Real-World Ideas: Using Flash Catalyst to Leverage Existing Skills
http://www.afstudio.com/ has been developing web and interactive projects for Adobe, eBay, Intuit, and other tech companies for over a decade, but our core skill set is in the Illustrator/Photoshop area. As much as we would like to be experts in Flash, too, it has always been more efficient for us to hire out our Flash programming work. With Flash Catalyst, we anticipate doing more of the development work for complex interactive projects in-house, spending a smaller portion of the budget on programmers using Flex Builder to enhance our projects. Using Flash Catalyst means less work for our programmers, since much of the interactive work will already be implemented when they receive the files, hopefully leading to less coding and fewer rounds of revisions between programmers and designers. For simpler projects, we expect that Flash Catalyst will allow us to do entire projects in-house that we once would have hired out, because the Flash Catalyst UI is intuitive, easy to use, and similar to the Adobe CS4 programs we're using now.
Following is a comparison of two different afstudio workflows, illustrating situations in which we plan to use Flash Catalyst:
- Simple interactive project: L.J. Kruse Company. We designed this website in 2008. The Flash animation on the home page was created with artwork made in Illustrator, and we paid a Flash programmer for eight hours of programming time. This animation is based on simple transitions and buttons that can now be created in Flash Catalyst for final output to SWF. In this case, we could still design the animation in Illustrator, bringing the layered file into Flash Catalyst. The animation and interactive buttons are all easily implemented with the tools in Flash Catalyst.
- More complex workflow: Intuit Online Payroll for Accounting Professionals. We created this interactive project early in 2009 for Intuit. The UI is a bit more tricky than in the simple interactive project just described. This UI plays FLV files, which isn't a problem, but the button actions and preloaders require more complex programming. We could still create the layout in Illustrator and bring it into Flash Catalyst, which has enough "pre-baked" button functions that we could use them for basic functionality. We would still need to plan on about 15 hours of programming time in Flex Builder to add more of the complex interactivitybut that's about half the time we actually spent on programming the existing version, and we'd also decrease the revision cycles by about half.
In both cases, we expect Flash Catalyst to be a real cost-saver for us.