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Not just any Flash in the pan


Open the window for learning with our pick of DIY websites and blogs.

Flash has been used for over a decade to add animation, video and interactivity to web pages. And almost every designer who has ever sworn by RGB pixels has played around with the medium at some point or the other. Indeed, there are dimea-dozen multimedia sites, but only a few of them stay with you. Sometimes the designs on these few are rather complex in the way they've been implemented, and sometimes they're amazingly simple. Either way, they make creative use of Flash.
Here are some of the best Flash sites in recent times to help you - whichever way you see it - waste your time on, or take inspiration from...

>> flashface. ctapt. de

If you've ever wondered about the powers of Flash, then I suggest you make haste to Flashface. The drag-and-drop resource lets anybody - even those with the most basic of drawing skills - create a realistic 'sketch' of almost any face. From the hairstyle to the type of spectacles;shape of the head to the size of nose;type of eyes to the curve of eyebrows, this site lets you "construct" any mug, feature by feature. And if the number of alternatives are not enough (there are over 50 options for the type of mouth alone), the Flash-based app also provides you with sliders on the X- and Y-axis so you can modify each feature by squeezing and/or stretching, till it is just right - brilliant, and yet so simple. And after you're done creating, you can save you oeuvre online and even print it. Ah yes, there's also an app available for Android devices.

>> helloevoque. com/beinghenry

You're watching a suspense/horror movie in which the pretty actress is rushing to her doom, and before you know it - engrossed as you are - you find yourself shouting out a warning... Too bad she can't hear you. Well, because of a Flash interface, Henry can.

Henry is the protagonist of a web movie where you, the viewer, are given absolute control of the course the story takes. At every stage, you're provided with choices - and the ones you make are followed by Henry without protest. (Spoiler alert: The site is actually an advertisement. Still, it's a superb concept that has been wonderfully executed. ) The premise of Being Henry could very well be the precursor to the future of movies. Must watch. Tremendous repeat value.

>> moodstream. gettyimages. com

There are websites that are easy to describe, and then there are those esoteric few that defy all definition. Moodstream is clearly the latter. The resource streams a smorgasbord of photos, videos and audio;all from Getty Images. The Flash interface allows for customised streams of media depending on the choices - happy or sad, calm or lively, humourous or serious, nostalgic or contemporary, warm or cool - you make via a slider on the page. And you can also select the type of transition effect between the images and videos, as well as the type of accompanying music.

The makers of the site call it a 'powerful brainstorming tool designed to help take you in inspiring unexpected directions'. Well, I don't know if Moodstream works as a means of inspiration, but one thing's for sure: It's a superbly creative example of good Flash programming - and oh so hypnotic. Bookmark for psychedelia.

>> www. tabnplay. com

If you're looking for a teacher to help you with guitar tabs to some of your favourite songs, then look no further. TabnPlay is a fabulous Flash site that can run you through absolutely any song you want to learn on the stringed instrument. To begin with, the resource provides you with tabs of classics such as Dust in the wind by Kansas, Blackbird by The Beatles, Is there anybody out there by Pink Floyd, Tears in heaven by Eric Clapton, etc. And once you've gotten accustomed to how the site works, you can also use its inbuilt search engine to search the internet for the tablature of other songs, which you can easily import into the web app. Again, brilliant application of Flash programming. And now, excuse me while I get back to Hotel California.

>> www. whatmovieshouldiwatchtonight. com

How many times have you been stuck on a lazy weekend stuck on the question which movie to watch? Well, WMSIWT hopes to make things a tad bit easier for you. Simply type in the URL, sit back and watch trailers suggested by a crew of movie lovers. Don't like a trailer, simply click on the screen, and you're taken to the next random flick. Heck, from having no movies to watch, I now have an entire list of at least 20 movies I want to see - and all from spending just 20 minutes on the site last weekend. Of course, for a watered-down version, you can also check out the related blog at blog. whatmovieshouldiwatchtonight. com, but seriously, I would tend to the web address on top of this paragraph.

>> www. wechoosethemoon. org

This website was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. And visitors can expect details of all 11 stages of the mission containing animation, archival photos, video and even actual audio that brings Apollo 11 to life. Users can use the Mission tracker and navigation buttons to go through the entire presentation at their own pace. Space, the moon and great design. What's not to like?

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