Posted by: Benoit Dubuc | 2010/10/11

For the “graphic software” impaired developers

I have to admit I am not bad with Corel PhotoPaint, the Corel version of Photoshop (no, no comparison between the two products please!).  I have been a Corel user since Corel Draw 1.2 and I just kept using the Corel suite, being too lazy to get acquainted to the Adobe suite.  So creating backgrounds or manipulating existing graphics is not a problem.  I used to do mock ups in Corel Draw but since I got my hands on Balsamiq Mockups, I just can’t use no other software than that very cool Adobe Air application.  Where I had major limitations was when I was asked to do Flash animations for web sites or presentation.  Never really got into Flash… until now.

Well, I’m not an expert still, but the current web site I’m working on required a Flash header and some image galleries.  Nice presentation is really important for that site as it is a house contractor and my buddy wants his site to like really nice.  I could have used Lightbox or any of the zillion JavaScript image galleries available, but I planned on using a few different techniques: rotating banner, image gallery, accordion style images rotation and a few others.  I started thinking I was way over my head with this site as I am a developer Jim, not a computer graphic artist.

But then , and this is what I want to share, I found a bunch of very cool and very well done Flash components and a Flash add-on that proposes high quality and high variety of pre-built animations.  Both of these “tools” supply a lot of free components and a very cheap price if you want to go for the full blown license.  Here are the sites in question:

Flash XML: they provide pre-built Flash components that are configurable through XML files.  With the “basic components” that are free to use, you get controls that are very high quality and a lot of customization possibilities.

FlashEff2: These guys offer a lot of Flash animations.  I mean a LOT: over 3000 possibilities.  They cover object (symbol) animations and text animations as well.  For headers, adds or business presentations, this is just great.

Now these alone won’t make you full fledged computer graphic artists but they will surely help you spending less time building nice looking UIs for some sites.  These components don’t cover all the needs a business application requires, but if you have needs for such components, these two sites represent excellent choices for high quality and free resources.

It is not often freebies are of excellent quality, but these are for sure and they are worth a look.  Why reinvent the wheel when you have Dunlop, Pirelli or Michelin already have wheels that will fit your need!

A big thanks to these two companies for making their great products available for free





  1. Careful with the flashy stuff. Your house contractor friend might not reach potential customers who use iPhone or iPad. Does he really want to be blank for these customers?

    • Stephan,

      we actually discussed that matter and currently, with my limited HTML knowledge and time frame to deliver, it just wasn’t possible to make an “iPhone” site just yet.

      In addition, how many people will actually shop for a house on their phone? iPad I can understand, and these guys probably have to go to their PC/Mac for a bunch of sites as we speak.

      But thanks for mentioning it!

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