Macromedia Flash 5 For Windows & Macintosh:
Visual QuickStart Guide

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Type of Book

coverTitle: Macromedia Flash 5 For Windows & Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide
Author: Katherine Ulrich
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Publication Date: October 19, 2000
Pages: 523
ISBN: 0-201-71614-3
Price: $21.99


Macromedia Flash 5 For Windows & Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide takes an easy, visual approach to teaching Macromedia Flash 5, using pictures to guide you through the software and show you what to do. It also works like a reference book in which you look up what you need and then get straight to work. You can start with the introduction to the basics of vector drawing, or go straight to the step-by-step instructions for creating Flash movies, incorporating sound, and adding other multimedia effects to your site. It is filled with screen shots and loaded with tips and techniques. To make it easier for you to follow along, Flash files containing the graphic elements that you need for each task in the cahpters are available on the Peachpit Web site: http://www/ The writer, Katherine Ulrich is a writer and editor specializing in graphics, publish, and multimedia software. Her career includes a 12-year stint at Macworld magazine, and she wrote the previous edition of Flash: Visual QuickStart Guide. The Peachpit Press site is one of my favorites. It is, like its books, visually appealing, and chock full of information, tips, tutorials, and interviews with authors.

User Level
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced users of Flash. This book is really excellent for all level users. It is easy enough for an individual to use to learn the program, but also valuable for more intermediate and advanced users who might use it for a quick reference. It will give anyone a thorough grounding in the basics of Macromedia's Flash 5 capabilities.

There are 16 chapters, starting with Flash basics--using the Flash editor, getting around the interface--and then covers simple graphics, complex graphics on one layer, complex graphics on multiple layers, using object libraries, and on through using different kinds of animation (motion tweening vs. shape tweening) and the animation of whole scenes. Finally, it focuses on how to use Flash 5 to create interactive actions; adding sound; optimizing the Flash movie; creating the necessary HTML code; and exporting a Flash movie to other formats.

Introduction--Discusses what makes Flash a special Web-design tool; streaming; how Flash animates; what's new; panel interface; shared libraries; cross-platform issues; keyboard shortcuts; and system requirements.

Chapter 1: The Flash Editor--This chapter presents a quick tour of the elements you see when you open a Flash document. It explores the Flash editor; the timeline; about the stage; using grids, rulers, and guides; working with snapping; about the Toolbox; using custom panel sets; and customizing keyboard shortcuts.

Chapter 2: Creating Simple Graphics--This chapter teaches you to use Macromedia Flash's drawing tools to create basic shapes from lines and solid colors or, in Flash terminology, strokes and fills. You learn about setting stroke and fill attributes; using such tools as the: line tool, oval and rectangle tools, pencil tool, pen tool, paint bucket, and text tool; setting text, character, and paragraph attributes.

Chapter 3: Modifying Simple Graphics--This chapter covers using the arrow, lasso, and shapessubselection tools to select and modify the elements you learned to make in Chapter 2. You also learn about using panels to modify elements' attributes. It demonstrates how to set selection preferences; select lines and fills with the arrow tool; use a selection rectangle; reposition elements manually and with the info panel; perform basic editing tasks such as cut, copy, and paste; moving end points with the arrow tool and the subselection tool; reshaping lines and curves; converting, removing, and adding points; using the Eraser tool; creating solid colors, gradients, and color sets; and converting lines to fills. See image to the right for view of shapes from downloaded file that you work with and create in Chapter 3.

Chapter 4: Complex Graphics on a Single Layer--In this chapter, you learn to work with the brush tool and the eraser tool. It covers working with grouped objects; controlling the stacking order; editing groups; aligning elements; using the complex paint modes with the brush; applying gradients to multipart shapes; and using the eraser tool with multiple shapes.

Chapter 5: Graphics on Multiple Layers--Working with layers is an important option in Flash, andmasks this chapter fully explores this feature. It focuses on: touring the timeline's layer features; creating and deleting layers; controlling layers via the dialog box and timeline; working with graphics on different layers; controlling the stacking order of layers; working with guide layers and mask layers; and cutting and pasting between layers. See image to the right for view of downloaded file showing masking.

Chapter 6: Saving and Reusing Graphic Objects--In previous chapters, you learned to create andlibrary edit static graphics. In this chapter you learn to work with libraries and to create symbols that are symbolsstatic graphics. The chapter covers: understanding the library window, the library window views, and the library hierarchy; converting graphics to symbols from scratch; using symbol instances; modifying symbol instances; swapping one symbol instance for another; editing, copying, and converting symbols; creating shared libraries; and using font symbols. See image to the left for a view of symbols in library of downloaded file, and the image to the right is a view of the library.

Chapter 7: Using Non-Flash Graphics--This chapter shows you how to import non-Flash graphics; use the clipboard to import graphics; turn bitmaps into vector graphics; use bitmaps as fills; modify bitmapped fills; and use the magic wand tool.

Chapter 8: Frame-by-Frame Animations--Frame-by-frame animations are discussed in detail here: using the timeline; creating keyframes and in-between frames; selecting frames and removing frames; manipulating frames in one layer; making a simple frame-by-frame animation; previewing the action; smoothing the animation by adding keyframes; using onionskinning; editing multiple frames; understanding frame rate; and varying the speed of animation.

Chapter 9: Animation with Motion Tweening--This chapter covers motion tweening. It focuses on: creating a bouncing ball with motion tweening; setting the tween property; ending a motion tween; adding keyframes to motion tweens; animating color effects; animating graphics that change size; rotating and spinning graphics; moving graphics in straight lines and along a path; orienting graphics to a motion path; and changing tween speed.

Chapter 10: Animation with Shape Tweening--This chapter covers shape tweening. It discusses: creating a bouncing ball with shape tweening; morphing simple lines and fills; shape-tweening multiple objects; transforming a simple shape into a complex shape; and creating shapes that move.

Chapter 11: More-Complex Animation Tasks--In this chapter, you learn to work with multiple layers in the timeline, stack animations on the various layers to create more-complex movement, and save animations as reusable aliments for easy manipulation--either as animated graphic symbols or as movie-clip symbols.

Chapter 12: Interactivity with Simple Frame Actions--In this chapter, you learn about the actions panel by assigning some simple actions to frames, using Flash's most-assisted scripting mode: normal. Learn to use the actions panel; organize actions; add actions to a frame; edit the actions list; use frame labels and comments; use stop actions; use go to actions;a and preview actions in action.

Chapter 13: Interactivity with Objects--In this chapter, you learn to create buttons and attach objectssimple actionscripts to buttons and movie clips. It discusses: creating a basic rollover button; previewing buttons in movie-editing mode; creating buttons that change shape and animated buttons; using on mouse event; creating buttons that respond to mouse events; triggering button actions from the keyboard; creating an invisible button and creating a button with multiple hot spots; adding actions to movie clips and previewing button and movie-clip actions in test mode. See image to right for a view of the library showing movie clips, buttons, and graphics in the downloaded file for Chapter 13.

Chapter 14: Adding Sound to Your Movies--This chapter's emphasis is on adding sound. You learn about: using sounds in Flash; importing sounds; organizing sounds in separate layers; adjusting sound-layer height; adding sounds to frames and to buttons; using event, start, and streaming sounds; and stopping, looping, and editing sounds.

Chapter 15: Introducing Complex Interactivity--This chapter takes you through some basic ping-pongconcepts that you need to create complex actions. It covers: using expressions and variables; using conditional actions; loading new files; controlling nested timelines; using FSC command; using SmartClips; and using the movie explorer. See image to the right for flattened view of a downloaded file for a ping-pong game.

Chapter 16: Delivering Movies to Your Audience--This chapter covers publishing and exporting options. It discusses: preparing your movie for optimal playback; publishing and exporting; working with Flash Player settings; publishing HTML for Flash Player files; controlling movie placement in browser; using HTML for alternative images; using other publish settings; creating projects; setting MIME types on your server; exporting Flash to other formats; printing from Flash; and printing from Flash player.

Appendix A: Keyboard Shortcuts--A list of shortcut commands.

Personal Comments
Macromedia Flash 5 For Windows & Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide is a vital learning tool for anyone who wants to create compositions using Flash 5. It's easy to read, and it gives you the information in a no-nonsense matter.
Graphics: Illustrator 8 & Adobe Photoshop 6.0
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0
Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series

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