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Flash CS3: The Missing Manual

Flash animations make the Web come alive -- from fun little clips, to interactive tutorials, to full-up games, and now video as well.

Yet multimedia development with Flash -- now up to Adobe Flash CS3 Professional -- can be a new experience, whether you are approaching it from a background in graphics art (i.e., Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) or from digital media (i.e., Adobe Premiere Pro and Encore DVD).

First, the terminology is similar, but different -- with timelines and layers and frames, but also scenes and stages. And there's the mix of develop styles -- visual drag and drop and/or full-up programming with ActionScript.

As a result, teaching Flash so it makes sense to a new user requires a delicate touch -- you need to explain this larger context and nomenclature before you can dive in to the gory details.

And Flash CS3: The Missing Manual by E. A. Vander Veer and Chris Grover, veteran Missing Manual authors, does the job well, living up to the well-deserved reputation of this David Pogue series.

The key is in how the book gets you started. The Introduction provides a nice overview of what Flash can be used for, and the basics of making animations. Part 1 starts with a tour of the Flash application, and then dives in to a simple example of creating drawings and making simple animations of them. Without much fuss, you're working with layers and even tweening, so that this overwhelmingly complicated tool has somehow been demystified (a different book series) and now seems actually possible to work with.

Part 2 continues on into advanced drawing and animation, with effects and included graphics, sound, and video. And Part 3 then dives in to adding interactivity, with some ActionScript, text input, and design with components. (There's not a lot more about video and programming in this book, but there's certainly enough to get you started.)

Part 4 then details how to publish and export your animations, but also with careful attention to testing and debugging strategies to make sure things really do work the way you expect them to.

The Appendixes have tips on installing Flash and getting help and more information, and a menu-by-menu reference to the software.

Like other Missing Manual books, there's no CD-ROM with the book, which reduces the cover price. Instead, the sample files used in the book are posted online for downloading.

Find Flash CS3: The Missing Manual book on Amazon.com
Find Adobe Flash CS3 Professional software on Amazon

Contents and more on Adobe Flash CS3 Professional below ...

The Adobe Flash CS3 Professional was released with the rest of the Adobe CS3 suite in April 2007.

New features include:

- Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator import with full layers
- Animation conversion to ActionScript for editing and reuse
- Consistent Adobe interface
- New ActionScript version 3.0 development
- Advanced ActionScript debugger
- Adobe Device Central CS3 to preview and test content for mobile devices
- Rich drawing capabilities, with smart shape drawing tools, Pen tool for precise vector illustrations
- Built-in interactive user interface components
- Advanced QuickTime export with nested clips, runtime effects
- Sophisticated video tools for import and encoding, plus cue points, closed captioning
- Timesaving code editing tools including error navigation feature

For more on the CS3 suite, see Adobe Creative Suite 3: Summary

Flash CS3: The Missing Manual

by E. A. Vander Veer, Chris Grover

O'Reilly / Pogue Press, May 25, 2007, $34.99
Paperback, 527 pages, ISBN 0596510446



Part One: Creating a Flash Animation

Chapter 1: Getting Around Flash
- Starting Flash
- A Tour of the Flash Desktop
- Toolbars, Panels, The Timeline
- The Flash CS3 Test Drive
- Opening a Flash File

Chapter 2: Creating Simple Drawings
- Planning Pays Off
- Preparing to Draw
- Creating Original Artwork
- Copying and Pasting Drawn Objects
- Adding Color

Chapter 3: Animating Your Drawings
- Frame-by-Frame Animation
- Adding Layers to Your Animation
- Animating Automatically (Tweening)

Part Two: Advanced Drawing and Animation

Chapter 4: Organizing Frames and Layers
- Working with Frames
- Adding Content to Multiple Layers
- Viewing Layers
- Working with Layers
- Organizing Layers

Chapter 5: Advanced Drawing and Coloring
- Selecting Graphic Elements
- Manipulating Graphic Elements
- Adding Text to Your Drawing
- Advanced Color and Fills
- Creating Custom Colors
- Saving Color Swatches
- Importing a Custom Color Palette
- Copying Color with the Eyedropper

Chapter 6: Adding Special Effects
- Built-in Timeline Effects
- Spotlight Effect Using Mask Layers

Chapter 7: Reusable Flash: Symbols and Templates
- Symbols and Instances
- Templates

Chapter 8: Incorporating Non-Flash Media Files
- Incorporating Graphics
- Incorporating Sound
- Incorporating Video

Part Three: Adding Interactivity

Chapter 9: Automating Flash with ActionScript
- How ActionScript Works
- Adding an Action
- Adding a Prebuilt Behavior

Chapter 10: Controlling Animation
- Slowing Down (or Speeding Up) Animation
- Organizing an Animation
- Looping a Series of Frames
- Reversing a Series of Frames

Chapter 11: Interacting with Your Audience
- Dynamic Text
- Input Text
- Tying Actions to Events

Chapter 12: Components for Interactivity
- The Built-in Components
- Adding Components
- Customizing Components
- Finding Additional Components

Part Four: Delivering Your Animation to Its Audience

Chapter 13: Testing and Debugging
- Testing Strategies
- Testing on the Stage
- Testing in Flash Player
- Testing Inside a Web Page
- Testing Download Time
- The Art of Debugging

Chapter 14: Publishing and Exporting
- Optimizing Flash Documents
- Publishing Your Animations
- Exporting Flash to Other Formats

Part Five: Appendixes

Appendix A: Installation and Help
Appendix B: Flash CS3, Menu by Menu

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