One of the most popular animation tools and environments in the early days of web enrichment was Macromedia Flash—later bought by Adobe Systems. However there is a history to Flash that predates Macromedia. Its’ initial development was the product of Jonathan Gay, trading as FutureWave. Their product was called “Future Splash Animator” which became FLASH after Macromedia acquired it ( http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/the_flash_history/ ).
Adobe Animate is Adobe Flash rebranded and upgraded for compliance with HTML5 and today’s new mobile devices. However “Flash” is Adobe’s generic brand which contained a Flash Editor, a Flash player and a Flash IDE application. Over the years Flash became popular, but also notorious for instability and security weakness. However this stigma really only applied to the Flash Player, but as Adobe never promoted the separate applications within the group as individual entities, the public just associated this stigma with the name Flash (http://thehackernews.com/2015/12/adobe-flash-animate-cc.html).
With Flash, a Flash video player app or browser extension was required to run flash files. The app was not available for newer devices created by Apple and conflicted with HTML5 standards in new browsers for quite some time as the HTML5 standard slowly gained momentum (http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2015/12/flash-is-dead-long-live-adobe-animate-cc/).
Flash was an excellent 2D animation production application, which later made some progress into 3D, or more correctly 2.5D—the introduction of z-axis rotation through movieclip tools.
Today ‘ANIMATE’ represents the editor part of the old Flash suite. Adobe is attempting to disassociate it from the stigma plagued FLASH identity that was solely attributed to the FLASH PLAYER—but the general public were not aware of this and probably not interested either. This knowledge was more in the realm of the animation producers, rather than the consumers.
Of course Animate can output (publish) the .swf files among others, that only the Flash player can run, but it can also output files compliant with new operating systems being developed for mobile technology, including Apple products and HTML5 compliant browsers (http://www.slashgear.com/flash-professional-is-dead-long-live-adobe-animate-cc-09426132/).
Animation artists will be happy to know Animate can now output its movies as .js files where the target platform is HTML5 compliant browsers or “can migrate existing content within Animate to generate a HTML5 output. To this end, Animate allows producers to migrate content by manually copying or importing individual layers, symbols, and other library items, alternatively, you could run the Convert AS3 to HTML5 Canvas document command to automatically port existing ActionScript content to a new HTML5 Canvas document” (https://helpx.adobe.com/animate/using/creating-publishing-html5-canvas-document.html).
So for 2D animation artists, the popular development environment lives on. It is interesting that Adobe brought out a new animation product called Adobe Edge when Flash was waning, but now that they have revived Flash under the new branding of Animate, Edge is no longer being developed any further. Adobe is trying to separate Animate from Flash for marketing purposes and should be able to justify this separation by separating the editing Application from the old stigma ridden Flash player application. The Flash player is still being supported but this could be just for backward compatibility. The future of players seems to be browser’s, of which Adobe does not offer any. So the best component of Flash—the animation production application, is now Animate and the weakest (Flash video player) has been separated in marketing and will probably fade away as browsers take over this role.
CC BY 2016. Researched and written by Gavin Lardner.