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Simulating 3D

Although Flash lacks support for handling true 3D models, you can simulate 3D motion or 3D geometry in several ways. One way is to build a 3D engine with ActionScript, but that topic involves more ActionScripting and much more math. An easier way is to use third-party applications that generate 3D models and can export Flash-compatible images and image sequences. Then the task is a matter of importing those images into Flash. Yet another way of faking 3D is to rely on a little patience and some ingenuity to create shape tweens of 3D geometry that give the illusion of 3D motion.

Third-party applications

You can create 3D images for Flash in two basic ways. The first way is to do all your modeling, rendering, and animation in a powerful 3D application such as 3ds max (formerly known as 3D Studio Max), LightWave 3D, or Maya. Plug-ins such as David Gould’s Illustrate!, IdeaWorks3D’s Vecta3D, and Electric Rain’s Swift 3D then let you output your 3D models and animations as vector images compatible with Flash. These plug-ins are sometimes called cel shaders or cartoon shaders because they render the final images to look like cartoons that were drawn on traditional sheets of acetate, or cels.


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