Sometimes you need Flash, but using the full-fledged editor is like opening a beer with a bulldozer. I Googled it and found a cool product called BannerSnack that lets you make basic Flash animations online. Banners and ads mainly. Quite slick interface as well. The thing is built in Flash, to make Flash. Pretty, how do you say, flashy.
The interface. It’s focused on getting one thing done, which is making usable Flash advertisements. Which is what it does. I didn’t find anythings it couldn’t do that I needed to do to demo some simple ads for work. They typography is decent, importing images is really good and the whole thing runs reasonably fast.
Good icons, layout, little things that matter.
The final product is also as good as I’ve ever gotten out of the full Adobe/Macromedia Flash software. The examples I linked to back there are not genius, but if you have some minimal design sense you can produce something decent.
One annoyance for me was resizing images, and scaling. Normally you hold Shift to scale an image without warping the proportions. In BannerSnack it’s the opposite, the image stays scaled by default and you have to hold shift to warp it. This actually works better, but I didn’t know it and was running around manually calculating proportionS.
Saving was a bit dodgy. It completely got stuck in a spinner once and I didn’t trust it after that. Had to cancel and restart the process a few times. For mission critical projects, this might get scary.
Also, it does cost money. Cleverly, they get you to fully use the program before buying something is even mentioned. You need to spend at least $19 on points to export a usable SWF file (non-watermarked). Which if you’re doing it for a client is whatever. I did check to see if you could sneakily ‘View Source’ and pull an SWF (embed file) out of the preview page they give you. You can’t, or at least I can’t.
Not ugly. Clip Art can be an art.
There’s nothing ugly. It’s a really intuitive interface and even the clip-art they supply is beautiful.
If making Flash banners is an itch you have, this scratches it. Really professional and smart company (SnackTools), they also have other scratchers to make photo slideshows, video playlists, flipbooks, etc. I personally have no need for any of these things, but clients often do.