The latest versions of Adobe Flash – powered by Actionscript 3 – are more powerful than ever. They’re also increasingly impenetrable for anyone who’s not a coder. And that’s before you factor in the expense of purchasing it in the first place.

This is the point at which Vectorian Giotto walks boldly into the room. This Flash creation tool is aimed more squarely at designers – just drag, drop and edit your Flash animation elements using point-and-click tools. All the vector drawing and animation tools you could need are there, wrapped up in an interface that’s far more accessible than Adobe’s. Despite the simpler approach, that doesn't mean it's only capable of rudimentary animations; Giotto can still generate impressive, professional looking animations, suitable for most people's needs.

The program may still feel a little overwhelming to the first-time user, but we’d recommend following the basic animation tutorial on the Vectorian website, which will quickly introduce you to the basics of Flash animation and reveal how simple it is to do. Once your first animation is up and running, more tutorials are available to help you get to grips with other aspects of using Giotto.

Vectorian Giotto also ships with a number of quick-start templates – you’ll need Flash Player for Internet Explorer installed before these will work. They’re mostly of the “design a logo for your company” type, but can be adapted for other purposes too. They also serve to showcase what kinds of animation are possible using the program.

Verdict

An excellent – and more user-friendly – alternative to Adobe’s heavyweight package for creating web-based Flash animations.