WPDFD Issue #36 - March 01, 2001

Mega List

Hot New Products News of the latest new products for Web designers - with a particular emphasis on Web graphics - as usual!. Adobe Photoshop Elements New cut-down version of Photoshop to replace Photoshop LE at $99. If the full blown Photoshop is just too intimidating (or expensive) for you, this could be just what you need. Eye Candy 4000 If push-button effects are your thing, then look no further.

With Web graphic file formats, you can't go far wrong. You choose from GIF or JPEG, depending on your subject, and you can be pretty certain that your audience will see what you expect. With audio, it's a different story entirely. Web audio has always suffered from serious bandwidth problems. Sound files are big! Ok, you can trade off sound quality for file size like you can with JPEG pictures, a squeaky sound effect doesn't need to be high fidelity and even human speech is perfectly acceptable within a very low quality audio environment.

To start with, your audio should be digitised in .AIF or .WAV format. These are the two most common formats, but Flash also accepts SoundDesigner II files if you have ProTools or some other high-end audio system that supports that file format. It will also accept QuickTime Audio, Sun AU and MP3, but it is best to start with the highest possible quality original. If you are starting the sound in the first frame, try to allow half a second or so of silence at the beginning of your audio file.

Swift3D

Where Flash works just fine for two dimensional animation, the third dimension is elusive - at the moment. You can create pseudo-depth using layers and object sizes, but creating convincing three dimensional objects needs a little help from outside. Enter, Swift3D. Swift3d is an easy to use 3D modelling package that works with vector graphics and outputs .SWF files - (plus sequential .AI (Adobe Illustrator) and .EPS).

DocType declarations

Every Web page should start off with a DocType declaration to tell the browser how to handle the HTML (or other markup language). At the top of the source code of this page is:- <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> which says that the page conforms to HTML Version 4.0. The terms 'Transitional' and 'loose' means that it is not strictly HTML 4.0 compliant as it still uses some tags that are perfectly acceptable to current browsers, but might not be in the future.