With web applications on the rise in place of traditional applications, I’ve had a mind as of late to cover some of my favorite web-based software so that whether you’re using a Chromebook or just the Chrome browser on your Mac or Windows PC, you can benefit from or at least get a taste of the future of computing.
That’s not to say that traditional programs are going anywhere fast, but instead to state the progress and importance of web technologies. Today, I want to show you something that may spark your creativity or even help you express it if you’re a designer, game developer, or artist.
We sure don’t have Epic’s Unreal Engine or many true game engines on Chrome OS aside from maybe the Unity launcher and the Godot engine via a Linux container, but if you’re hoping to avoid expensive animation software costs on standard PCs or are looking for a full animation suite on your Chromebook, then look no further than Rive.
Rive is currently in open beta for the second iteration of its editor, and it lets you create and ship interactive animations for the web, apps, and games using a full set of interactive tools using nothing but a website link. As you can see in the video below, the collaborative editor houses transformation tools, shape tools, layers, and of course, an animation timeline.
- Realtime collaboration
- Tiny file sizes
- Smooth playback
- Animation mixing
- Character rigging
- Cloud rendering
- Inverse kinematics
- Transform constraints
- Trim paths
Once you’ve designed something incredible, you can make it interactive and mobile using if/then logic via what’s called a “state machine” – something that’s also baked right in. While it does cost $14 per month per person for studios, you can use it indefinitely free as an individual.
The free plan gives you the ability to edit and export animations (no editor features are barred from you!), revision history, and even access to its broad, creative community who have shown off some pretty amazing pieces created using the software. Paying gets you access to that real-time collaboration I mentioned
Honestly, anyone just looking to tinker a bit and get into graphic animation should check out Rive. I’ve been wanting to talk about it for a long time, but just haven’t gotten around to it. For the geeks, you can export using open-source runtimes like web, Flutter, React, React Native, C++, iOS, Android, Defold, and Tizen, with Unity export coming soon.
If you’re nervous or easily overwhelmed by all of the exciting and advanced features, you should absolutely scour through the Resources page as it has many “Getting Started” videos and walkthroughs. Before you even dive in with one click, I would also recommend getting inspired by the built-in Community tab. This one user named niven5111 created Ghost from Destiny in just 15 minutes using Rive, and it looks sick!
If you use your browser or even your Chromebook for creative work, I’d love to hear which web apps you’re taking advantage of. Furthermore, if you’ve created anything awesome using nothing but a tab in Chrome, I’d love nothing more than to see it and geek out over it! Let me know in the comments what you think about the new Rive 2 editor, and whether or not you’re going to take it for a spin. Oh, and don’t forget to turn the editor into an app icon on your device for easy access!