One of the great things about the Flash Forward 2000 conference was sitting back and talking to the people who are developing the tools that are changing the face of the web. David Mitchie is one of them. I spent a little time with David and we talked about his product SWiSH. SWiSH is a standalone tool that creates great font effects and more - emphasis on the "more" part.
SWiSH can enable you to create buttons and banners in the program itself, or you can create a .SWF for importing into Flash for fast font effects. The aformentioned "more" part is what will be coming up in the future for this product. David hopes to release an update in May that will allow the use of images. This added functionality will give you more creativity in designing banners and navigation systems.
He also expressed that future plans included support for many of the features in Flash today including scripting, movie clips, audio, vector images and rollover buttons. What makes SWiSH attractive is the sticker price. Currently SWiSH has a US $30 price tag, with minor updates like the one in May being free. Major updates (from Version 1.X to 2.0) would be around US $10. This is a big difference in the price of Flash at a whopping US $275 at www.cdw.com, giving the little guy easy access to the .SWF game.
What can I do with it now?
Text effects to the max! Right now you can use the product to speed up productivity. I don't know about you but spending all afternoon breaking text up and making keyframes and hand tweening is not my idea of creativity. This little tool rocks for getting the job done. You can control all the various attributes of each letter and just click preview. In less than five minutes after installing the software you can be producing real content for your sites. I've heard all the arguments about how all the effects will "look a like". The fact of the matter is, just like television and print there are certain things that are "industry standard" and considered professional level. This tool allows you to produce your sites with that level of expertise.
I want to see it work
Easy enough, just go to the site and down load the trial version. It will scramble text when you export to SWF until you get a key but you can play with it to see what its like. We've taken a screen shot so you could see the interface and below that are a few examples of the output from the SWiSH producer. These samples were created in less than 15 minutes.
Will SWiSH work in Mac?
Currently no, but they are looking into creating a version for the Mac. Right now it is a Windows 95+/NT/2000 only product. However you can create the files on a PC and use the .SWFs produced on the Mac. This means you could create standard clips for your files and use them in your libraries.
- Windows 95/98/2000/NT4/
- Pentium 100 or better
- 32Mb of RAM
- 256 color display or better
Swish does NOT require Flash to be installed.
Should I buy this product?
If you have a busy office and you need to get the job done. Yes this product is for you. If you truly want to spend your Saturday afternoons breaking up text and are in to hand tweening, stay away. This product is definitely one to watch as it is set to improve from here on in.
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