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Hype 2.5: Tumult's 'love letter' update to its users is a triumph

Serenity Caldwell | Feb. 14, 2014
As someone who despised WYSIWYG software for most of her life, I found myself rather shocked to be enjoying Tumult's HTML5 web and animation software, Hype, when it first came on the scene in 2011. Our initial review praised the software for its excellent HTML5 animation and website-building tools, and the app has only gotten better over the last few years. Its latest update, which Tumult calls "a love letter to our users," makes an already fantastic piece of software downright essential for anyone who is interested in building complex, scaling HTML5 animations but is lacking in HTML, CSS, or Javascript expertise.

Hype 2.5 addresses this issue in a major way, offering two alternative platforms for viewing animations: video and GIF animation. HTML5 is still clearly the program's focus, but in expanding its export options, Hype 2.5 has opened itself up to an entirely new kind of user: budding animators.

Now, I have no intention of ever making animation more than an occasional hobby, but it was astonishing how quickly I was able to put a basic piece together. The drawing and lettering, done in Photoshop, took around an hour and a half; the actual animation took just about two hours, despite having to familiarize myself with Hype's tools during that process. I don't think the result will win me any awards, but it's very satisfying to produce a solid piece from an evening's worth of work.

And if your interest in animation is on the GIF side, you don't even have to go that far. My first Hype 2.5 test was a three-second looping animation of flickering stars: drawn in a half-hour, built and exported in ten minutes.

You do need to know a little bit about keyframes to animate in Hype, but Tumult has a host of great tutorials to get you started right.

Hype Reflect, the perfect mobile accessory
Hype's instant preview options make testing your Web project a breeze; Hype Reflect, the companion app that the company introduced in late 2013, does the same for previewing on iOS devices. The app uses your Wi-Fi network to connect with Hype on the desktop so that you can instantly see your project at the correct dimensions and make sure it's properly scaling. You can even tweak your project on your Mac and have those changes reflected in real-time with Mirror Mode, or (if you're building something more advanced) use the app's JavaScript console for debugging any scripts you've added to your project.

Hype Reflect's minimalist iOS 7 interface mostly stays out of the way when you're interacting with your project in mobile, which I appreciate; its focus, after all, should be more on the project than the app's various trimmings. Even without many controls to fuss with, however, the app offers a decent amount of flexibility between previewing, Mirror Mode, and sending your project to mobile Safari.

Tweaks, trims, and efficiency boosters
Beyond the major showcase features in Hype 2.5, Tumult did a ton of work to improve the program's usability along with adding under-the-hood tweaks, and it shows. You can now upload Retina-sized images; Hype then automatically calibrates these images so that the right size displays for the proper device, in order to save bandwidth. Building animations is also a lot smoother with the addition of basic timeline-editing features such as element snapping, arrow key manipulations, and keyframe keyboard shortcuts.


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