Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Flash CS4 Professional in 24 Hours

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In just 24 lessons of one hour or less, you can learn how to design, create, and deploy high-impact graphics and animation with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional.

Using this book’s straightforward, step-by-step approach, you’ll master the skills and technologies you need, from creating interactivity and animation to optimizing and publishing your Flash movies on the Web.

Each lesson builds on what you’ve already learned, giving you a ...

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Overview

<>
In just 24 lessons of one hour or less, you can learn how to design, create, and deploy high-impact graphics and animation with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional.

Using this book’s straightforward, step-by-step approach, you’ll master the skills and technologies you need, from creating interactivity and animation to optimizing and publishing your Flash movies on the Web.

Each lesson builds on what you’ve already learned, giving you a rock-solid foundation for real-world success!

• Full-color figures and clear step-by-step instructions visually show you how to use Flash.

• Quizzes and Exercises at the end of each chapter help you test your knowledge.

• Notes, Tips, and Cautions provide related information, advice, and warnings.

Learn how to…

• Make the most of the updated Flash interface, including its new Motion tools

• Draw and paint original art in Flash

• Use layers and the Library to efficiently organize your content

• Build animations using shape tweening, Flash CS4’s new motion tweening, and advanced inverse kinematics

• Create special effects with shapes, filters, and the new Deco Tool

• Add interactivity to your Flash movies

• Integrate a wide spectrum of audio and video content

• Use ready-built components to create sophisticated content without programming

• Get started with ActionScript 3

• Publish your movies to the Web

• Design modular Flash sites that load quickly and perform well

Phillip Kerman is an internationally recognized expert on the use of the Web and multimedia for training and entertainment. He has frequently presented at Macromedia and Adobe user conferences, and has taught Flash and other Adobe Web development technologies to working web professionals worldwide.

Lynn Beighley, a freelance web programmer and designer, has written several Flash, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop books and training CDs. She has worked at Los Alamos National Labs, Palm, and Yahoo! Her dynamic Flash advertisements have appeared on Yahoo!’s home page.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780672330414
  • Publisher: Sams
  • Publication date: 6/8/2009
  • Series: Sams Teach Yourself Series
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 481
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillip Kerman is an independent programmer, teacher, and writer, who specializes in the Adobe Flash platform. He has trained and made presentations around the world, in such exotic locations as Reykjavik, Iceland; Melbourne, Australia; Amsterdam, Holland; and McAlester, Oklahoma. He has programmed several games on MSN and Messenger Live, including Sudoku Too and Jigsaw Too, as well as the real-time cattle auction site stampedecattle.com. Phillip is also the author of Macromedia Flash @work, Flash MX 2004 for Rich Internet Applications, and ActionScripting in Flash MX from New Riders Publishing.

Lynn Beighley is a freelance author, web designer, and web developer. After going back to school to get a Masters in Computer Science, she worked for the acronyms NRL and LANL. Then, she discovered Flash and wrote her first bestseller. A victim of bad timing, she moved to Silicon Valley just before the great crash. She spent several years working for Yahoo! and writing other books and training courses. Upon discovering that technical book writing actually paid real money, she learned to accept and enjoy it. Finally giving in to her creative writing bent, she moved to the New York area to get an MFA in creative writing. She currently creates Flash animations and applications that range from the ridiculous to the sublime.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

What’s New in This Edition

Who Should Read This Book

How This Book Is Organized

What’s on the Book’s Website

Part I: Assembling the Graphics You’ll Animate in Flash

HOUR 1: Basics

Jump Right In and Make an Animation

Getting Your Bearings

Getting Around in Flash

Document Properties

File Types

HOUR 2: Drawing and Painting Original Art in Flash

Drawing on the Stage

Tools

Selecting and Transforming Objects

HOUR 3: Importing Graphics into Flash

Vector Graphics Versus Raster Graphics

Reasons to Avoid Importing Graphics

Importing Vector Graphics

Using Bitmaps (Also Known as Raster Graphics)

HOUR 4: Staying Organized with the Library and Layers

The Concept of the Library

Using the Library

Using Symbols from the Library

HOUR 5: Controlling Color

Using Blends and Filters

Creating and Saving Color Swatches

HOUR 6: Applied Layout Techniques

Setting Text

Applied Examples Using Color Styles, Blends, and Filters

Part II: Animating in Flash

HOUR 7: Understanding Animation

How Animation Works

Elements of Animation

HOUR 8: Using Motion Tweens to Animate

Creating a Motion Tween

Fine-Tuning a Motion Tween

HOUR 9: Using Shape Tweens to Morph

Making a Shape Tween

Refining and Fine-Tuning a Shape Tween

HOUR 10: Advanced Animation with Inverse Kinematics

Linking Symbols with the Bone Tool

Animating the Armature

HOUR 11: Simulating 3D Animation

Creating a 3D Movie Clip

Moving Objects with the 3D Translation Tool

Rotating Objects with the 3D Rotation Tool

HOUR 12: Reusing Your Animations with Motion Presets

The Motion Presets Panel

Applying an Existing Motion Preset

Editing an Existing Preset with the Motion Editor Panel

HOUR 13: Including Sound in Animations

Importing Sounds

Using Sounds

Controlling Quality and File Size

HOUR 14: Nesting Animations in Movie Clip and Graphic Symbols

Movie Clip Symbol Behavior

Subtleties of Movie Clips

HOUR 15: Creating Special Effects

Effects with Shapes

Splatter Movie Clips with the Spray Brush Tool

Using Filters for Special Effects

Masking Effects

Part III: Adding Interactivity and Video

HOUR 16: Basic Interactivity

Basic ActionScript

Making Simple Buttons

Listening for Events

HOUR 17: Introducing Components

What Is a Component?

Using the Button Component

Using the RadioButton Component

Changing Component Appearances

HOUR 18: Using Components

Using Data Providers

Working with Other Components

HOUR 19: Using Video

Embedding Video Versus Playing External Video

Using Video

3D Animation with Video

Part IV: Putting It All Together for the Web

HOUR 20: Linking a Movie to the Web

Basic Publishing

Simple Hyperlinks

Using Style Sheets

What Other Web Tasks Can Flash Do?

Using Flash Inside a Larger Website

Uploading Files to a Web Server

HOUR 21: Designing a Website to Be Modular

Loading Movies or Images

Determining When a Movie Is Fully Loaded

Playing External Sounds

Loading External Text

HOUR 22: Minimizing File Size

File Size Considerations

HOUR 23: Optimizing Performance

Measuring Performance

Impacts on Performance

HOUR 24: Publishing a Creation

How to Publish

Adding Metadata to Your Flash Creation

Choosing Which Version to Publish

Deciding Which Media Types to Publish

Exporting Other Media Types

Index

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Preface

Introduction

Adobe is not exaggerating when it says that Flash CS4 Professional is the “industry-leading authoring environment for creating engaging interactive experiences.” You only need to visit a few sites that use Flash to understand how compelling it is. Using graphics, animation, sound, and interactivity, Flash can excite, teach, entertain, and provide practical information.

With this version of Flash, Adobe has introduced some valuable new features, as well as further integrated Flash CS4 into its suite of products. That’s a powerful thing—when products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks can be used to help you create graphics for use in your Flash movies. This interoperability only increases as time goes on.

More than half a billion users already have the free Flash player that enables them to view Flash movies. As of the writing of this book, more than 95% of computers connected to the Internet not only had Flash Player version 9, but more than 55% have the latest version, Flash Player 10. The fact that Adobe continues to distribute this software so effectively means the potential audience for Flash content is huge and continues to grow.

The tools needed to create Flash movies are within your reach. After you purchase Flash, the only investment you need to make is time to learn. You can even download a trial version of Flash from http://www.adobe.com, and use it for 30 days for free. People can grow from fiddling with Flash to making entertaining movies. Imagine a great musician picking up and learning an instrument in a matter of days. It really is that amazing. If you’re motivated, with just a moderate time investment, you feel as though a powerful communication tool has been given to you.

Flash is so unique that sometimes it’s better to have less experience. If you have preconceived ideas about Flash or how you’re supposed to use drawing tools, it might be best to try to forget everything and start fresh. This book is organized in such a way that you should start seeing successes quickly. With each task, you prove to yourself that you’re acquiring knowledge and skills.

We don’t need to give you a pep talk because you’ll see for yourself. In just a few one-hour lessons, you are creating drawings that you might have thought you weren’t capable of. In a few more hours, you are making animations. Finally, after 24 one-hour lessons, you are unstoppable. Where you take your skills is up to you, but you get a great foundation here.

You might not feel like a pro overnight, but you will feel you have a powerful communication tool in your control. When you can’t wait to show others your creations, you know you’re on your way. Get ready to have some fun!

What’s New in This Edition

This is the sixth edition of this book. To prevent the material from getting stale, we change quite a bit in each revision, as well as cover the new CS4 features with some depth. Unlike many other dramatic software upgrades, Adobe Flash CS4 Professional is not that different from the CS3 version. However, the way people use Flash and Flash in general has definitely broadened significantly. It’s not just Flash anymore; it’s the Flash Platform. Technologies, such as Apollo and the Flex Framework, have attracted a new set of developers all delivering Flash content. The CS4 upgrade is offers a few new tools, techniques, and further integrates with other Adobe CS4 products.

This edition doesn’t try to cover everything; there simply isn’t time to do that in 24 one-hour lessons. Instead, we focus on animation techniques, graphics, and delivering to the web. You also spend a whole hour exploring new features including video with the full-screen mode; Inverse Kinematics, the art of animating things connected to other things; and 3D animation.

This book contains minimal, but crucial, coverage of ActionScript. We try not to go too much in-depth, but we cover enough to give you an idea of how it works. ActionScript is an entire computer language on its own, and once you have a sense of how it works, you’ll be comfortable learning more using additional resources. ActionScript isn’t getting any less complex; it is becoming much more consistent. So, what you learn in the ActionScript introductory hour (Hour 16, “Basic Interactivity”) applies to the rest of the code you see pop up in the book. We do cover Flash Components—ready-built and self-contained objects that include advanced ActionScript code, but also keep you insulated from that code. This edition also includes hours that cover using basic ActionScript and Components.

ActionScript 3.0(AS3) is the latest version of ActionScript. You see AS3 in most of the code samples that appear in this book. But, in some cases, we show how to perform a task using AS2. Although AS3 is a cleaner version of the ActionScript language, it’s also less forgiving. Programmers generally like the strictness of AS3, but many intermediate Flash users prefer to do things the old way as in AS2 because they can successfully make moderately complex tasks work or they’d rather dig into AS3 at a later date. Don’t get hung up on which version of ActionScript appears here.

The most important point is that these 24 hours will get you started in Flash by developing good foundation skills. It’s easy to pick up bad habits in Flash, but you definitely get started on the right foot with this book.

Who Should Read This Book

New users to Flash should read this book first. If you’ve been doing Flash for a while and want to step back to make sure you’re headed in the right direction, you could find some gems throughout the book, but it might be tough to relearn the basics. If you’re someone who can learn on your own, you might think you don’t need a book like this, and, honestly, you might be right. But, this book moves quickly enough and provides tons of hands-on tasks that it’s worth investing the time to read 24 hour-long chapters. If you learn by doing, this is a good book for you. If you’re looking for any of the following Flash topics, they’re not covered here: writing class files in ActionScript 2.0 or ActionScript 3.0, developing content for mobile phones, using Flex Builder, building true 3D environments in Flash (although we do cover the new 3D tool), integrating with back-end web servers, or using Apollo. Some of these topics are mentioned in the book—but at best we only briefly discuss these more advanced topics.

How This Book Is Organized

This is a hands-on tutorial book. It’s not a project-based tutorial, however, because each task explores a single topic. Occasionally, you find a series of tasks that build upon one another. Generally, we introduce a topic, then, as quickly as possible, jump straight into a task where you get your hands dirty.

Throughout this book, you will see “Try It Yourself” sections. They are designed to take you through the steps of actually performing the tasks you have been reading about. Do not skip these sections. They usually provide additional information about the topic and are a great chance to practice the concepts.

At the end of each hour, we’ve included a Q&A (Question and Answer) section with common questions we’ve either heard from students or topics that could be confusing to new users. There’s also a quiz at the end of each hour. The goal of both the Q&A and quizzes is to provide an additional way to learn. There are lots of ways to learn, and these questions exercise a different part of your brain.

The book as a whole is organized in a linear manner. Later hours rely on the knowledge you acquire in earlier hours. The 24 hours are broken into four parts:

  • Part I: Assembling the Graphics You’ll Animate in Flash
  • Here you concentrate on getting the graphics to look exactly as you intend. It might seem like a lot to spend 25% of the book on static graphics, but the time is well spent as it makes your animations look better.

  • Part II: Animating in Flash
  • This is where you start moving things! You learn everything from 3D animation to tweening to Inverse Kinematics with the Bone tool. You also learn about valuable time-saving tools, like the Motion Preset Library and the Motion Editor.

  • Part III: Adding Interactivity and Video
  • In this part of the book, you take a big step into writing instructions so your Flash creations change based on the user’s input. Video is also covered here.

  • Part IV: Putting It All Together for the Web
  • Although it’s fun to create things inside Flash, you’ll want to put your creations online so your friends, family, and customers can see it. This part of the book shows you how, plus you learn some fine-tuning adjustments to optimize performance and download speeds.

What’s on the Book’s Website

Source files for tasks in the book can be found on the publisher’s website.

If you have trouble, you can see what the finished project looks like and investigate how it was built. We’ve also included media files, such as images, audio, and video, necessary to complete a few of the tasks.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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