Flash 3 Web Animation F/X and Design

Overview

"Shows, in a step-by-step format, how to apply transparency, create morphing effects, add interactivity and sound, and animate graphics for the Web."
"Discusses how to take advantage of Flash 3's design capabilities such as vector and bitmap transparency, which enables users to overlay transparent vector objects on bitmaps."
"Discusses how to build compelling Web sites while ensuring playback over low bandwidth connections that will make user ...
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Overview

"Shows, in a step-by-step format, how to apply transparency, create morphing effects, add interactivity and sound, and animate graphics for the Web."
"Discusses how to take advantage of Flash 3's design capabilities such as vector and bitmap transparency, which enables users to overlay transparent vector objects on bitmaps."
"Discusses how to build compelling Web sites while ensuring playback over low bandwidth connections that will make user Web sites viewable to a large audience."
"Provides tips and tricks for importing artwork from other design tools, such as Macromedia Freehand, Director, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver."

"Flash 3 is the up and coming design tool for Web animation, and is currently supported by Disney, NBC, Microsoft, IBM, and Netscape."
"Showcases the newest features of Flash 3-the winner of various awards, including Editor's Choice 1998."
"Covers the new features of Flash 3, including animated buttons and shape morphing, standalone player, and much more!"
"Features a 32-page color insert that illustrates Web sites created using Flash 3."
"Flash 3 Web Animation is the only intermediate-level book available-competitor's titles only cover basic info."

"Includes a demo of Flash 3 with a tutorial and documentation files."
Provides numerous clipart that can be used in Web design.
Contains popular plug-ins for Flash.
"Includes all the files needed to complete the exercises with answers and examples of completed work."

"Ken Milburn is a photo-digital illustrator and freelance writer. He is coauthor of Converting Content for Web Publishing and author of Designing Web Pages withPageMill 2.0(New Riders). More than 250 of his articles/reviews have appeared in nationally renowned publications such as PCWorld and Mac User.

Janine Warner owns Vision Communication Technologies and has worked on Web sites for Century Theatres, ConnectMedia, and Doonesbury. Her credits include coauthor of Conversion Techniques for Web Publishing and Designing Web Pages with PageMill."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576103821
  • Publisher: Coriolis Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Edition description: BK&CD ROM
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.05 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Table of Contents

Shockwave and Dreamweaver get the press, but Macromedia offers yet another hugely valuable tool for web designers: Flash. Flash lets you animate using Illustrator-style vector graphics that eat up only a tiny fraction of the bandwidth bitmaps do. Nowadays, the Flash viewer is built into Netscape, IE, the browser AOL, even Web TV — plus, 40 million folks have downloaded it — so your work will get viewed.

And it will be cool. This book will show you how to do remarkable web animations even if you aren't an experienced animator. Learn how to animate clip art — even clip art that started life as a bitmap. Master tweening, the fine art of drawing two frames and letting Flash do all the work in between. Use Flash's cool guide layers and motion guide layers — in essence, drawing a track for your artwork to glide along. Mere mortals can do this stuff, and for sophisticated designers, well, see for yourself. The book's full-color sample pages are gorgeous, from logos to virtual marimbas to the official Olympic site.

Putting the web aside for a nanosecond, you'll also discover how to use Flash as a super-easy rough sketching tool, then move your sketches into an illustration program — and save loads of time.

You can tell that the authors of FLASH 3 WEB ANIMATION F/X AND DESIGN love this tool. Once you read this book (and fool with the trial version of Flash 3 on CD), you will, too.

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Introduction

Introduction

In the time since Janine Warner and I wrote the original book on Macromedia's Flash, The Flash 2 Web Animation Book, both the program and its user base have grown and matured enormously. Needed features, such as transparent objects and animated buttons, have been added. The already superfriendly user interface has become even more so. The requirement that viewers must install a plug-in before viewing Flash content on the Web is on its way to oblivion. The Flash player is built into all current versions of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, the AOL browser, and the Web-TV browser. Flash au-thors can now distribute their productions freely for offline use as well.

You should find this book useful whether you're an advanced multimedia author or a beginner in interactive computer graphics. The nature of Flash 3 is part of the reason for this. Everything you need is built into the program: drawing tools, artificial intelligence to help you draw, an animation studio, and a hearty (if not ultimately sophisticated) set of interactive capabilities.

You'll realize quickly that Flash is equally useful for still graphics, offline presentations, and multimedia titles, as well as for its strong reputation as a Web animation tool.

Look, Ma, No More World Wide Wait

If you're not familiar with Flash or why it's generated so much industry buzz, it's because the program has revolutionized the method and speed of graphics delivery on the Web. It accomplishes this through two well-established technologies: vector graphics and streaming media.

Until Flash came along, the standards for Web graphics (whether static or animated) were based on bitmapped formats. Bitmaps are rows and columns (called rasters) of individually colored dots, and computers must store and interpret data for each of these dots (called pixels). Vector graphics store formulas for creating geometric shapes. Computers interpret these formulas, which allow graphics to be drawn at any size and resolution. Because less data is required to store the formula information, pictures can race across the Web at much higher speeds.

Streaming technology causes animation frames to begin playing as soon as enough frames have been received to allow the animation to play smoothly while the rest of the frames arrive.

What This Book Covers

This book teaches you how to use Flash 3's new features, as well as the program's basics. I've included late-breaking information about how to use the Tell Target feature. I'll also introduce you to working with some of the Macromedia programs that supplement Flash: FreeHand (an advanced vector-illustration program), InstaHTML (which converts FreeHand vector drawings and text into HTML), Fireworks (a program for preparing bitmapped graphics for the Web and Flash), and Dream-weaver (a Web-authoring program). Janine Warner tells you how to use the HTML tags needed to place Flash content on Web pages, as well as how to avoid having to write HTML code. She also presents case studies of three sites that use Flash technology to reach diverse goals.

There are some things this book doesn't cover. This isn't a book for programmers, so there's no in-depth discussion about how to write Java, JavaScript, or ActiveX code, which can interface with Flash. Also, we don't cover the nitty-gritty of creating code for Flash Generator.

Conventions Used In This Book

We deferred to the conventions used in Macromedia's documentation when deciding what terminology to use to describe Flash's features.

Though the terms sound synonymous, we make a distinction between telling you to choose something and telling you to select something. The word choose is always associated with a tool or a menu command; in other words, you are choosing to make a specific thing happen. The word select is always associated with designating the object of your choice. So, for instance, you select a line, shape, layer, or frame.

Flash 3 is full of menus, some of which are found on the menu bar. Others are located on layer bars, attached to frames, and so forth. We preface a menu command with its location. For instance, "from the Frames menu, choose…" Commands that are on cascading or hierarchical menus are given in the sequence in which they are encountered, and they are separated by pipe characters (vertical bars). For example, Modify|Style|Plain.

Both Flash 3 and this book are meant to be accessible to Macintosh and Windows users. For that reason, all keyboard shortcuts are given with the Mac key name first, followed by the Windows key name. The two are divided by a slash (/). The equivalent keys are Cmd/Ctrl, Opt/Alt, and Delete/Backspace. Keys that are identical to both systems (such as Shift, space, or any of the alphanumeric keys) are given only once.

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