How To Do Everything With Macromedia Flash 5

"Breaks Down The Whole Process And Simplifies It!"

| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product

Title: How To Do Everything With Macromedia Flash 5
Bonnie Blake
Osborne McGraw-Hill
Publication Date:
March 2001
Pages: 512

How To Do Everything with Macromedia Flash 5 is a no nonsense book that reviews what Flash does, how you would benefit from using Flash, and how you would go about using it the right way. It simplistically hones in on the salient points of the software, while leaving you with a thorough understanding of all Flash topics. Each chapter is clearly written and well illustrated. It is an easy read, and the basic Flash information is simple to absorb as the author breaks down the whole process and simplifies it. The book covers the latest upgrades, such as compressing and transmitting complex elements like MP3 audio, object library features, movie clips, and interactivity over low bandwidth. For advanced Flash users, there are excellent chapters on ActionScripts and building interactive movies. Understanding object-oriented programming and learning to use ActionScript are
vital elements for advanced Flash work, and these sections provide a solid foundation on which to build.
The book doesn't come with a CD, but it does include a 23-page index, and an appendix listing a Flash sites that offer developer assistance, code examples, and links to Flash sites on the Web.

User Level
Advanced beginning to advanced computer users. The book addresses both ends of the learning spectrum. It's perfect for the beginner who needs a book that cuts through the pedantic analysis and focuses on the point; while the advanced Flash designer can use it as an easy to look-up reference.

Inside you'll find information on the following:

  • Easily master Macromedia Flash tools and get started on your motion Web graphics;
  • Understand the functionality of this popular application, and learn how it can improve your Web site;
  • Animate buttons, menus, text, and more;
  • Use scalable vector Web objects to facilitate faster loading and reading;
  • Add multimedia enhancements like dynamic content, forms, MP3 audio compression, object library features, actions, and more;
  • Learn the latest Macromedia Flash technologies, including adding interactivity to your movie with ActionScript;
  • make easy modifications to movies using editable graphic components;
  • Synchronize sound with your motion graphics;
  • Import and manipulate audio, video, vector, and bitmap graphics to further enhance your Flash movies;
  • Export and publish your Macromedia Flash movies to the Web or to self-playing movies.
Product Analysis

How The Book Is Organized

How To Do Everything with Macromedia Flash 5 consists of: an Introduction; 16 chapters and appendixes; and is divided into four parts. The chapter subjects are arranged in order of complexity, starting with the more basic aspects of Flash and building up to the final chapters, which examine the programs' advanced features, specifically interactivity. Throughout the book there are examples of various techniques that can be created in Flash movies. All the major figures in the book are posted on Osborne's Web site at:


Introduction: The book begins with a special Introduction which includes an overview of the book.

  Part I: Create Flash Movies

Chapters 1 through 4 are designed to give you an overview of what Flash is all about, its vector capabilities, why it's so essential, and the process you use to actually build a movie in Flash. They set the stage for the rest of the book and familiarizes you with basic Flash lingo and concepts. This part of the book also covers the basic drawing tools, the Flash interface, and how to use it.

  • Chapter 1: Plan Your Flash Project--covers: Understand Flash Concepts; Publish Flash Movies; Create or Import Artwork; Animate Your Artwork; Publish Your Movies on the Web; Use the Document Library; and Edit Flash Preferences.
  • Chapter 2: Learn to use the Flash Interface--covers: Grasp the Stage Concept; Navigate Through Time; Layer Your Flash Objects; and Set Onion Skin Options.
  • Chapter 3: Build a New Flash 5 Movie--covers: Create a New Flash Document; Set Properties for Your New Movie; Save a Flash Document; Open an Existing Flash Document; Create Scenes for Your Movies; Navigate Your Movie; and Manage Your Movies with the Movie Explorer.
  • Chapter 4: Create Graphic Objects for Your Flash Movies--covers: Use the Toolbox; Use the Stroke Panel; Draw Lines and Curves; Create Basic Shapes; Combine Shapes to Create New Objects; and Change Your Viewpoint.
Part II: Add Color, Style, and Design to Your Flash Movies

Chapters 5 through 9 introduce the very important concept of creating objects in Flash and manipulating the properties of these elements, such as scale, color, position, and so on. Also discussed are the transformation of objects and the many special techniques you can use to create visual effects. Importing and exporting vector art, bitmaps, audio, and video are examined in detail as well. This part provides you with a solid overview of all facets of beginner to intermediate Flash and provides an excellent reference for experienced Flash authors.

  • Chapter 5: Create Exciting Text Effects--covers:Input and Edit Text; Change the Look of Your Text; Transform Your Text into an Object; and Create Text Fields with Form-like Behavior.
  • Chapter 6: Apply Transformations to Text and Graphics--covers: Change the Properties of an Object; Use the Transformation Panel; Control the Stacking Order of Objects; Arrange Objects on the Stage; Group and Ungroup Objects; and Get Details about Objects and Movies.
  • Chapter 7: Apply Color and Line Styles to Text and Graphics--covers: Use Color in Flash; Apply Colors to Graphics and Text; Modify Fills; Set Colors with Color Panels; Apply Gradient Color; Modify Gradients; and Apply a Style and Weight to Lines.
  • Chapter 8: Use Graphic Symbols, Instances, and Libraries--covers: Create Graphic Symbols; Convert Objects to Symbols; Edit Symbols; Nest Symbols; Place Instances; Edit Instances; Set Color with the Effects Panel; Modify Instances with the Instance Panel; Navigate the Movie Explorer; Use the Common Library; and Use the Library Window.
  • Chapter 9: Add Pictures and Sound to Your Flash Movies--covers: Understand Graphics Created in Other Programs; Import Graphics into Your Flash Movie; Import File Sequences; Use Vector Graphics; Use Bitmapped Images; Import and Assign Sounds; Access Sound from the Sound Library; and Link a Sound.
Part III: Flash Animation Techniques

Chapter 10 through 13 cover all facets of animation including frame by frame, shape, and motion tweening. The concept behind animation is also discussed in depth. Symbols are introduced in this section including buttons and movie clip creation. Step-by-step, tutorial-like examples are provided to accelerate your learning curve. Key figures are posted on the Web site for you to deconstruct and examine.

  • Chapter 10: Learn the Basics of Flash Animation--covers: Think Like an Animator; Plan Your Movie; Animate on Different Time Sequences; Animate on Different Layers; Make Keyframes; Create Frame-by-Frame Animations; Test Your Animation; and Set Onion Skins.
  • Chapter 11: Use Motion Tweening to Animate Your Flash Movie--covers: Make a Simple Motion Tween; Add and Remove Frames on a Motion Tween; Tween with Multiple Keyframes; Change Size, Rotation, Skew, and Color on a Motion Tween; Control Frames and Framesets in a Motion Tween; Copy and Paste Frames; Use the Frames Panel for Motion Tween Settings; Animate on a Guided Path; and Use a Mask Layer with a Motion Tween.
  • Chapter 12: Use Shape Tweening to Animate a Movie--covers: Create a Shape Tween; Shape Tween with Multiple Keyframes; Modify Properties of a Shape Tween; Tween on a Multi-Layer Movie; Morph Between Objects; Apply Shape Hints; and Set Shape Tween Properties.
  • Chapter 13: Make Buttons and Movie Clips in Flash--covers: Make a Button; Test a Button; Add Sound to a Button; Add Simple Effects to a Button; Make a Movie Clip; Add Sound to a Movie Clip; and Make an Animated Button.
  Part IV: Build Interactive Movies

Chapters 14 through 16 look at ActionScript, the scripting language behind Flash interactivity. It's introduced in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. This information is particularly useful for the non-programmer because scripting concepts are discussed in laymen's terms. This makes it fairly easy for you to jump right in and immediately start adding simple interactivity to your movies. For those of you who are ready to take Actionscript to the next level, Chapters 14 and 15 provide a more advanced study of the language, providing step-by-step instructions on how to create common interactive effects, with some complex tasks reviewed as well. Movie clips and their relation to interactivity are also examined in depth. Finally, this section ends with a complete synopsis on how to prepare your movie for publishing to the Web or other media.

  • Chapter 14: Assign ActionScript to Movie Clips, Buttons, and Frames--covers: Understand Object-Oriented Programming; Navigate the Actions Panel; Assign an Action to a Frame; Control Frames on the Main Timeline with Buttons; Assign Scripts on Buttons; Control the Behavior of a Movie Clip with a Button Event Handler; Understand Nested Movie Clips; Understand Absolute Versus Relative Paths; Use Dot and Slash Syntax; and Use Movie Clip Event Handlers.
  • Chapter 15: Learn the Full Power of ActionScript--covers: Work with Variables; Create a Drag-and-Drop Effect; Set the Position of a Movie Clip; Make Objects Collide; Use Conditional Statements (If/Else); Use the getProperty Function; Use Smart Clips; and Create a Basic Preloader.
  • Chapter 16: Test and Publish Your Flash Movies--covers: Optimize Your Movie; Test Your Movies in Flash; Use the Flash Player; Interpret the Bandwidth Profiler; Test with Different Baud Rates; Debug a Movie; Test in Different File Formats; Export Your Movie; Publish Your Movie; Use Projector Files; and Evaluate Your Movie.

  • Appendix A: Flash 5 Shortcut Keyboard Commands--this appendix has a complete list of all shortcut keys.
  • Appendix B: Flash 5 Resource Guide--this appendix has a list of various resources you can call upon related to Flash technology. This includes a comprehensive list of Flash-based, award-winning Web sites--sites that range from the simple to complex and ActionScript-driven movies. This appendix is equipped with a complete list of sites you can visit to download source code to see how others might have created that effect you're looking for. Also included are learning resources, technical references, tutorials, and sites that offer audio, sound loops, and video downloads for use in Flash movies.
Final Comments
How To Do Everything with Macromedia Flash 5 would be a worthwhile addition to your library. For the price, this book really does do everything. It breaks down the whole process and simplifies it.
System Requirements

For running Flash 5, you need:


  • 133 MHz Intel Pentium processor
  • Windows 95, 98, NT 4, 2000 or later
  • 32 MB or RAM
  • 40 MB of available disk space
  • 256-color monitor capable of 800 x 600 resolution
  • CD-ROM drive


  • Power Macintosh
  • MacOS 8.5 or later
  • 32 MB of free application RAM
  • 40 MB of available disk space
  • 256-color monitor capable of 800 x 600 resolution
  • CD-ROM drive
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop 6.0
Web Page Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0
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