The Macromedia Flash man looks to LEGO for a System.
By Jesse S. Somer
When it comes to computer technology it is often the case that it takes a large number of people working together to create something new and ingenious. However, we do know from experience that sometimes it is an individual human being who 'cracks the code' that leads to a new way of doing things. For isn't that what technology is, new ways of getting things done? In the case Of Macromedia Flash we have look to one person in particular, Jonathan Gay. This one guy pretty much revolutionised the way animation and sound can now be manipulated to reflect an artist's vision via contemporary computers and the Internet.
Here are a couple of Flash examples that just so happen to have been drawn up for articles that I've written in the past (Is this shameless self-promotion?): http://ezinearticles.com/?Internet-Dating:-Future-Internet:-Human-Collaboration-Example-2&id=76006 This is the article,
http://www.m6.net/articles/images/article2.swf is the accompanying animation, and
http://www.gavinillustration.com/ is the website of the artist who collaborated with me at the time. Here's another one: http://searchwarp.com/swa32978.htm, with its Flash created by the same graphic artist: http://www.m6.net/articles/images/neopet.swf. What do you think? Well, this is the simple side of Flash. It gets a lot more detailed, diverse, and can reach great visual depth as you probably already know. http://www.sqcircle.com/ is an example of some pretty good Flash creativity.
So what's all this got to do with LEGO then? Well I was reading an autobiographical article by the Flash man himself at http://www.adobe.com/macromedia/events/john_gay/ and he tells simply and frankly how his whole method of developing ideas comes from the same process he used as a child when he played with plastic coloured blocks of LEGO. Is he a genius? Maybe...but most probably he's not. The higher probability lies in the idea that he's a human being like the rest of us, but who has worked very hard throughout his life (sometimes for fun, sometimes for survival/paycheques, sometimes for both) and he's found a system of evolving ideas that works. This is the system he used to develop both Flash recently and LEGO when he was a little younger.
1.Choose a problem: Build a LEGO ship.
2.Develop a vision: What sort of ship will it be? How big will it be? What will it carry?
3.Build: Build the framework of the ship.
4.Fill in the details: Design and build the details of the ship, ramps, doors, etc.
5.Test: Drive the cars (Matchbox, Hotwheels) around the ship and sail the ship while exploring the house.
6.Refine: Take parts of the ship apart and make them better.
7.Learn: Take what you learned from building this ship and use it to build a better one next time.
So what can hopeful web developers and graphic designers get out of all this? Well, you could get the realisation that creating something new isn't as hard as you once thought. You might just need a system…and could it be that you've already subconsciously built systems throughout your life just by being alive and interacting with the world around you? Or possibly you might remember that you don't need to be a genius to build something that helps human beings have a better existence. You just need to be someone who works diligently with focus, perseverance, and a goal in mind.
Do you remember that friend in Elementary School who had built their own LEGO creations? Sadly, I wasn't one of those kids. I was happy just to build the designs that were explained with instructions and a picture on the side of the box. It always blew me away when a kid would show me how they had built an entire football stadium, race track, or airport. Then there are the grown up kids like Google co-founder Larry Page who built a functioning inkjet printer out of LEGO blocks while at University. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEGO under the 'Fan culture and community' section and you can read more about incredible LEGO inventions and the people who envisioned and then created them.
Just remember, it's human beings that created LEGO, built amazing things from it (fully functional padlocks, pendulum clocks, and a harpsichord to name but a few), and it's human beings who create the Internet, websites, and computer technology. It could be time to have a little bit more faith in yourself and in your personal systems of work and production…You could be the next creator of something that changed the world as much as Macromedia Flash…or even LEGO! Find a system that works for you, let your imagination run wild, and let us all see what can come from your personal interests and unique individual perspective on life.
About the Author
By Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer was knocked over in hysterics when he saw the LEGO Flash version of Star Wars 'The Story of Anakin Skywalker': http://www.lego.com/starwars/scrroom.asp?x=x&id=1
Jesse S. Somer is a creative writer working at M6.Net: 'The web-hosting company for humans.' M6.Net is working hard to help humanity experience the power and freedom to develop their own part of the Internet, to share their information and connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
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