Review: Edge Animate CC for Dummies
In this article we look at Edge Animate CC for Dummies, by Michael Rohde. Edge Animate is one of the many programs that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. The book is comprised of six sections, which are:
1. Part I: Getting Started with Edge Animate
2. Pat II: Adopting Tools and Techniques
3. Part III: Formatting and Animating
4. Part IV: Putting Your Animation to Use
5. Part V: Creating Sample Projects
6. Part VI: The Part of Tens
We’ll look at some of the highlights of the book in this review.
Before You Get Started
There are a few issues to address before you get started with Edge Animate. It’s important to realize that not all components of HTML5 are compatible with all browsers. This is especially the case with Internet Explorer. You should know that your animations will work with all modern browsers, including IE9, but HTML5 won’t work in IE8 or earlier versions.
One way of getting around this is to create a scaled down version of the animation which is a still image. This will look correct on screen but the animation won’t work. This is a compromise over a broken animation.
Another issue concerns tablets and mobile browsers. It’s well-known that Flash won’t work on these devices. In contrast, your Edge Animate files will work on Apple product and Android as well.
Edge Animate Steps
Here are the steps to creating an animation:
1. Decide how you and your audience will view the animation
2. Collect the necessary images and assets
3. Write an outline (I recommend a storyboard for more detail and working out potential problems, first)
4. Create and save commonly used elements for re-use later
5. Create the animation
6. Save an export your animation
Another important part of the design process is to make create templates, which can significantly reduce design times. You can create a template from an existing file or sections of a current project which you can use later. While the default installation doesn’t have templates, you can download some sample templates from the Adobe website.
One way of gaining more control over an animation is to create Triggers, Actions, Labels and Cursors. Some of these tools allow you to create an animation which allows your audience to participate in what you’re doing.
An option is to use a Stage Trigger. This happens when the animation reaches a certain point on the timeline when you want an event to take place. The screen shot below shows you examples of the options available to you.
A Stage Trigger doesn’t require audience participation; it fires at a given point in the animation. If you want the audience to respond you would need to use an Element Action. This would create an event which requires the viewer to do something, like clicking a mouse to trigger the action.
Creating Sample Projects
On page 247 we get into the meat of the book, which is where the user learns to create projects. There are over sixty pages of content here, covering exercises on opacity, keyframes, loops, making buttons and more.
In the tutorials, once you get past the opening comments, the author gets into the specifics of what to do, but I would have liked to have seen see specific instructions. Sometimes the author refers to another chapter for information, but that breaks up the lesson flow. The tutorials don’t stand alone as a quick start way of learning, which I had hoped to see. Also, I didn’t see any reference to lesson files that one could download to check their progress. That would have really helped.
Presumably those might be located at the following link (in the book) for more content: http://www.dummies.com/extras/adobeedgeanimatecc. Unfortunately, the link doesn’t work. A search on the Wiley website revealed the following page: http://ca.dummies.com/store/product/Adobe-Edge-Animate-CC-For-Dummies.productCd-1118335929.html which offers several links to related content at the bottom of the page, but I didn’t see any information about the extras, so I have no idea what they were.
Overall, I liked the layout of the book and the attention to detail of the various chapters but I wasn’t happy with the beginnings to each tutorial. I felt they lacked detail, which is important when you want to learn a software program.
My biggest problem with the book has to do with the screen shots. All of them were in grayscale and some (such screen shots of the entire interface) were difficult to see, even with strong light, which was frustrating. More often than not, the contrast was poor, which made the problem worse.
It would have made a huge difference if the images were in color and larger on the page. This would have driven up the cost but it would have made the book more effective. Another way of handling the problem would be to create zoomed in sections of the most important details.
I had hoped that there would be downloadable screen shots that I could access on the Wiley site which I could expand on my monitor, but those weren’t available.
Still, there is an alternative. You can buy this book as a PDF and within your reader software you should be able to scale the images. This might solve the screen shot details problem.