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Adobe Releases Public Beta of Flash Player 10

Most of the recent significant news surrounding Flash has related to video, including support for H.264 in version 9 of the Flash Player and a host of digital rights management features added to the Flash Media Server family. With the beta version of Flash Player 10 (code named "Astro"), Adobe is in part returning to Flash’s roots as a flexible design environment that happens to include video. I was briefed by Adobe a couple of nights ago; here are the highlights.

The most significant new eye candy was native 3D effects, which Adobe showed in the context of an online cell phone store (see Figure 1 below). The phones spun around in a 3D circle while still retaining full interactivity. Motion was directed by simple rotational and similar commands which should make them very easy to implement, and in the context of an online store, very attractive and interesting to shoppers.

Figure 1
Figure 1. The new version of Adobe Flash Player introduces native 3D effects.

Adobe also showed the ability to apply custom effects in real time to any Flash object, including video. In the demo, Adobe showed video being swirled around in real time, again, while retaining full interactivity (see Figure 2 below). Developers can use the free Adobe Pixel Blender toolkit, formerly used solely as a development tool for After Effects, to create their own filters, blend modes and fills. While the commercial application for such a capability was less obvious than 3D, the effect was undeniably cool.

Figure 2
Figure 2. Flash Player 10 allows the application of custom effects in real time to any Flash object, including video.

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