12 April 2010
Whether you are a designer or developer—or you're excited about mobile application development—the latest version of Adobe Flash has something for everyone. Flash Professional CS5 centers on expressiveness, coding improvements, and workflow enhancements while supporting our broader initiative to enable designers and developers to create content and applications across desktop and mobile platforms.
A lot of passion and effort from the Flash team and many Flash users went into this release—and the results are evident with the cool new features available in Creative Suite 5.
Web and interactive designers will appreciate the new ways you can work with text in Flash Professional CS5. The new text engine (known as Text Layout Framework or TLF), enables you to set and edit text with complete typographical control. With the new TLF, you can perform advanced text styling such as kerning, ligatures, tracking, and leading. Advanced text-layout controls such as threaded text blocks, flowing text across multiple columns, and inline images are now supported, making it possible to work with text fluidly and quickly (see Figure 1).
If you work with Adobe InDesign to do text layout, your life just got much easier. Using InDesign CS5, you can now export to FLA (the native file format for Flash Professional CS5) and retain the integrity of your design as you interchange elements across applications.
TLF also supports advanced multilingual typographic and layout features. It supports horizontal and vertical text and bi-directional text input to work with languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. East Asian typography, including an East Asian justifier, is now supported, as well as Tate-Chu-Yoko (blocks of horizontal text embedded into vertical runs of text). Flash users around the world can deliver more creativity with increased efficiency by using the Text Layout Framework in Flash Professional CS5.
Flash Professional CS5 offers an improved XML-based FLA file. This support enables new workflows and offers greater flexibility when working on large Flash projects. The new FLA is a set of XML files and other assets (JPEG, GIF, MP3, WAV, etc.) saved into either a compressed (*.fla) file or an uncompressed (*.xfl) folder. Teams can manage and modify projects using source-control systems while collaborating on files more easily because you have direct access to the assets in a Flash project. For example, you can edit an asset with Adobe Photoshop and it will update instantly on the Stage in Flash Professional CS5.
Adobe InDesign and Adobe After Effects can also export files in the new XFL format, so that you can start a project in another application first, and then continue building it in Flash CS5.
Since its inception, animation has always been the hallmark of Flash. The launch of Flash Professional CS4 was a breakthrough release in 2008, offering an iterative workflow approach to provide motion designers greater control and flexibility. In Flash Professional CS5, the Flash team took animation a step farther by integrating a physics engine into the inverse kinematics (IK) system. This offers an extraordinarily easy way to create lifelike animations at author time or runtime.
There are several new features for animation.
Spring is a property of an IK Bone element, and it has two new attributes:
Strength (the amount of Spring) and
Damping (the amount of resistance value to Strength). Whether you're animating arrows for a tour, bobbing heads in a crowd, a soaring flock of birds, or an instructional animated cross-section showing how parts slide in or out of a gadget, the Spring for bones feature enables you to tell a better story with animation that can be created quickly and realistically (see Figure 2).
Several new scripts have been added to the Decorative Drawing tool in Flash Professional CS5. The new Deco Brush tools and added functionality enable you to draw shapes and apply advanced animation effects easily. These include the Particle system, Decorated brush, 3D brush, Tree brush, Lightning brush, Fire animation, Smoke animation, Building brush, Flame brush, and Flower brush effects. The Particle system enables you to create the effect of rain, fog, smoke, steam or other dynamic phenomena using a range of controls and properties. The 3D and Building brushes and their associated properties make it easier than ever before to build a 3D environment. Trees, bushes, flowers and vines can be instantly drawn in and around objects to create a more natural environment. These scripts demonstrate the power of the Deco engine, which allows you to create your own custom brush (see Figure 3).
Onstage video scrubbing and an enhanced cue point workflow are key improvements to Flash Professional CS5. You can now scrub and preview video directly on the Stage to facilitate working with videos that have alpha transparency. When you select a video object on the Stage, you can now use the Property inspector to find and add (or delete) cue points from the video—including specifying the time by increasing or decreasing the timecode values. Because Flash Professional CS5 includes Adobe Media Encoder, you can convert just about any video file format to FLV or F4V (see Figure 4).
If you write code, you're really going to enjoy several new Flash Professional CS5 features, including the ability to easily add interactivity with ActionScript code snippets. The Code Snippets panel includes code for common features, such as timeline navigation, actions, animation, audio, video and event handlers. Newcomers to Flash Professional CS5 and the ActionScript language can reduce their learning curve because the code snippets include helpful comments and clear instructions right in the code. Advanced users can also take advantage of the code snippets extensibility by inserting and saving custom code snippets to support your own programming style or by archiving specialized or commonly used code (see Figure 5).
With Flash Professional CS5, you'll enjoy a more streamlined development environment using an improved ActionScript editor that supports custom class code hinting and code completion, as well as automatic writing of the import statement for libraries.
Flash Professional CS5 offers even more timesaving features when you are working on Flash projects with Adobe Flash Builder 4. Launch ActionScript 3 files from Flash Professional CS5 and edit them in Flash Builder 4, or edit ActionScript code directly within Flash Builder and then test, debug, and publish it in Flash. Both workflows save time, and together they provide a more cohesive development environment.
Mobile phones and popular handheld devices have not only caught the attention of consumers, but of Flash users who want to author and deliver content for these mobile platforms. Flash Professional CS5 has a new Packager for iPhone preview (which is also part of the Adobe AIR SDK) that enables you to create applications for the Apple iPhone*.
The truly exciting news here is that with the release of Adobe Flash Player 10.1, consumers can take advantage of the same Flash Player features on mobile devices as they do on the desktop. This allows designers and developers using Flash Professional CS5 to create content and applications that can be distributed across desktop and mobile platforms (see Figure 6).
For companies interested in web analytics, the Omniture Test & Target and SiteCatalyst extensions are now available as panels within Flash Professional CS5. The Test & Target downloadable extension enables you to easily create and manage Flash content variations for online marketing campaigns directly from your creative workflow. The Omniture SiteCatalyst extension provides real-time intelligence about online marketing initiatives, identifying the success criteria from active campaigns. In order to use these Flash Professional CS5 extensions properly, you must have Omniture installed at your site.
Flash Professional CS5 comes complete with features, enhancements, performance, and quality improvements that make it a must-have offering for designers and developers. The new tools enable you to design with expression, write code quickly and easily, and deliver in fewer steps to virtually any type of screen. The Flash team at Adobe hopes you'll take a closer look at the new CS5 release, and we welcome your continued input for future releases.
To learn more about this release, check out the following resources: