It's Alive! is an ActiveText-based application for creating and editing dynamic and interactive text documents. Its functionality is best summarized as the mutant offspring of a text editor and Adobe AfterEffects. The user can enter, edit and lay out text as usual. Unlike a text editor, however, which requires her to constantly move from text to pull-down menu and back to adjust basic visual characteristics such as font, size and color, It's Alive! gives the user continuously variable controls which provide continuous feedback. By using pie menus instead of standard drop-down or palette menus, the user can do all of this without ever having to move away from the target text.
The true fun in It's Alive!, though, lies in the fact that the user can apply dynamic and interactive behaviors to the text, in real-time, as easily as she can change the font. If she wants some text to wander aimlessly around the screen, she selects the target text, picks "wander" from the menu, and off it goes. If she wants the text to pulse when the mouse is passed over it, she selects "pulse" from the menu. The text will then pulse in reaction to the mouse's proximity as it wanders around the screen. In this way behaviors can be layered on top of one another, at the level of an individual letter, a word or an entire passage. This provides a fluid way in which to create visually and dynamically rich texts.
Jason E. Lewis (concept, design, architecture, programming)
Alex Weyers (design, architecture, programming)