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Adobe Flash Professional CS5 Classroom in a Book Paperback – May 19 2010
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About the Author
The Adobe Creative Team of designers, writers, and editors has extensive, real-world knowledge of Adobe products. They work closely with the Adobe product development teams and Adobe's Instructional Communications team to come up with creative, challenging, and visually appealing projects to help both new and experienced users get up to speed quickly on Adobe software products.
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All the new features are explained in detail in this new version of the every popular Adobe Flash book. The classroom in the book series has been the defacto standard in learning Flash and all its new version updates over the years. This book is no different, the author goes through all the great new features and explains them beautifully and in great detail.
Table of contents:
Chapter 1: Getting Aquainted
Chapter 2: Working with Graphics
Chapter 3: Creating and Editing Symbols
Chapter 4: Adding Animation
Chapter 5: Atriculated Motion and Morphing
Chapter 6: Creating Interactive Navigation
Chapter 7: Using Text
Chapter 8: Working with Sound and Video
Chapter 9: loading and Controlling Flash Content
Chapter 10: Publishing Flash Documents
The author also really explains ActionScript 3.0 very well when needed in certain chapters. Its hard to explain some techniques in Flash without covering a little ActionScript and the author really explains exactly what is going on and helps the newbie on how AS does and works with the examples discussed.
This is the best book on learning the basics of the newest version of Flash (CS5) and all the new features as well. A great buy!
I knew I was in over my head, and did what I always do when I can't figure out a program: pick up a guide. I think it's helpful to have a broad overview before really trying things on my own, because then even if I don't remember everything from the overview I'll remember what's possible and know where to look when I'm stuck. I've tried other kinds of guides, and found them to be useful for lots of things, but one of the best places I've found to get started with any of the Adobe Creative Suite programs is with the introductory guides they publish, the Classroom in a Book series. The Flash Professional CS5 guide didn't disappoint. This is a highly readable, hands-on guide to the wide range of what's possible with the latest version of Flash Professional. I'm still just getting started, but as a result of working through this book, I think I finally "get" Flash: what you can do with it and how it works.
They get you started doing a very simple animation to get used to the interface, then show you how to create original content, and illustrate the very important notion of symbols and symbol instances, then show the different kinds of animation you can achieve with Flash. Up through chapter 5 what they cover is how to do in Flash what you could do in other programs; it's not quite the same, but the concepts are similar and so I found I could fly through those chapters. It wasn't until chapter 6, the chapter on creating interactive navigation, that I finally felt I "got" Flash, and could finally understand why it's set up the way it is and why the timeline doesn't work the way it does in other similar programs. In a nutshell, the basic idea is that the timeline includes all of the content of an interactive Flash movie, and the programmer/designer can specify which parts of the movie to playback and how to play them based on user interactions. So a simple animation or movie is just a special case of what's possible with Flash.
I would suggest that for anyone who is coming to Flash from other programs that use a timeline, you would do best to start out with chapter 1 and then skip to chapter 6, to get a better idea of how Flash works to integrate animation and interaction, before going back to see how to create and animate content. In fact, I think it might have been better to organize the chapters that way, since once I "got it" in chapter 6 everything else was much more clear to me. Until then, with chapters 2-5 I found myself wondering why it wouldn't make more sense to just do the content creation and basic animation in other programs like Illustrator and After Effects. Now I understand why Flash is set up the way it is, and how it can work as an excellent stand-alone tool for creating designs, animation, and interactions. Subsequent chapters give more advanced tools for working with text (including dynamic text that can be embedded in a text file and varied while the flash look stays the same), and sound and video in Flash. They also show how you can program a Flash file to call up external content and how to publish the finished product for use on the web or as a self-contained program for use on a desktop.
Like the other books in the Classroom in a Book series that I've worked through (Premiere Pro CS5 CIB, After Effects CS5 CIB, and Illustrator CS5 CIB), this one is clearly written and straightforward. The instructions are precise and the clarifications are direct and to the point. Each lesson tells you what you're going to learn, it has you creating content that gives you a hands-on feel for the concepts that are being explained, and then if offers a series of review questions regarding the most important concepts. They aren't trying to cover everything or to give you all the little tricks for using Flash; but they aim to lead you from the stage of being a complete novice to having a pretty good idea of what can be done with the program. It was exactly what I needed to get started. After that, you are prepared to experiment, but also to see the value of more advanced guides that show different ways to do some sophisticated things with Flash.
This book gave gave a great introduction to Flash CS5, allowing me to become familiar with the Flash environment and many of its features fast enough so that I still had plenty of time left to complete my assignment. I found that the examples were clear, easy to follow and interesting enough to engage me for hours at a time without becoming boring.
My advice for people that are considering purchasing this product, would be to also purchase the Actionscript 3.0 classroom in a book. The reason for this is because this product is lacking several things which I considered important but were mentioned in the Actionscript 3.0 book (simple things like adding scroll bars to a textbox springs to mind).
My only other criticism of this book is that upon opening the pouch in the back of the book to use the CD I noticed that the disc was badly scratched. Inserting it into my laptop confirmed that it was scratched so bad that it could not be read!
Due to living in Australia and having a tight time frame to work within as a result of my assignment, sending the whole book back just to get a replacement CD was not on the cards, so I had to find a copy of the exercise files online.
I subtracted one star due to the annoyance caused by the scratched disc, this would be a 5 star text otherwise.
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