Free magazines

You may have noticed a new and growing category on the MyClone sidebar links — “magazines”. The free ones are…

Animations Online

3D Creative (partly free “Lite” version)

Animation World Magazine (advert screen at entry point, otherwise free)

BlenderArt

CG Arena (free registration required)

Editors’ Guild Magazine

Fallopian (machinima magazine)

FLIP

FRAMESperSECOND

Perspective: magazine of the art directors’ guild

Videomaker (hardcore camera nerds, but they know a thing or three about getting video online)

Steve Jobs, Flash-killer?

I’m no expert, but I thought that Steve Jobs’ recent declared desire to kill off Flash (and thus Flash animation) had a certain point to it, this time around. Even as a long-time Windows groupie, I though… yes. Flash is annoying enough for me to have an always-on Flash-blocker in my browser. It can be a security and privacy risk. There are better video codecs now than the one Adobe licensed from Sorenson years ago, and YouTube is already working with HTML5.

Sure there are a few excellent interactive storytelling games and interesting experiments in Flash. But they sit atop a 99.99% pile of undemanding and fleeting dross — made by underpaid teen animators skinning canned templates to target puzzle-moms, gambling addicts, bored toddlers, and unwilling audiences for animated porno adverts.

Then I thought about Jobs’ vague claim to want HTML5 because of open standards for creativity etc — but I dismissed that in about three seconds. Apple is one of the most closed-product control-freak companies I can think of. Jobs detests “open” and sees it as a threat, and especially so if it’s underwritten by companies like Google. Then it hit me. Is Jobs still bearing grudges against Microsoft, and thus bitterly resenting Adobe’s focus on Windows? If so then I’m guessing his real twisted hope may be that HTML5 will kill off Microsoft’s Flash-killer Silverlight, at the same time as killing off Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR. HTML5 would thus simultaneously whack Microsoft and seriously weaken Adobe’s finances — maybe enough that in a few years Apple can buy Adobe. Apple could then end up with the crown jewels of Photoshop, Acrobat etc, and would finally be able to dictate that the Mac get development priority over Windows.

But Apple pulling off such a Microsoft “double-whammie” simply via pushing HTML5 seems a somewhat unlikely scenario. About as unlikely as unwilling animators being forced to become hardcore javascript coders in the rush to HTML5. Dedicated narrative-based animation packages like ToonBoom, Anime Studio etc already have serious traction and will simply add a HTML5 output module when it’s viable to do so. The Flash authoring software itself may well offer HTML5 export, or else a third-party plugin will. Yes, there are fears of cross-browser / browser-version scripting conflicts with HTML5. But we’ve seen this issue robustly tackled by Dreamweaver and others in recent years, so I doubt that’ll be the sort of stumbling block it was perceived to be for DHTML circa 1997.

The real problem for animators with HTML5 might be that we may no longer have the security of holding on tightly to our belovedly-secret .fla source code files, if anyone who knows how to “view source” in a web browser can figure out how a HTML5 animation was made and grab the code. Animation suites could output encrypted core .js files for HMTL5 — but it’ll only take a Russian cracker or two to break that protection, and the game is quite literally up (…on Pirate Bay).