Everybody's out to ...

Everybody's out to ...

Steve Jobs once declared that over half the crash reports they received from Apple Macs running Mac OSX were caused by the Flash plug-in. Apple have never supported the Flash plug-in on iOS, citing it as buggy and a huge battery drain. Other smart phone manufacturers tried to exploit Apple's stance to sell Flash-enabled Android tablets (this was at the height of the Farmville epidemic) but the plug-in was as troubled as Jobs predicted and is no longer common on tablets or phones. Developers wanting their games and animations to work on iPads, iPods and iPhones and indeed Android have moved away from the Flash format to a combination of HTML5 + CSS3. Flash video (.flv) is being replaced by the H264 format.

After a difficult transition due to a lack of authoring tools and poor HTML5/CSS3 support in some browsers (ahem, Explorer) we have reached the point where the browsers and tools are mature.

Firefox and Facebook are now calling for an end to the Adobe Flash plug-in after yet more security issues:


This would be a *very bad thing*. An act of such finality (one suggestion is to set 'kill-bits' to stop the plug-in from working) would deny us access to some wonderful, funny, inventive and inspiring creations. Many 2D animators and games designers have created great things with Flash, as well as not-so-great first experiments and dreadful intro screens to Websites (remember 'skip intro'? Flash design showing off while inhibiting the actual use of the Website became known in the trade as 'Flashturbation'.) Newgrounds.com has examples of good and bad.

The Flash plug in is crucial in delivering interactive training - this example is for a medical device used for feeding patients through a tube directly into their gut.


As an authoring tool, Flash has had a fantastic run since its debut as FutureSplash Animator in May 1996 (rebranded as Flash in December '96 by new owners Macromedia, in turn bought by Adobe in 2005).


Flash was one of the few ways to synchronise sound and character actions during an age when Quicktime and Windows Media Player plug-ins were exceptionally clunky add-ons to browsers such as MS Internet Explorer. Flash has its own straightforward coding language to allow for interactive buttons and behaviours called ActionScript, which Adobe made very accessible in some versions, with drag-and-drop snippets such as 'Go To ... and Play' which became a popular T-shirt design. 'Pro' users were expected to code from scratch though.

While Flash the authoring package generally improved with new features for animators such as 'bones', it also infuriated some of us by randomly removing in later versions features we loved (such as the very same  'bones' tool they had promoted in an earlier upgrade). In fairness some features were probably dropped during the major recode for CC to make the package 64-bit native and CreativeCloud ready, and 'bones' finally make their welcome return with the CC (2015) release you can try here at My-Animation.

Great as Flash may have been for creating animations and even whole Websites, the plug-in that users have to install to see animations and Flash video has always been an Achilles heel. Adobe has had many years to perfect it, but despite downloading the frequent security + bug fixes, it has remained a vulnerable target for hacks. Moreover we are so accustomed to being required to install a newer version that the most common malware to infect Apple Macs used a Java applet pretending to install a Flash update to install the Flashback trojan instead.

As an authoring tool Flash itself can now export to other formats including HTML5/CSS3 but as the Flash name has become tarnished Adobe is steadily developing Edge Animate as its native HTML5/CSS3 creative tool of choice.

My-Animation are equally happy to guide you to create animation with Flash or Edge Animate - we will have some Edge Animate tutorials here soon! We also recommend you try Anime Studio and Toon Boom before committing your time to a big project.


If you would like to see how I created the drive-by 'GetFlash' animation in Photoshop check back soon or leave a comment below and you will be notified once it's up if you tick the right boxes! If you'd like to use the animated .gif for your own blog or editorial please use our contact page. The original logo is © Adobe.com and this tongue-in-cheek version  Creative Commons License
GetFlash by Jed Gibbs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

One Response to

  1. Jed April 23, 2016 at 4:32 am #

    Adobe rebrands Flash to reposition it for modern Web standards such as HTML5 http://my-animation.co.uk/workshop/adobe-intros-animate-cc/

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