I was thinking it was about time I mentioned a great tool I used recently - I used it to create the HTML header animation on this website, replacing a Flash version showing a steam train chugging away under a lovely blue sky.... ahhh. Not being sure whether I could achieve the same effect as the Flash version, I looked at various options, discarded the Adobe offering, and ended up trying a trial version of Hippo Animator. I was mightily pleased with the result and felt that I should write a review one day...

This being the day, I fired up the old Hippo. Thinking I may as well review the latest version, I was surprised to find the update link lead to a dead webpage. Surprise became concern as every other link on the site returned an error of some sort.

If Hippo has floundered its a shame as it made CSS and HTML5 animations almost as easy to create as Flash used to be. And its results were very good... So hopefully its just a glitch and Hippo will resurface soon. If it does I'll write the review that this was meant to be...

 

EDIT - one day later...

OK, so they were changing servers. They haven't disappeared and here's the 'review'. But first, an interesting development over Adobe's way brings to mind what I alluded to above - the dislike I have of their new cloud based subscription model. Today it was revealed that their servers were hacked, any many people who are tied into keeping ongoing accounts with them to keep their software licensed have had their details nicked. Not great.

So Hippo Animator... what is it? Basically its a timeline based java and css animation tool, allowing the keyframing of various object properties such as rotation, opacity, scale etc. It includes easing presets, and supports nested timelines - so movies within movies. Its incredibly easy to get into, most of what I wanted to do I quickly figured out without any help files. In fact, although the interface is a bit Fisher Price, in some ways its actually nicer to use than Flash, so natch Adobe...

What really makes Animator great is its support for older browsers, it'll even degrade as far as IE6! Unlike edge which only supports the latest browser technology. Animator includes other features such as custom java scripting, allowing rich interactivity with exported movies, ability to create slideshows within the app, video embedding, drawing tools... and quite a bit more. It imports SVG files (which can be created in illustrator) for 100% scalable graphics and low filesizes, as well as allowing the use of PNGs with transparency for richer image options.

Downsides? None yet for me. Admittedly I haven't power used it for an extended period, but so far it seems like it does everything I would want it to do without crashing, glitching or just refusing. You can download a trial copy here.[launch_button link='http://www.hippostudios.co/?S=Animator&P=AnimatorDownload&Affiliate=AF14']Download Animator Trial[/launch_button]

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