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Foundation Flash CS5 for Designers
Tom Green and Tiago Dias
Adobe Flash Technical Book
The latest version of Flash, part of Adobe’s CS5, has many changes, new features and extended capabilities that increase productivity and improve workflow. This not only adds some complexity, and can cause confusion on where familiar tool settings and controls are now, but in some cases are not accurately described in the official Adobe documentation. This book, by authors with international experience and expertise with Flash, addresses these issues with well written explanations and detailed exercises and training aids.
The book starts with an introduction from the top of Flash in CS5 Pro, along the way pointing out productivity tips and techniques that were asked for by developers to make the workflow and tool use easier. Many of the changes in CS5 came about in aligning it to the current product portfolio, ease cross development and a bit more uniform tool usage.
Each of the 15 chapters provides background for following chapters in three broad areas, with a particular focus on graphics manipulation, animation and video development, traditionally Flash’s strong suit. A separate section on ActionScript3 is included, with following sections including samples of how they can be controlled and manipulated in code.
Each chapter concludes with a summary of the material covered, and has working example code that can be downloaded from the publisher’s web site. The introductory chapters have step by step instructions on how the a chosen tool aspect tool is used, along with screen shots to make it easier to follow.
The first six chapters are used to introduce the various features and use of Flash in CS5 as a tool, with concrete examples that demonstrate how aspects of the tool can be exploited to achieve various effects. Each of the tool’s panels and their collections of property editors are described, and in most cases their placements and different nomenclature from previous versions of Flash are pointed out.
There is also a small section on 3D and Flash CS5, adequate for basic 3D work, but which the authors point out can be impressively extended by several third party libraries, such as Papervision3D.
The book’s primary focus is on Flash in a desktop environment with the time line paradigm, a very large area to cover to say the least. Other environments, particularly mobile, are essentially ignored.
Flash is a really large subject, and one book cannot cover it all. It focuses almost exclusively on Flash CS5, and does not cover how Adobe’s complementary products, Flex and the Adobe Integrated Runtime, can be used to exploit the Flash beyond its graphics and video designer background. The user interface section is a bit small and light, and the backend data management is only lightly covered.
Recommended for both experienced Flash designers who are new to CS5, and newbies who are new to Flash with CS5 as their first tool. The wealth of detailed examples and practice exercises make for good reference book as well as a how to manual.
Foundation Flash CS5 for Designers by Tom Green and Tiago Dias, published by friendsofEd (an Apress company), ISBN 9781430229940, 816 pages in 15 chapters, including a 36 page index. Available online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and in eBook form from friendsofEd.
Flash, CS5, animation, video, graphics