tendency for the preview to tear and flicker when animating but, overall, it’s a minor annoyance.
  • The output is not cross-platform, the generated code is heavily webkit-based and depends on vendor-prefixed styles (-webkit-filter) for certain effects. It’s cool to see the effect and have them in the editor, but it really doesn’t achieve a “write once, run anywhere” development process.
  • This is not an SVG animation tool. I expected transitions and transformation on SVG elements (groups, paths, etc.), instead what’s generated is CSS3 transitions/transformations on a <div> element (the SVG document is simply put as the background-image of the <div>). This severely limits what can be done. Much richer and expressive animations could be achieved by allowing manipulating the points and control points on individual SVG elements.

It’s disappointing that despite being an incredibly visual medium, most web design tasks are still done by writing linear blocks of code. Animation is a task well suited for a WYSIWYG editor and Edge Animate is ultimately a step in the right direction, but it’s basis on CSS3 transition and transform puts some hard limits on what can be achieved and I can’t see myself using it for anything substantial.