Georges Méliès (December 8, 1861 – January 21, 1938), full name Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was very innovative in the use of special effects. He accidentally discovered the stop trick, or substitution, in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his films. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality with the cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the "Cinemagician."
If you'd like to take a deep dive into the animation, effects, and gaming capabilities of JavaFX, you'll be interested to know that Lucas Jordan has written a book to help you do just that. It's called JavaFX Special Effects: Taking Java™ RIA to the Extreme with Animation, Multimedia, and Game Elements, and is published by Apress. I met Lucas at JavaOne 2009 where he and I participated in a JavaFX panel session, and I asked him today to give us a little back-story on the book. Here's his response:
"I have always been interested in client side technologies and Java. So naturally I was interested AWT and Swing. But I was also interested in graphics beyond just buttons and text fields. Quite a few years ago I found a project from the University of Maryland, Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) called Piccolo and its predecessor Jazz. These where graphics toolkits that provided a way to describe a scene graph and render it with Java's Graphics 2D. I managed to find a few uses for Piccolo in my day job and was really pleased with the results.
When I heard about JavaFX my first thought was "Why bother, there is already a library for this". Of course this was before I really understood that JavaFX was also a new language and runtime, not just a Java graphics library. I managed to get put a project where I was creating a demo app for the JavaFX launch in the Fall of 2008. This was my first chance to really put in 8 hours a day on a JavaFX application and I quickly learned that JavaFX is an extremely productive language. You can get graphics on the screen wired up as components in no time, really amazing.
At the time I was working on my first JavaFX project, I was also finishing my first iPhone app. So by day I was working with JavaFX and then I would go home and work with cocoa and Objective-C. Let me tell you, Core Graphics feels like you're building a house without power tools compared to JavaFX. The same is true of Piccolo as well, both Java and Objective-C just require a lot more junk to express things that are very simple in JavaFX.
Come June of 2009 I was heading to JavaOne to present the nuts and bolts of the app I had built for the JavaFX launch. The app basically showed off a hand full of graphics effects, so I had a working knowledge of JavaFX and its classes by this point. It was here I met Jim Weaver, and he had just finished a book on JavaFX in time for JavaOne and was extolling the virtues of JavaFX. Jim kindly put me in contact with the people he worked with at Apress and they got in touch with me some time after JavaOne.
basically came to me as said "what do you want to write about?" and I
didn't really have an answer at first. It seemed like the core books
where already written and JavaFX was only 50 some classes at that point.
I knew I had done some interesting things with JavaFX in the last year,
so we settled on writing a book explaining the cool stuff I got JavaFX
to do. And that is basically what this book is, with each chapter taking a
single concept or effect and showing how to implement it in JavaFX. We
look at physics, particles, lighting effects and bunch of other stuff.
The last few chapters take some of the ideas and combine them. I think
my favorite chapter combines physics with particles to create some
convincing fire balls. The very last chapter is a description of an
entire game. This brings all the lessons together and talks about some
of the real world issues of putting an app together.
Anyway, I hope people find it interesting. I think it is a pretty good collection of samples showing what JavaFX can do when you move past the point of drawing Rectangles and figuring out the new syntax." -Lucas Jordan
The picture above is a screen shot of the game to which Lucas referred, in which you shoot clowns out of a cannon into the vat of hydrochloric acid on the right side of the page. It's really water, but just wanted to see if you're still reading this. ;-) Tell you what, be the first commenter on this post, mentioning the acid thing, and I'll twist Mr. Jordan's arm to give you a free JavaFX Special Effects e-book.
Thanks and congratulations on your book, Lucas!