COMPUTER CORNER

Reviewed by
Bill Gillespie and Rosemary McDowall

With the Department recently signing a new deal with Adobe we thought we would have a look at one of the new products that have become available to schools, Adobe Edge Animate. What is Edge Animate? It’s a motion and interaction tool for creating animated, interactive content using HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), JavaScript, and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The best way we would describe it is to think of it as a cross between Flash Professional with a dash of After Effects and an ability to modify code like Dreamweaver. Unlike Flash, Adobe Edge Animate outputs to HTML 5 and not the priority swf format so content can be read on both Mac and PC platforms without a plug-in.

Once you open Edge Animate, users of Flash Professional will immediately recognise the interface with a few noteworthy additions. First-time users might look at the layout and feel a little overwhelmed but Adobe has thoughtfully created a series of tutorials built into the product. The tutorials take you through all aspects of the program so that you will be up and running in no time — it should be a huge timesaver for teachers looking to implement the program in their classrooms. We would strongly suggest that all users undertake the tutorials so they gain a strong understanding of the program features.

We started with the tutorials and within literally two minutes had created our first animation.

Edge Animate, like Flash, allows you to create content using the drawing and text tools. Additionally it allows you to add motion to existing HTML documents. The program features a WebKit-based design surface and an intuitive timeline. You can animate HTML elements such as text and images (including SVG format) by modifying their visual properties in conjunction with the timeline. Edge Animate includes interactivity features such as looping, hyperlinks and animation control.

It is easy to think that this is a simple animation program; once you scratch the surface, however, Edge Animate is a powerful yet easy-to-use piece of software. As an example, you can easily animate elements along fully customisable, fine-grain motion paths for highly expressive movements. You can also apply easing functions and use motion paths in resizable layouts. You can create custom templates for quicker access to reusable assets, which can save time when you are working on repetitive projects.

Like Flash, you can use the symbols feature to create nested animations with independent timelines and interactive capabilities. Symbols are reusable and can be controlled via pre-built code snippets and APIs (Application Program Interface). You can add depth to your work by integrating user interaction and playback control to your animations by simply tapping into a built-in code snippet library, or you can add your own JavaScript code using the code editor.

Content created with Edge Animate is designed to work reliably on iOS and Android devices as well as in modern browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer 9+. Edge Animate is available on both Mac OS and Windows.

Software reviewed by Rosemary McDowall and Bill Gillespie. Bill teaches at Elanora Heights PS and Rosemary at The Forest HS. They can be contacted at computer_corner2000@yahoo.com Bill is an Adobe Education Leader.