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Review: Swish
by: Lala C. Ballatan
Are you in a busy office and need to get web design jobs with complex text effects done immediately? Want to speed up your productivity but avoid working until Saturday afternoons breaking up text and hand tweening? Then, SWiSH, the new standalone tool that creates great font effects and more by David Mitchie, presented during the Flash Forward 2000 conference, is for you!.

So what’s new with SWiSH? This tool enables you to create buttons and banners in the program itself. You can even create a .SWF for importing into Flash for fast font effects. The “more” emphasis earlier is what’s coming up in the future of this product. Mitchie is hoping to release an update of its first version in May that will allow the use of images. These plans for added functionality will give users more creativity in designing banners and navigation systems.

There are also future plans being expressed by Mitchie to support many of the features in Flash today – this includes scripting, movie clips, audio, vector images and rollover buttons. Right now, with the first version, you can use its maximum number of text effects to the hilt. It will also speed up work productivity. With SWiSH, you can say good bye to all afternoon of breaking text up, making key frames and hand tweening – plenty of hard work but is not anywhere near our idea of creativity.

Use it by controlling all the various attributes of each letter and click preview. After installing this software, in less than five minutes, you can produce real content for your sites. There may be arguments about how all the effects just look alike but remember that there are “industry standard” and “professional level” considerations on these things, just like in television and print. Using SWiSH allows you to produce your sites with that level of standard and expertise.

Currently, SWiSH doesn’t work in Mac but they are looking into creating a version suitable with the Mac. Right now, it works on Windows 95+/NT/2000 only. Still, you can create the files on a PC and use the .SWFs produced on the Mac, which means that you could create standard clips for your files and use them in your libraries. Other system requirements include Pentium 100 or better, 32Mb of RAM, 256 color display or better. It does not require Flash to be installed, too.

Acquiring and using SWiSH is easy enough. You just go to the site and download its trial version. Until you get a key, it will scramble text when you export to SWF. Currently, SWiSH has a US $30 price tag, with free minor updates. Major updates would be around US $10 – a big difference in the price of Flash at US $275. Need we say more? Try SWiSH and see for yourself! -30-

About the author:
Lala C. Ballatan is a 26 year-old Communication Arts graduate, with a major in Journalism. Right after graduating last 1999, she worked for one year as a clerk then became a Research, Publication and Documentation Program Director at a non-government organization, which focuses on the rights, interests and welfare of workers for about four years.

Book reading has always been her greatest passion -- mysteries, horrors, psycho-thrillers, historical documentaries and classics. She got hooked into it way back when she was but a shy kid.

Her writing prowess began as early as she was 10 years old in girlish diaries. With writing, she felt freedom – to express her viewpoints and assert it, to bring out all concerns -- imagined and observed, to bear witness.

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