Name: Joe Bowden
Title: Quality Engineer for the LiveMotion
LiveMotionCentral sat down with one of Adobe's Quality
Engineer's for the LiveMotion Development Team to
see what's what in this latest version of Adobe LiveMotion.
LMC: Joe, first we wanted to start out by saying
thanks for taking the time for this email interview.
We have been missing you on the forums, and understand
that Adobe has been keeping you really busy. We look
forward to seeing you again more on the Adobe LiveMotion
Joe Bowden: Aw, shucks Jon...thanks for choosing
me of all people for your interview!
LMC: As many of us see you on the U2U Forums,
what do you exactly do for Adobe Systems Incorporated
when your not breaking limbs on the slopes?
Joe Bowden: I often ask myself that same question!
But between breaking legs, eating out at Korean BBQs,
and the enjoying Dirck Van Lieu's wonderful homemade
pies for dessert, I am a Quality Engineer for the
LiveMotion development team.
That doesn't necessarily mean that I have achieved
a higher social standing than the rest of the engineers
(quite the contrary, as my colleagues are so quick
to remind me!), but that as part of the LiveMotion
Quality Assurance team, I verify that the features
and functionality in the product meet certain quality
criteria before we ship it. This task is ongoing and
lasts for the duration of a product development life
cycle and beyond.
Some of the functional areas that I personally work
on are export (SWF, QuickTime, Animated GIF, etc.),
interoperability with Illustrator and Photoshop, and
backward compatibility with previous versions of LiveMotion.
Of course, I'm not the sole QA engineer working in
all these areas, so if you find a bug out there, it
was most likely something the other guy missed...
When I'm not too busy with the quality assurance thing,
I like to look in and help out where I can on the
LiveMotion U2U, and to a lesser degree, other forums
like Flashkit and Macromedia's Flash forum. Will LMC
have a forum? You may even see me here...
LMC: What role do you have in what happens
in the U2U Forums, we have seen you say that you are
just a visitor just like everyone else is.
Joe Bowden: T'is true...I am but a visitor
to the U2U forums, just like everyone else! The forum
moderators and the sysop take care of most of the
day-to-day forum issues.
Unofficially, I guess that I am the Adobe presence
in the LM U2U. This has become a de facto role for
me that emerged when the LM U2U began operations back
in March 2000, during the public beta for LiveMotion
1. During those chaotic days, there was not much of
an Adobe presence on the forum, and I jumped in and
began helping where I could. I found that not only
was I able to help LiveMotion users, but that doing
so became an invaluable source for acquiring more
real-world testing scenarios and leads on bugs in
the shipping product. I use the lessons I learn regularly
when testing during the development of LiveMotion.
I think this helps make LiveMotion a better product,
at the end of the day.
But I'd be remiss if I didn't give my thanks to Lynn
Grillo for helping out in our forum. Lynn is a GoLive
evangelist, and a regular on the GoLive U2U (that
is, when she's not giving GoLive and LiveMotion demonstrations
for Adobe product tours and special events such as
MacWorld, etc.). And she's way cuter than me, too...
LMC: As many of us are extremely excited to
see the new release of LiveMotion 2.0, we can imagine
how hard it was for you to keep it under wraps. How
do you feel about this next step for LiveMotion, do
you feel that the current LiveMotion Community will
be happy with what they are going to see?
Joe Bowden: It wasn't easy to keep quiet! But
I think that in this version, we have made a quantum
leap in the kinds of things you can make with LiveMotion.
to control every attribute available in the LiveMotion
editing environment. In addition to writing scripts
that control LiveMotion, scripters can also create
Live Tabs that make it easier for non-scripters to
reap the benefits of scripting (even ActionScript)
We also fully support Flash 5 ActionScript. There's
a script editor with syntax highlighting and search
and replace that allows you to write code directly
to movie clip event handlers. We also have a debugger
in LiveMotion that lets you set break points and trace
variables to help debug scripts, all within the editing
There is a new text engine based on Photoshop's that
supports on-canvas editing and allows you to re-wrap
paragraph text on the fly. And of course, we now support
the native text tags for SWF, which means smaller
file sizes on export.
In the timeline, we have adopted more of the After
Effects conventions. You can now hide, lock, and shy
objects in the timeline ("shy" means to hide the object
in the timeline only, which reduces timeline clutter).
We also support time-stretch for keyframes by holding
down a modifier key as you adjust the object lifetime.
You can reorder the object hierarchy in the timeline
with drag and drop, and lasso multiple objects in
the timeline with a click-drag. And finally, you can
use hot-keys to animate specific object attributes
in the timeline (such as "P" to display the Position
stopwatch only)- this is another clutter-reducer and
There is improved integration with Photoshop, Illustrator,
with support for layer sets as well as the latest
features of those products. You can now export streaming
sound to SWF, so you can synchronize images and sound.
You can also export to QuickTime, with full alpha
channel support (you After Effects folks know what
I'm talking about). Speaking of which, AE 5.5 users
can now export their compositions to AMX format, which
LiveMotion 2 can open. This creates a whole new world
of AE and LM interop opportunities.
There are some features that we couldn't get to for
this release, but I think overall, the LiveMotion
community will find LiveMotion 2 to be an exciting
product. And of course, I wouldn't be surprised to
find more Flash users adding LiveMotion 2 to their
LMC: Going over all the newer features of LiveMotion,
were there any features the LM team wanted to add
in this version but could not, such as SVG Export,
QuickTime Import, or SWF Import. What kind of effect,
if any, do you think this will have on LM2 among the
web developer community?
Joe Bowden: There are always features that
can't make it into the final product due to schedule
constraints. But I think we have added enough value
to LiveMotion 2 to make it a must-have upgrade for
existing LiveMotion users, and a serious contender
to Macromedia Flash.
In the past, many Flash users have said they couldn't
look twice at LiveMotion until it supported scripting.
I would like to welcome those users now: I think you
will find a lot to like in LiveMotion 2!
LMC: With all of the new features that have
been added, it is really impressive to see that Adobe
has made the Application itself scriptable, allowing
and creating Live Tabs. How important were these features
to the LM Team?
Joe Bowden: Very important. This is one of
the features that sets us apart from Flash.
Users can now script every attribute within LiveMotion.
One of the key benefits is you can write a simple
script that automates a task, then save and reuse
it so you never have to perform that task manually
again. Another useful scripting task is to write a
script that creates complex, mathematics-based keyframed
animation's in LiveMotion- writing a script can actually
be easier and less tedious than setting each keyframe
And then there are Live Tabs. A Live Tab is essentially
an automation script with a graphical user interface.
Live Tabs, which any scripter can write, will allow
non-scripters to enjoy the benefits of automation
scripting and ActionScript without writing a single
line of code. A number of Live Tabs will be provided
with LiveMotion 2, and more will be made available
for free download from the Adobe Exchange site.
For instance, there will be a Mouse Trailer Live Tab
available on Adobe Exchange that will allow users
to dial in whatever settings they want for their mouse
trailer, such as how many duplicated objects, their
size, opacity, speed, and whether they spin about
as they follow the mouse, etc. Using this Live Tab,
anyone can make a mouse trailer in seconds. There's
a TextFX Live Tab that makes it incredibly simple
to create complex animation's for broken-apart text
(or for any other object, for that matter). There's
also a Slide Show Live Tab that takes all the drudgery
out of making a slide show - just enter the path to
a folder full of images, select the type of slide
show you want, then click the apply button to make
it all happen. There's a Star Tool Live Tab that allows
you to create star geometrics with as many point and
radius possibilities as you could ever want, and a
Web-safe Color (hexadecimal) Live Tab. And more...
LMC: The program almost looks like the LM Team
completely rebuilt the application from the ground
up. I would imagine that is what had to be done in
order to make the application scriptable. What are
some of the more important changes that were made
to LiveMotion 2.0?
Joe Bowden: A lot of things were either built,
rebuilt or enhanced. Scripting is the most obvious
The LM2 text engine, based on the Photoshop 6 text
engine, was essentially rebuilt from the ground up.
Also, there were major architectural changes made
to the import functionality in LiveMotion 2 that will
make it easier to add other import formats in the
LMC: What kind of effect do you think LiveMotion
2.0 have on the SWF Community?
Joe Bowden: I think LM2 changes the idea of
what is viable in a SWF authoring tool. People have
more choices now for authoring to SWF, and this release
raises the bar for the other applications.
LMC: Do you think LiveMotion 2.0 will have
any effect on the MM Flash Community?
Joe Bowden: I hope it will make a very large
splash in the Flash swimming pool!
With the addition of scripting and the enhancements
we have made in that particular area, I think Flash
users will finally have a chance to enjoy some of
the animation features that make LiveMotion so easy
and intuitive to user: A time-based timeline, rather
than frame-based, which makes it a snap to change
frame rates without changing animation timing. Object-based
rather than layer-based focus, which provides much
more keyframing flexibility. Closer interoperability
with a suite of Adobe products and file formats.
LMC: After Effects 5.5 Supports an AMX Export,
and LiveMotion 2.0 supports an AMX Import. How do
you feel designers will be using these two applications
in conjunction with each other, what kind of results
can owners of both applications expect to see using
the AMX Import / Export?
Joe Bowden: After Effects users need a way
to add interactivity to their SWFs, and LiveMotion
users can benefit from the enhanced keyframing capabilities
in After Effects.
I think the immediate benefit will come to AE users
who are authoring for SWF. Create your comp, export
to AMX, then open the file in LM2 and add interactivity
to your comp and export to SWF.
LiveMotion users will also benefit from After Effects
visual effects and motion tools to create more complex
animation's more quickly.
LMC: LiveMotion 2.0 and GoLive 6.0 are shipping
together in the GoLive / LiveMotion Pack! This seems
like a very aggressive strategy from Adobe's Web Department,
do you feel that this strategy will help Adobe in
getting Users of either application to try the other,
as well as completely new users, buying a single package
to meet multiple solutions?
Joe Bowden: That's a question that might be
better asked of John Nack, one of the Product Managers
on the LiveMotion team. However, it makes sense to
me that with a bundle deal, more GoLive users will
end up buying LiveMotion too, and vice-versa. Getting
both programs at an attractive price also makes a
lot of sense for people looking for better integration
between their SWF and HTML authoring applications.
LMC: Any clues on what we should be looking
for in future version of Adobe LiveMotion?
Joe Bowden: We'll keep surprising you!
But I think it's a safe bet that we will support even
more import and export formats in the future, and
continue to enhance the power and ease-of-use of LiveMotion.
LMC: Again Joe, it is always a pleasure talking
with you, and thanks for taking the time to answer
these questions, we look forward to seeing some of
your new gadgets on the U2U Forums.
Joe Bowden: Thank you, and my compliments to
you and Tono for all your work on LiveMotionCentral.com.
I look forward to seeing all of you again on the LiveMotion
U2U and LMC!