Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Frakin' Universe Re-explained

Some time ago I did a minor bit of playing around with Flash animations, using the "Export to SWF" option in

It wasn't all that pretty, and you had to repeatedly click on the picture to move from frame to frame.

Then, a few weeks ago, Penguin Pete started a series of Flash tutorials. The first post used the SWFTOOLS package, which looked like it would be fun to play with. So I stripped out all of the frames from my original OpenOffice Impress file, translated them into JPEG, renamed them frame01.jpg, frame02.jpg, frame03.jpg, ..., give the command:

$ jpeg2swf --rate 0.2 frame*.jpg -o cbm2.swf

and produced the following:

(Click here for the animation)

Neat, huh? A few comments:

  • swftools isn't available through Ubuntu, so I complied it myself, with the standard options. This was fine, using ./configure with no options, except:
    • The gif2swf program was not compiled, because I didn't have the libgif4 library. libgif4 is available under Ubuntu, but its installation requires a bunch of programs to be removed from the system, including emacs. This makes it toxic, so I'll forget about converting gifs into flash. Fortunately, we have ImageMagick's convert program, and why is anyone using gifs in favor of pngs anyway?
    • When I did “make install” the man pages weren't copied into /usr/local/man/man1. I had to do it by hand.
    • There are some library files which are also compiled, and they aren't installed, either. I don't have any use for them right now, but someday I might, right?
  • I'd like to have the titles and pictures fade in. This doesn't seem to be available in swftools, so I'll have to look for another program.
  • It would also be neat to have the BSG theme playing in the background, but swftools doesn't seem to import sound files, either. Yet another reason to search more.
  • To be true to the original opening, the “many copies” picture should be a montage of Ann Coulter pictures. Anybody got one?
  • And the punchline should probably have Obama instead of Teddy.

So consider this the 0.2 version of the animation. More to follow, someday.