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In This Introduction

What Is the Certified Flash Designer Exam? xvii

The Macromedia Certified Professional Program xvii

Reasons to Get Certified xviii

About the Exam xviii

How to Use This Book xx

Where to Go From Here xxiii

What Is the Certified Flash Designer Exam?

The popularity of Macromedia's products continues to grow and, along with them, so has the demand for experienced designers. Once upon a time (in Internet time, that is), claiming to be a Flash designer was easy; the product was simple enough that with a minimal investment of time and energy, designers could realistically consider themselves experts.

This is not the case anymore. The Macromedia product line has grown in both breadth and complexity, and the levels of expertise and experience among designers are diverse. Claiming to be an expert isn't that easy, and recognizing legitimate expertise is even harder.

The Macromedia Certified Professional Program

This is where certification comes into play. Formal, official certification by Macromedia helps to mark a threshold that explicitly sets apart designers by their knowledge and experience, making it possible to identify the true experts.

The Certified Flash MX Designer certification is one in a series of certification tracks from Macromedia. This one is aimed at designers using Macromedia Flash MX 2004. Other exams and certification programs being developed concentrate on other products and areas of expertise.

Reasons to Get Certified

There's really only one important reason for a Flash designer to become certified: Being able to call yourself a Macromedia Certified Flash MX 2004 Designer means you can command the respect and recognition that goes along with being one of the best at what you do.

Just as has happened with other products and technologies in this space, certification is likely to become a prerequisite for employers—an additional barometer by which to measure the potential of candidates and applicants.

Whether being certified helps you find a new or better job, helps persuade your boss that the pay raise you want is justified, helps you find new clients, or gets you listed on the Macromedia Web site so you can attract new prospects—whatever the reason—it will help you stand out from the crowd.

About the Exam

Becoming a Certified Flash MX 2004 Designer requires being tested on your knowledge of Flash MX 2004 and related technologies. As far as exams go, this one isn't easy—nor should it be. In fact, more than a third of all test takers fail their first exam. This is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it means that you really have to know your stuff to pass. You don't merely receive a paper certificate; the exam and subsequent certification have real value and real significance. “Very challenging but fair” is how many examinees describe the exam itself.

How You'll Take the Exam

The exam is a set of multiple-choice and true/false questions that you answer electronically. A computer application issues the test to you, and you'll know whether you passed immediately upon test completion.

In the test you're presented with each question and the possible answers. Some questions have a single correct answer, while others have two or more (you'll be told how many answers to provide). If a question stumps you, you can skip it and come back to it later.

After you have answered all the questions, you can review them to check your answers. After you're done, or after the 70-minute time limit is up, you get your results. You need to have at least 75 percent correct to pass and achieve certification. If you don't pass, you need to wait at least 30 days before you can try taking the test again. You may take the test no more than three times in a single year, starting from the date of your first test.

You will be required to pay the full exam fee each time you take the certification exam.

What You'll Be Tested On

Being a Flash MX 2004 expert requires knowing more than just how to use all the menu items. As such, the exam includes questions on related technologies. You will be tested on the following subjects:

  • Project architecture, page and interface layout

  • Effective visual design and scripting

  • Effective motion design and ActionScript

  • Effective optimization and output design

Every question counts, and you can't assume that one particular topic is more or less significant than the others. You need to know it all, and you need to know it all well.

Preparing for the Exam

The most important preparation for the exam is using Flash MX 2004 itself. If you don't use it regularly or haven't done so for an extended period, you probably won't pass the exam.

Having said that, we can tell you that many experienced Flash designers still find the exam challenging. Usually, they say this is because they don't use some features and technologies, or because they learned the product but never paid attention to changing language and feature details (and thus are not using the product as effectively as they could be).

This is where this book fits in. This book is not a cheat sheet. It won't teach you Flash from scratch, nor will it give you a list of things to remember to pass the test. What it will do is help you systematically review every feature and technology in the product—everything you need to know to pass the test.

Where to Take the Exam

To offer the exams worldwide, in as many locations as possible, Macromedia has partnered with a company called VUE, which offers exams and certification programs for a wide range of companies and products, and has more than 2,500 regional testing facilities in more than 100 countries.

You can take the Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Designer exam at any VUE testing center. For a current list of locations, visit the Web site:


How Much It Costs

The fee to take the exam in North America is $150 (U.S.). Pricing in other countries varies. The fee must be paid at the time you register for the exam. If you need to cancel, you must do so at least 24 hours before the exam, or the fee will not be refunded.

How to Use This Book

This book is designed to be used in two ways:

  • To prepare for your exam, you should start at the beginning of the book and systematically work your way through it. The book flow, layout, and form-factor have all been designed to make reviewing content as pleasant an experience as possible. The content has been designed to be highly readable and digestible in small, bite-size chunks so that it will feel more like reading than studying.

  • After you have reviewed all the content, reread the topics that you feel you need extra help brushing up on. Topics are all covered in highly focused and very manageable chapters so that you can easily drill down to the exact content you need. Extensive cross-referencing lets you read up on related topics as needed.

After the exam, you'll find that the style and design of this study guide make it an invaluable desktop reference tool as well.


The book is divided into four parts, each containing a set of highly focused chapters. Each chapter concludes with a summary and sample questions (the answers are in Appendix A).

Part 1: The Basics of Flash MX 2004

This part reviews the things you need to know before you even get started. It includes chapters on:

  • Identifying your audience needs

  • Determining what kind of content to use

  • Interface and tools

Part 2: Artwork, Text, and Organization

This part reviews the use of visual assets, and how to organize your document. It includes chapters on:

  • Bitmap and vector artwork

  • Text

  • Navigation strategies

  • Tools

Part 3: Symbols in Depth

This part reviews re-usable symbols. It includes chapters on:

  • Buttons

  • Graphic symbols

  • Movie clips

  • Components

Part 4: Animation

This part reviews what you need to produce animations. It includes chapters on:

  • Motion animation

  • Shape animation

  • Animating with ActionScript

Part 5: Sound and Video

This part reviews the use of sound and video in Flash. It includes chapters on:

  • Sound

  • Video

Part 6: ActionScript and Behaviors

This part reviews the usage of ActionScript, and how to add it to your document. It includes chapters on:

  • Built in ActionScript behaviors

  • ActionScript syntax and concepts

Part 7: Optimization and Publishing

This part reviews techniques for keeping your published files as small as possible, and the different ways a Flash document can be published. It includes chapters on:

  • Optimization strategies

  • Publishing

Conventions Used in This Book

The people at Macromedia Press have spent many years developing and publishing computer books designed for ease of use and containing the most up-to-date information available. With that experience, we've learned what features help you the most. Look for these features throughout the book to help enhance your learning experience and get the most out of Flash:

  • Screen messages, code listings, and command samples appear in monospace type.

  • URLs used to identify pages on the Web and values for Flash attributes also appear in monospace type.

  • Terms that are defined in the text appear in italics. Italics are sometimes used for emphasis, too.


Tips give you advice on quick or overlooked procedures, including shortcuts.


Notes present useful or interesting information that isn't necessarily essential to the current discussion, but that might augment your understanding with background material or advice relating to the topic.

→ Cross-references are designed to point you to other locations in this book that will provide supplemental or supporting information.

The Web Site

To further assist you in preparing for the exam, this book has an accompanying Web site. The site contains the following:

  • Any updated exam information

  • Links to other exam-related sites

  • Any book corrections or errata

  • A sample interactive test that you can use to help gauge your own exam readiness

The Web site can be found at www.forta.com/books/0321223667.

Where to Go From Here

Now you're ready to get started. If you think you're ready for the exam, start with the sample questions in the book or online to verify your skills. If you're not ready—or if the same questions indicate that you might not be as ready as you thought—make sure you pay attention to the topics that you need to review by reading the documentation and actually writing appropriate applications.

When you're ready, work through this book to review the content and prepare for the exam itself as described here.

And with that, we wish you good luck!

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