• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



Over the years, Macromedia Flash developed from a tool used to create lightweight animations for the Web to an authoring environment that is used to create animation, effects, applications, widgets, CD-ROMs, to display video, and more. But although the programmatic side of Flash has received a lot of attention in the past few years (particularly in books and online), the design and animation side has almost been forgotten about in certain places. It's easy to find books and articles about building sites with components, using code, or learning ActionScript. However, a recent (and decent) step-by-step tutorial on using tweens or creating a character is difficult to find. And that's why you have this book in your hands.

Using Flash to present content for the web is a wise choice. If you look at how many computers can display Flash in a browser (www.macromedia.com/software/player_census/), you'll notice that you have an excellent chance that all your visitors will be able to see your animations and effects. In fact, Flash is more likely to display your content in all the different browser and OS combinations than other tools used to display effects or animation (such as DHTML or JavaScript). This is significant when you create a website for the masses, and it's why you should consider Flash for menus, galleries, applications, effects and more (which you'll start learning how to do in Chapter 1).

This book shows you how to build animation and effects over the course of 10 hands-on projects, written in a tutorial format. All you need to do is follow the steps—you won't find any guesswork involved or incomplete examples; only room for your own creativity.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is for those of you who want to start designing and animating with Flash. You might be an experienced artist, animator, or graphic designer who is new to Flash. This book lets you take your artistic and creating skills, and then apply them to the Flash authoring tool. You will find these projects open-ended enough that you can use your own ideas and creativity to either modify them during the project or after it's complete.

You don't need to be artistic to take advantage of this book. You might be experienced with Flash, but only with Flash development instead of design. For you, the drawing tools have been used for placeholder graphics, but not much else. You might be familiar with building a class file, but not as familiar with using the Tween class or putting together a design-centric effect with code. Although this book doesn't cover building applications or effects with hundreds or thousands of lines of ActionScript, you will learn how to put together a design and make effects using code. And more importantly, you, the Flash developer, will also be able to draw and animate your own character by the end of this book. And you'll be comfortable using those elusive motion tweens on the Timeline, no less.

Maybe you don't have art experience, you don't write code, and you haven't used Flash before. That's OK, too, because you'll quickly discover that you can follow along with the tutorials without that prior experience. This book doesn't assume that you have knowledge of either art or Flash, so you will also feel comfortable following along.


This book shows you how to animate and create effects, using techniques that range from motion tweens to ActionScript. The book includes 10 different projects, which you complete using hands-on tutorials. You build the projects step-by-step from start to finish (these projects range from little or no ActionScript, to a moderate amount of code). Although it's almost impossible to build many effects with at least some amount of code, the ActionScript you use in this book is fully explained for those who are new to the language.

The following list outlines the topics covered in each project-based chapter.

  • Chapter 1: Read a simple introduction to publishing your first FLA file (which includes animation and a bit of interactivity).

  • Chapter 2: Create a panning animation with motion tweens and a motion guide.

  • Chapter 3: Create a simple interface and animation by using primarily shape tweens.

  • Chapter 4: Learn how to use frame-by-frame animation to make a pirate dance.

  • Chapter 5: Create a character using Flash (a robot) and then animate it.

  • Chapter 6: Learn the fundamentals of ActionScript when you build a simple draggable shape game.

  • Chapter 7: Learn about scripted animation when you create a text effect and movie clip animation.

  • Chapter 8: Build a website using motion tweens, ActionScript, and animated masks. You cover working with video, transitions, and movie clip buttons in the process.

  • Chapter 9: Build an animated menu system using graphics, ActionScript, and the Tween class.

  • Chapter 10: Build a gallery that dynamically displays a series of JPEG images that load from your server. Images tween when they load into the container SWF file, and they react and respond to mouse rollovers.

Companion Website and CD-ROM

You can find the companion website at www.FLAnimation.com. This website includes the published and finished examples from each chapter, updates, tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and errata/corrections. Additionally, you can find extra examples, tutorials, news, and links to useful articles.

The companion website contains examples, updates, and related information. FLAnimators FLAnimate!

Check the website frequently while you complete your projects for any hints and tips that might make your workflow easier.

This book also includes a CD-ROM with all the completed example files, starter files, and media files that you need to finish projects. Each chapter has its own chapter, organized by number (01, 02, 03 and so on). Inside each chapter folder is a start and complete folder that contains the associated files for a project. The beginning of each chapter includes a list of these required files and where you can find them on the CD-ROM.

You don't need to use all the files on the CD-ROM, but it can be useful to see how the project turns out before you get started. You might want to look at the organization of the FLA file or publish the SWF to check out the finished result. Use the FLA files to copy and paste ActionScript from, if you prefer to do so. Try to type out some of the code from this book instead of pasting it all. Typing ActionScript helps you learn how to use the language.

Standard Elements In the Book

This book uses several conventions in its layout and the way information is organized. You should be familiar with these elements before you start with the tutorials.

New terms are written in italics, and defined immediately afterward.

Items that you need to type into Flash (such as instance names or properties) are in boldface font. For example, if you change the size of the Stage, you see the dimensions in bold.

Code snippets are written in monospace font. If you see any bold monospace font within a code snippet, it means you need to modify the bold section. The rest of the snippet is ActionScript from an earlier step that you do not need to add or modify. Modify or add the bold code, and the rest of the code snippet remains the same.

The following layout style is used throughout this book.

  • Note: Additional related information you should remember for the current or future projects.

  • Tip: Interesting related information that will help your Flash workflow.

  • Caution: Cautions you about potential problems with the software or a particular procedure, or things you might want to avoid doing with Flash.

  • Cross References: Points you to other parts of the book or web site where you can find related information.

  • Sidebars: Interesting tips and information that does not fit within an exercise, but will benefit other projects you work on. For example, a project might use custom buttons to scroll text. A sidebar within that project might detail how to use the ScrollBar component.

Minimum System Requirements

For this book, you can use Macromedia Flash MX 2004, Regular or Professional version. You can even use an earlier version of Flash for many of the projects in this book.

System requirements for Flash MX 2004 are as follows:

600 MHz Intel Pentium III processor or equivalent

Windows 98 SE (4.10.2222 A), Windows 2000, or Windows XP

128 MB RAM (256 MB recommended)

347 MB available disk space
500 MHz PowerPC G3 processor

Mac OS X 10.2.8 and later, 10.3.4

128 MB RAM (256 MB recommended)

280 MB available disk space

The Flash 7.2 updater

The Flash MX 2004 7.2 updater was released in mid-2004. This important updater release resolves many of the performance issues and bugs that existed in the initial Flash release (September 2003). It's strongly recommended that you download and install this updater. Not only will you notice many improvements in the software, you will be able to work with Flash much more efficiently. The program is much more stable and less prone to crashing. Additionally, the updater addresses and fixes many bugs in ActionScript, components, the authoring environment (performance), and documentation. Although you don't need the updater specifically for this book, it will certainly affect your work with Flash outside of these tutorials.

Installing the Flash MX 2004 7.2 Updater is strongly recommended. Download it for free at www.macromedia.com/software/flash/special/7_2updater.

Read the release notes here: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flash/mx2004/releasenotes.html.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint