Getting Surreal with ActionScript

Being my first post here on my own blog I should take a couple of lines to introduce myself. Name is Dave Stewart and I work with Aaron at Cronin and here at Easy! Designs. Flash and ActionScript are my things and I hope to have plenty experiments to show you in the coming weeks. Anyway, to get the ball rolling I thought I might put up a link to my latest project.

To make a long story short, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT is due to launch a Surrealist Paintings exhibit October 7th to welcome home some of there paintings that have been on tour. They came to us with a tight deadline and limited funds (is there any other kind of client?) to produce an online advertising campaign and a viral piece. So we did. After one brain storming session we had some web banner ideas and a wacky idea for a “Create Your Own—? Surreal painting program.

The challenges for me were

  1. creating original assets; and
  2. how to save a painting, since Flash has no way of producing a bitmap on the fly from a users actions.

My initial thoughts were to create an actual paint program with traditional pens, brushes, etc. but it seemed obvious that we would just get a bunch of crap scribbles in our gallery from lazy or artistically challenged peeps. I needed to take control and supply easy to use pre-made assets. So I did 20-30 minuets research on Surrealist Paintings to see what that lark was all about and proceeded to build a couple dozen 3D models and renders for assets. Then I coded her up for drag’n drop functionality with some basic manipulation tools. Then I wrote some crazy ActionScript and Flash Remoting PHP to store a painting (with all it’s hundreds of object attributes and arrays) in MySQL . Off it went yesterday to the live site and so far the response has been awesome. Lots of great feedback and such.

I hope to re-build it now that I have Flash 8 and get creative with some of the new bitmap filters and what-not. Have fun.

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