Adobe has announced that the first Beta of Flash Player 10 is now available for everyone to download. It comes with al kinds of really nice features and improvements, but the best thing that we’ll probably see come out of this is the newly available 3D effects. One example that they gave of where this could be useful is taking 2D images and arranging them in a rotating 3D carousel similar to that seen to the right. Making your own Cover Flow clone wouldn’t take too long either then.
Concerned about performance? According to Adobe they are pushing some of the graphical processing onto the user’s video card so that the processor can be used for rendering special effects:
One of the best things about the creative features now available in Adobe Flash Player 10 beta is that they won’t slow down performance. With Flash Player 10 beta, developers can enable SWF content to render through the memory bandwidth and computational horsepower of the GPU hardware processor, freeing up the CPU to do more – such as render 3D content and intricate effects, and process complex business logic.
Here’s a list of some other notable new features in Flash Player 10 Beta:
- 3D Effects – Easily transform and animate any display object through 3D space while retaining full interactivity. Fast, lightweight, and native 3D effects make motion that was previously reserved for expert users available to everyone. Complex effects are simple with APIs that extend what you already know.
- Custom Filters and Effects – Create your own portable filters, blend modes, and fills using Adobe Pixel Bender, the same technology used for many After Effects CS3 filters. Shaders in Flash Player are about 1KB and can be scripted and animated at runtime.
- Advanced Text Layout – A new, highly flexible text layout engine, co-existing with TextField, enables innovation in creating new text controls by providing low-level access to text offering right-to-left and vertical text layout, plus support for typographic elements like ligatures.
- Enhanced Drawing API – Runtime drawing is easier and more powerful with re-styleable properties, 3D APIs, and a new way of drawing sophisticated shapes without having to code them line by line.
- Visual Performance Improvements – Applications and videos will run smoother and faster with expanded use of hardware acceleration. By moving several visual processing tasks to the video card, the CPU is free to do more.
It will probably be a little while before we start to see developers making use of the new technology offered in Flash Player 10, but once a majority of users have upgraded the developers will be all over this like a kid in a candy store. ;)