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Animation software collection falls into R-Comp's hands

Published: 9th Apr 2008, 18:56:01 | Permalink | Printable

Iota transfers assets to RISC OS publisher

R-Comp logoRISC OS software publisher R-Comp is taking over development of the Image Animator series and Touch Type from Iota Software with the hope of rolling out new updates as soon as possible. New versions could be shipped as early as April's Wakefield 2008 show, according to R-Comp today.

The packages were originally aimed at the RISC OS market but are now also available for Microsoft Windows users. Image Animator is, as you'd expect, a program that allows people to create simple animations by importing graphics or by drawing straight onto a digital film's frames. Touch Type is a typing tutor package. A more feature-rich version of Image Animator also exists called the Complete Animator.

Iota, which initially developed the programs before quitting the RISC OS scene a while back, voluntarily ceased trading at the end of January this year. Today's announcement marks the transfer of Iota's website, email and other remaining assets into R-Comp's mitts.

In a statement released this evening, R-Comp's Andrew Rawnsley said, "We are pleased to welcome these products into our lineup and hope to release new, updated versions as soon as possible - ideally the Wakefield show later this month.

"We are very excited to be able to update these excellent products."

Andrew added to drobe.co.uk: "Work to make the software 32bit compatible has already started, but there's a lot of assembly code to wade through and some nasty stuff that needs to be made hardware-neutral as well.

"Right now I have 26bit protection-free versions of Complete Animator with mostly 32bit-safe support modules. It doesn't help that the source code seems to be 'work in progress' so it needs to be bug-fixed before it even compiles."

He continued: "Compared to Complete Animator, Image Animator is an older product with significantly fewer features. It is still useful and may be easier to make 32bit compatible. Most people, myself included, tend to confuse the two. Image Animator does, of course, allow the creation of animations but has fewer artistic tools and no support for sound, as far as I can see, unlike the Complete Animator. At this stage, we're still exploring what's there.

"We have both the rights to the RISC OS and Windows versions, so we're hoping to bring some of the later Windows features back into the RISC OS applications where there's a difference."

A timescale for the availability of the software has yet to be confirmed and Andrew said more details will be disclosed once work on the programs has completed. He declined to name the programmer tasked with carrying out said work.


R-Comp website Iota website

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Though sad to hear the news about Iota it is very good to hear once again Rcomp putting their faith in the RISC OS market.

I hope that we have a 32bit neutral version of both packages with perhaps a similar approach to Datapower with a feature rich and lesser version.

Anyway which ever way it would be good to have any update without the current protection method in it.

Well done RComp for siezing the opportunity

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 9/4/08 8:03PM
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Excellent news!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 9/4/08 9:37PM
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We used to use lots of Iota software 10 years' ago when we taught IT with Acorns! Those were the days. It's really good to see that this software has a new home and may get some further developments. Good luck to RComp!

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 10/4/08 10:27PM
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Very good news since this ensures that the apps will continue to be developed and supported... by a company with a good track record for like work!

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 11/4/08 5:16AM
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Now have a StubsG build of TouchType with copy protection disabled. The sound module (TouchTypeSound) still needs to be 32bit-ed but otherwise it seems to be working nicely.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 12/4/08 11:23AM
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Nice to see the software has fallen into the hands of a company that will hopefully develop it more. Unlike others who buy up the software, and think thats enough to charge full price without updating. Well done Andrew & co.

 is a RISC OS User2307 on 13/4/08 7:01PM
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Well, I can't promise miracles, but certainly I'll try and ensure that things get modernised, and made more pleasant to use etc, and brought in line with the Windows versions where practical. From there, who knows!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 13/4/08 11:20PM
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Good news that this software is further developed. So maybe there is the chance that it gets a flash format export one fine day so that we've get a flash animation tool with GUI on RISC OS. Let's hope, let's see ...

 is a RISC OS Usertinopeners on 14/4/08 11:59AM
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Animator is primarily bitmap-based, and already goes easily to animated gif. AFAIK flash is more vector orientated, so might make more sense as an output mode for Artworks or similar. I think there's a draw->flash convertor knocking around. That said, I suspect Flash has competent bitmap handling too, so I guess it isn't impossible!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 14/4/08 1:03PM
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Early tests look like we have 32bit safe talking TouchType :) One down, one to go!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 15/4/08 11:33AM
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In reply to tinopeners:

I don't want a flash animation tool. When I'm browsing on my Mac and see a flash animation loading I immediately click the back button: life's too short to wait for flash animations to load and I don't want them on RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 15/4/08 12:33PM
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Having a tool available on RISC OS to create flash animations would not mean that you would have to watch them. Besides, it would be a flash plugin that would allow you to view them in your browser, not an animation tool. You should disable the plugin if you don't wish to see them. Bear in mind, however, that flash is much more than an animation format. You can create sophisticated applications with it, and I have seen whole websites driven predominantly by flash.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 15/4/08 12:52PM
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Further to my previous message, I think it would probably be premature to create a flash animation tool when we don't even have a decent flash plugin. Being able to view flash would certainly enrich the browsing experience on RISC OS. I'm aware of an open source flash plugin - one that is much closer to the lastest flash spec than the current free plugin for RISC OS - and that someone has already looked into porting this. As usual, it's a question of priorities and limited time. Developers find more essential things to work on, like Netsurf.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 15/4/08 1:02PM
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fylfot: Well, that and 2-4 frames per second on an Iyonix not really being remotely acceptable. That's just raw Flash with no audio playback. Once you add in audio support, you can expect things to be slower. Flash video is another kettle of fish entirely. All of the above is why I've not bothered touching the Gnash port for over a year.

Oh, I guess not having a working RISC OS machine probably has something to do with it, too :)

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 15/4/08 1:17PM
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In reply to fylfot:

Sorry fylfot, I seem to have misled you. I know that people are talking about using this product to create flash animations. I was explaining that I don't want a tool to create flash animations because I hate watching them so much.

I note your point about flash being used for more than animations.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 15/4/08 3:04PM
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Of course, there are thousands of badly designed web pages around the world that make use of Flash, but that's not the fault of Flash, but of the people that use it. I don't think that it is a question of personal dislike of Flash or not. In any case, animations are a powerful tool for teaching, for presentations, and artworks. And Flash - with its ability to both use vector-based graphics and bitmaps is not a too bad format, especially as it is supported by most of the browsers and therefore has a connecting function, such as PDF, for presenting graphics/data across different operating systems and computers. I experimented a lot with the RISC OS draw->flash convertor in former times for small cartoon animations (see [link] or [link]), but this is really extrem hard work and a lot of manual programming effort, if you want to move complex objects ... thus I still dream of a small Flash animation creator for RISC OS, for not beeing forced to use Mac or Windows computers in order to create animations beyond the Gif-Approach :)

 is a RISC OS Usertinopeners on 15/4/08 5:51PM
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Looking at the example on tinopeners' website, it looks the kind of thing that Animator could do quite easily - it allows import of draw (and Artworks, I think) files as frames, and offers in-betweening and so on. Of course, your limitation is that you end up with bitmap frames which would then go to GIF, but since GIFs can usually be progressively rendered, and compress losslessly, it shouldn't be too bad. Indeed, GIF compression usually works nicely on cartoon/vector-style graphics, as opposed to more realistic images. Animator can also generate video files (eg. Replay) which could then be MPEG'd, presumably suitable for youtube (although I've never tried uploading).

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 15/4/08 6:28PM
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Off topic slight - Tinopeners, do you do icon/graphic design for RISC OS apps at all? There's some lovely stuff on your website. Most RISC OS developers are desparate for decent graphics (whether they know it or not!) and whilst I've been fortunate to work with Richard Hallas, I'd love to see some of your skills applied to RISC OS apps!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 15/4/08 6:32PM
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Also off topic slight - oops, you "caught me"; yes I would do icon/graphic design for an interesting RISC OS app, in principle - it's more a problem of time, because I'm invloved into much too many projects (music, comics, painting, drawing, working for money), thus I could only contribute, if I get enough time to design for an app :)

Regarding your comment about Animator and cartoon-style animations: good news, I look forward to use it on my Iyonix one fine day, especially such features as in-betweening :) Is there any page on the internet with a more detailed description of the Animator's features, or should I simply wait for the release under R-Comp's flag?

 is a RISC OS Usertinopeners on 15/4/08 8:06PM
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www.iota.co.uk still has info about the products.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 15/4/08 8:56PM
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