31 August 2009
The following five-minute video presentations are geared to help you get the most out of learning Flash CS4 Professional.
In "Exploring the Flash CS4 workspace," I review the main elements of the Flash workspace (Stage, Timeline, layers, etc.) and cover the basics steps you need to follow to publish your files for the web.
Before you can start structuring content and creating animations, you need to understand the basics of working with the Timeline panel. In "Working with timelines," I explain key Timeline concepts and best practices so you can create animations, work with symbols, and run routine tasks in Flash.
Once you're comfortable with the concept of a timeline, you're ready to jump into the concept of implementing multiple timelines using symbols and instances. In "Symbols, instances, and the Library Panel," I demo workflow advantages of creating and editing symbols, working with instances, and navigating the Library panel.
Understanding symbols and the Library panel naturally leads to the topic of animation. In "Creating animation," I demo the new motion workflow and Motion Editor by creating symbols, activating motion tweens, bending motion guides, and copying motion presets. I provide a sample file you can play with as you learn these techniques.
Finally, once you've figured out animation and the Flash workspace, the next logical step is to start working with ActionScript—the scripting language of Flash—and capturing user interactivity. In "Buttons, ActionScript, and interactivity," I show you how to build a button in Flash, capture user interactions, and use ActionScript 3 to add event listener and handlers. Again, I provide a sample file you can work with as you learn these techniques. It's not that hard; just watch what I do.
Enjoy the videos!
The first thing to do when learning Flash is to learn the context of the workspace. Doing so will allow you to get started quickly and use the tools in a meaningful way. In this video I take you on a tour through the Flash CS4 workspace. Along the way, you'll explore the need-to-know elements in the user interface such as the Stage, the Timeline panel, and the Properties panel. I also discuss workflow essentials such as understanding the Flash file types and the general process for publishing a Flash file (SWF file).
In the world of Flash development, a timeline is a container that you can use both for animation and organizing content. Understanding how timelines work and relate to one another is a core skill in Flash for both designers and developers. This video shows you how to work with Flash timelines and organize assets in your FLA file.
Symbols are reusable objects that act as the basis for animation and content organization in a published Flash file (SWF file). Each symbol exists in the Library and acts as a separate editing area with its own coordinate space and timeline. You can use instances of symbols repeatedly to build simple or complex SWFs. This video shows you the basic steps involved in creating a symbol, creating instances of a symbol, and modifying properties on an instance and globally within the symbol. I also touch on how to use the Library panel to organize assets.
Creating web-based animations has long been a strength of Flash. A SWF can create a "tween" animation which automatically builds the animation of the property changes of an instance placed on the Timeline. This video demonstrates how to create a motion tween animation using the new Flash CS4 object-based tweening features. I also touch on saving animations and reusing them using the new Motion Presets panel. Use the sample file as you learn these techniques.
Another strength of Flash is its ability to create interactive environments by combining graphic elements, symbols, and ActionScript. Flash currently uses the ActionScript 3 scripting language, which provides a simple and consistent way to respond to events generated from objects in the SWF. This video shows you how to capture user interactivity by responding to a button click. This simple example demonstrates the event handling pattern used for all objects in ActionScript 3. Use the sample file as you watch my demo.
Now that you have a better understanding of the Flash user interface, symbols, and assigning an event handler in ActionScript, you have the power to respond to and synchronize all elements in the published Flash file.
As a next step, explore the various ActionScript 3 samples for Flash CS4 Professional. These samples demonstrate various features common in Flash development. While some are complete applications, others simply introduce a concept that you can use to build your own apps.