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FITC 2011 Amsterdam

Now in its eighth year, Flash in the Can (FITC) is an event where design and technology mix, with professionals working in the overlapping field showcasing their latest work.

This year’s edition was organized in a different location than the previous one. That's a bit of a mixed bag: the new location is bigger, more modern and the seats are more comfortable—but it's far from the city center and made it less special than the few-centuries-old Felix Meritis building located at a beautiful canal in the heart of Amsterdam.

The schedule was such that there are four presentations (five, really, if you count the voodoo lounge happening at the same time). Big name presenters included Adobe, BERG and GMUNK.

Adobe's keynote started with lots of HTML5 talk and how some of the Flash coders and designers drive the HTML scene. The company showed some ideas they had to keep up with the HTML market.

One of them is a tool codenamed "Wallaby"; what it does is convert Flash files to HTML pages. For now it's limited to simple banners and animations but it's already available from Adobe labs page.

I think it's a good idea as HTML is terrible to work with because of lack of good tools. That's exactly where Adobe's second tool, codenamed “Edge”, tries to fill the void. Edge is meant for creating animations and transitions for HTML5.

Then Adobe talked about video, web, and how it's good to play them on Flash as it supports many codes including H264 and WebM. Browsers tend to be rather fussy about the codes and it’s currently impossible to encode video to be played on all of them at once.

The latest Flash player accelerates video playback by the use of the GPU (the videocard), which reduces the CPU (the main processor) usage by 85%. Adobe also introduced new technologies coming to next version of the Flash player that will allow the native use of a computer’s GPU for 3D rendering. This will bring console like 3D to the web, Adobe claimed.

The company showed off some really impressive looking 3D games running in the browser, some of which were quickly ported from Nintendo Wii and Sony PSP while others were made especially for the new Flash.OK, that's enough Adobe for one day.

The really big attention grabber of this year's event was GMUNK and his work on the visuals for the movie Tron: Legacy. The visuals in Tron were really stunning, and it’s awesome to get an insight into the creative process and development of a project of this scale.

For each design task, a “Generative art" application was created, and with its help, the designer could generate tons of stunning visuals and tweak every aspect of it in real-time. GMUNK’s presentation was really enthusiastic and upbeat—this was not only the most impressive but also the most fun one to attend.

Other presentations ranged from conceptual to technical, informative to aesthetics. Some presenters talked about the challenges for designing content on emerging devices like tablets.

I was very impressed by the presentations of Matt Webb and Carlos Ulloa. Matt presented lots of fantastically cool ideas for products and his vision of the future, while Carlos showed his four latest projects and explained how he made them with such detail.

All and all it was a great conference filled with inspirational, passionate and hardworking speakers. After FITC I felt inspired enough to go home and make something beautiful just for the sake of it. And that's exactly what conferences are for, aren’t they?

This event was attended by TAXI Editorial Correspondent.

Mark Barcinski is an award-winning Flash artist, currently based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. As an active member of the interactive design community, he has been developing engaging experiences for over 10 years, with global commercial projects and diverse personal works. Mark also co-founded the popular creative agency Barcinski & Jeanjean and is a contributor to the development of opensource software such as Papervision3D.
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