Jonathan Deutsch and Ryan Nielsen left Apple late last year to join Y Combinator’s accelerator program and help designers build animations in HTML5 as opposed to Flash. Friday, the two-man team is releasing Hype, the first product of their startup Tumult, on the Mac App Store.
“It’s pretty clear that HTML5 is the future of the web,” says Deutsch. “It will, of course, run not only on desktop machines but also runs really well on any modern smartphone or tablet like the iPad. The problem is that there are no good designer apps for creating animated HTML5 like there are for Flash.”
Hype presents the user with a blank canvas with a timeline at the bottom. The user can then drag in images, video and text, arrange those elements and use keyframe-based animations to define where those pieces of content go.
“This is a very designer-friendly process,” Deutsch explains. “We we even made an intuitive recording interface, so you don’t have laboriously layout each individual keyframe. You can just hit record, move your objects and go. It’s really easy to make some powerful, beautiful animations.”
As a bonus, Deutsch and Nielsen have built Dropbox integration into Hype, meaning users can publish their animations to Dropbox, as opposed to an FTP site, to solicit feedback from co-workers or clients.
Hype is targeting three primary markets: designers looking to add animations to their websites, Flash developers who need to deploy their content on the iPhone or iPad, and existing users of HTML5.
“There’s a huge wide opportunity with HTML5,” says Nielsen. “We can be the tool that everyone turns to to produce awesome and animated interactive content using the latest standards.”
Both Deutsch and Nielsen speak of a desire to push the HTML5 standard forward and will continue to iterate on the Hype product with more interactive and animation features. The pair is looking at how to weave WebGL, a technology for creating 3D content on the web, into the Hype experience.
Tumult has so far only taken Y Combinator and Start Fund financing. Deutsch and Nielsen hope to finance operations through Mac application sales.
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