For users who want work seamlessly with both vectors and bitmaps for Web animation, Beatware has announced version 2.0 of its e-Picture authoring environment. Animations created in the application can be exported in both standard Web animation formats (including Flash, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and animated GIF) and as video files (such as QuickTime, RealNetworks G2 and AVI).
Version 2.0 adds a number of new features: including improved functionality for non-linear animation and new tools for working with 3D graphics within 2D images. This allows 3D objects to be imported into these images or to extrude text from 2D Web graphics. Also added are abilities to tween 3D objects (producing animated motion by selecting start and end points and leaving the application to fill in the rest), to tween along non-linear paths and to produce accelerated motion. This allows objects to move in any direction at any velocity without many motions having to be set up.
Graphics created in Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand can now be imported directly into e-Picture, as can materials from TWAIN-compliant peripherals (such as scanners and digital cameras. All of these additions have been built on e-Picture’s central design metaphor, which attempts to get away from the traditional layered approach of most other animation packages. E-Picture uses a single layer, with tweening used to animate all of the elements in a piece.
e-Picture 2.0 should be released sometime in the spring through Beatware’s website, and costs around £110.