Greetings from the show floor at Adobe MAX*. During the keynote yesterday, the Flash team revealed some really interesting news–what I think may be the sleeper announcement of the show: the Flash Player is being equipped to run Hydra, a new graphics programming language from Adobe. [Update: You can see the technology demoed in this video, starting around 5:30.]
Instead of running just the built-in drop shadows, blurs, etc. that were added in version 8, Flash (and by extension Adobe AIR) will now be able to run an essentially unlimited number of imaging effects. Hydra is tuned to run ridiculously fast on modern graphics cards (GPUs), and it’ll be tuned for multi-core CPUs as well. You can download a free beta of the Adobe Image Foundation (AIF) Toolkit from Labs and get started creating your own Hydra-based filters.
Here’s a key point, though: the same Hydra technology is being used to power the fast filters in After Effects CS3. Therefore an AE plug-in developer could effectively also develop runtime effects for Flash, while a Flash developer could leverage her work inside AE. And wouldn’t it be something if that same work could run in other Adobe apps that crunch pixels (I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…).
Here are some quick screenshots of Hydra running inside the AIF Toolkit, which allows you to write & preview code in one environment. Developers have already started to share their code, and AIF/Hydra engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith has posted a bit more info on his blog.
Kevin will talk through the engineering details in a 3pm session tomorrow at MAX (see below).
[Update 2: Kevin has just uploaded his slide deck from MAX, featuring example filters, code walkthroughs, and more.]
*The WiFi here is free, but you get what you pay for, and I haven’t gotten it to work all day. Therefore I’ve surreptitiously snagged an Ethernet cable out of the back of one of these “PDF Kiosks.” Guerilla blogging at its finest…