Wildform Wild fx

by Joe Gillespie — Jun 1, 2003

Wildform SWfx was great fun, if somewhat limited. It could take a line of text that was typed-in, turn it into a typographic pyrotechnics display and output it as a Flash .SWF file. I've used it for banner ads and for quick 'n' easy online birthday cards. Apart from choosing the typeface, size and colour, all the effects were presets that had already been programmed. Admittedly, there were a lot of them and it made the program very easy to use but I often wished I had a bit more control of the process.

Slightly renamed as Wildform Wild fx, the program has now become considerably more versatile. It still has hundreds of presets but the interface has undergone a major revamp and now offers a more workmanlike window with tabs to give control over the typography, SWF output, HTML output and a special 'Customize' tab that lets you alter individual parameters of some of the presets and save them as new effects.

The Main tab gives more control over the type specifications than previously, adding line spacing, various horizontal and vertical alignments and separate stroke and fill. In addition to the usual solid, linear and radial gradient fills, you can also use a GIF or JPEG image, opening-up some interesting possibilities.

The SWF tab controls how the movie starts and stops and whether it loops or not. If you want to use a Wild fx movie inside a Flash file, there are certain restrictions. If you use the Flash 3 compatible effects, they can be imported directly into a Flash timeline but Flash 4 and above effects can only be linked-to as complete, separate movies and are not editable within Flash itself.

The Customize tab shows the alterable parameters within the selected effects, so you can change the effect colour, scale and timing separately from that of the main input text.

HTML output is like publishing as HTML in Flash and gives control over the look of the Web page. More importantly, it lets you set the output quality. If you want to switch-off anti-aliasing for instance, output as 'Low' quality and the animation will run more smoothly at higher frame rates because there is less work for the processor to do.

So, now you have the choice of just using the preset effects or tweaking them. The improved typographic control is a huge improvement over SWfx and the ability to import images as backgrounds or as letter-fills increases the scope significantly.

On the downside, you have to be careful of file sizes. Some of the effects can result in rather large Flash movies if you're not careful.

Wildform Wild fx
Features red bar85%
Ease of Use yellow bar75%
Value for Money green bar85%
'Must Have' Factor blue bar80%
Manufacturer Wildform
Price $39 (PC and Mac)
Summary Quick and easy text effects.
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