Aquafadas, a French company that has won plenty of awards and made a name for themselves in the last few years. BannerZest has been the baby of Thomas and his team. It is one of the most popular banner making software that works on a Flash backbone.
Surprisingly, it is an app with the minimalest screen space, it almost at first would seem like an utility rather than an app. It is composed of the main window and an inspector window to change the settings. On starting a new project, the screen prompts for images to be dropped on the interface to be added to the project.
Upon dropping the image files, they are all added to the project. If the Inspector is not visible, it is advisable to make it so. It has 4 tabs, Media, which lists all the files that make up the presentation. Theme is the second tab, this is basically the transition that is applied to the presentation. The third tab is Settings, which allow to sutomise the presentation in terms of size, text color, etc. The last tab is Publish, the most important bit.
There are quite a number of transitions that make for quite a variety of effects. There are some that are extraordinary.
In the Pro version the entire project can be saved as a swf file for local or remote publishing, where as in the basic version there is no such option.
The aim of this app is simple, chuck in a few pictures and select a visual style that suits the transitions best and voila, a banner is created. When the browser does not support Flash, it generates an HTML+CSS based slideshow, there are lesser pings and whistles than in the Flash version, but it does not display the ugly icon when run on devices with Flash disabled or missing/unsupported.
Preset settings can be added that allow to resize a banner/presentation to a pre-defined size.
There are quite a few sites that use the BannerZest generated banners. For the first time user, the interface and the app seems limited, and requires that one read the documentation/FAQ. At first my opinion was that there should be some kind of a themeBuilder and some functionality to create more transitions. However I found reading the documentation, that the BannerZest SDK can be used to expand the repository of transitions and create my own, but the SDK is a mystery one, that has information at http://www.aquafadas.com/en/bannerzest/bannerzest_sdk.php but no download link for the SDK.
All in all, BannerZest is a wonderful tool for those that have very little experience with Flash or would like to make some transitions/banners for their websites with the minimal amount of efforts. BannerZest has some really pretty effects.
Since only one project can be opened at a time, it makes the inspector redundant, and it should be integrated into the main window.
Here are some animations that were created using BannerZest
Software : BannerZest
Version : 2.2.3
Publisher : Aquafadas
Website : http://www.aquafadas.com/en/bannerzest/
Twitter : @aquafadas
Platform : Mac OS X (10.5.x or higher) / Windows XP/Vista/7
Demo : Available
Price : $129 (Pro)
And we have a copy of BannerZest for one lucky winner, all you need to do
1. Follow @whatsin4me
2. Retweet the message "Read reviewme.oz-apps.com, follow @whatsin4me and RT this msg. You might win a copy of #BannerZest from @Aquafadas"
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