Some users have asked us the best practices on improve their productivity with Kwik. Although the plugin is really easy to use, a few tips and tricks can help you to speed up your projects. Here are the top 10 (most of them applicable to Book projects but valid for Comic situations too):
1) Project name: Avoid long names for your projects and, DO NOT use characters like <> %,#;!. They conflict with XML convention. Keep naming simple!
2) Layer names: Before starting to add buttons and animations, follow the rules below. It is much easier to add interactivity with the final names than edit all of them after. Basic rules:
– Avoid long names. All layer names become variables when exported, meaning they uses more memory and are more difficult to read.
– Pay attention with layers with the same name. They will be exported over (the last layer will be saved on top of the previous one) and will make the Lua code crazy.
– Like above, “weird” characters conflict with Lua language. Kwik removes these “strange” characters but, if they were used before in any button actions, it may generate errors during export.
– Do NOT name your layers as numbers. For example, a layer named 1, will generate an error.
– Do not use Lua commands as names. For example, a layer named if will conflict with the command if. Some Lua commands includes: if, end, local, transition, play, full list here.
3) Text layers: Besides above tips, pay attention that text layers name are originally created using the content of the text from the canvas. If you have a long paragraph, the layer name will be the content of the “long paragraph”! This is the most common problem we have seen from our users reporting issues. Ah, don’t forget all text also exports as images!
4) Group layers: Kwik exports group layers as a single image. Use them to create more complex elements (for example, a multi-layered button with text, shadows, etc), or for the creation of static elements. A common issue is to have all page elements in a group layer expecting they will render separately.
5) Create a background layer: Kwik must find, at least, one art layer in order to export. Whenever is possible, create it first. This is also used as the place for “page swipe” events – Kwik always uses the bottom layer of your PSD as background. If it cannot find it, and error occurs.
6) Universal projects: They are cool and expand your audience, right? Yes, but remember they duplicate image files, double your export time, add complexity to your code and, depending on the project, sometimes they make no sense to exist! Can you really read a big paragraph on a 320×480 iPhone? Tip is: if your audience is iPad users, create a project for iPad only.
7) Fireworks: Several designers like to start their project in Fireworks as it offers vector tools not available in Photoshop. When using PSD files created by Fireworks, please notice that they do NOT come with the background layer (everything comes inside a group layer). As you read above, it will not work! If you are opening a PSD file from Fireworks, simply select all sub layers and move them outside the original folder they come.
8) Button and Animation names: Although Kwik offers an auto naming feature, try to enter your own names (follow the rules above). It will help you to quickly edit your actions from the project view. This is a time saver for project with several actions.
9) Export images only once: Whenever is possible, after renaming all the layers, export them (Preview button) before to add actions. You can do that clicking button Settings, then enabling the Export images checkbox. After the first export, disable the Export images checkbox. From now on, the Preview button will work much faster, exporting only the code (use it as much as need to tweak animations).
10) Don’t forget your icons and opening screen image: Kwik will help you to preview your project. However, your great comic or book will need the perfect icons (not the one we provide with Kwik’s logo) and a beautiful default screen (for iOS projects).
Did we miss something? If you have established your own workflow, please share it with us!
ps: keep your fingers crossed. we hope to deliver v1.1 in a few days only!!!