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Java Tools

Dozens of Java programming tools and utilities are available, but most of them are directed at programmers rather than graphic artists and animators. The flip side of this situation is the fact that the creators of several animation tools have added the capability to export animations directly in Java format, so you can create Java animations without really knowing anything about programming in Java. Tools such as PaceWorks' ObjectDancer, mBed Software's Interactor, and Macromedia's Director now offer this functionality. In addition, some shareware tools that are trickling onto FTP sites let you use Java to create effects such as animated banners and logos, although these tools often create bulky files compared with what you'd get by using GIF or another animation-specific format.

ObjectDancer

PaceWorks' ObjectDancer can export animations directly in Java format, so you can easily create sophisticated Java animations that include the powerful time-based features of ObjectDancer. Turning a standard ObjectDancer animation into a Java animation is simply a matter of choosing the Make/Java Animation menu selection to export the file and then setting simple preferences (see Figure 14.1).


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