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Generation Next Advertising

Websites, such as Weather.com, CNet, and CNN are now integrating multimedia into their ads. Commercials are rich with animation, interaction, and presentation, for example, the Scifi.com website (see Figure 3). Gone are the days that "Click Here" sent you to some mysterious website in the middle of the Internet. Now, ads let you play games, interact, and "experience" a brand.

Figure 3Figure 3 Multimedia integrated into websites.

This is all being done because of the strong support for Macromedia Flash, the little multimedia plugin that could.

Why Flash?

Flash is the center for the new online ad revolution. With it you can create complex animation that is interspersed with intelligent interaction that rivals CD-ROM.

The bottom line with Flash is that it was developed first and foremost to create rich multimedia experiences over the Internet. This was back in 1995 when most of us were going nuts over our latest 28.8 Kbps modem.

The heart of Flash is animation created with Vector graphics (these differ from the Raster, or bitmap, graphics you find with JPEG and GIF images). A Vector image is created with mathematical coordinates that a translator interprets. In this case, the translator is the Flash Player that is downloaded as a plugin to your Web browser.

Converting an image to mathematical coordinates makes the image very small in file size. Typically a Flash Movie is much smaller than a JPEG or GIF file. This is especially true of animated GIFs, because the file size increases with longer animations. This is why most GIF animations are comprised of 15 frames or less — the result is very jerky and, frankly, annoying.

Macromedia Flash delivers a rich media, web-centric solution. That is, small files that look like a cable commercial that can be delivered across a dial-up modem.

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