Swish

by Joe Gillespie — Jun 1, 2000
Swish Logo

Swish is a little program written by David Michie in Australia that generates text effects in Flash .swf format.

If you tried to produce these effects with the Flash application itself, you could - eventually. But the amount of work you would have to do to, say, simulate an exploding word and calculate the effect of gravity and spin factors on each letter, would be formidable, to say the least.

With Swish, you simply enter a line of text and choose one of the effects from a menu. The program then does all the calculations and builds a series of frames for the animation.

Using layers, you can then add further lines of text and go into the timeline window to alter the animation length. Having selected any particular timeline, you can then open a dialog box which allows you to change many parameters for each effect - the strength of gravity, maximum and minimum sizes, transparency of letters. Making text slide, zoom and spin is very easy but then there are even more possibilities like the typewriting, complete with moving cursor, various wave effects and the previously mentioned 'exploding' text, which can also be used in reverse to great effect.

You don't actually need the Flash application to make your own text animations, Swish is a standalone program, but if you do have Flash, you can import Swish's .swf files into your own Flash creations although, as the instructions point out, the text effects lose their layers and become difficult to edit in Flash.

This is the first version of Swish and as such has its limitations. I couldn't help thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice if it would …" and David assures me that he has plans for many new features in the wings - and a Mac version.

You can download a trial version of Swish that is fully functional and preview your effects in a browser, but until you pay the registration fee, it saves the text in a jumbled-up manner. The only concern I have about Swish is, that if you pull out all the stops and have exploding, waving type everywhere, it can produce some very large files. Used with restraint, it can produce some great animated text effects in a blink of an eye.

Swish
Features 85%
Ease of Use 95%
Value for Money 95%
'Must Have' factor
Manufacturer David Michie - Swishzone.com
Price $30 for Windows (Mac version in development)
Summary Quick and easy Flash text effects.
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