About The Series
Colin Smith provides us with a delightful way to master flash with his 2 disk CD series published by software cinema. You can either read your flash manual first or immediately dive right into these CDs and learn flash that way. The content is entertaining on all levels from Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced.
Colin Smith brilliantly captures the necessities to build flash pages starting from the core basics of animating or tweening objects, to creating a photo gallery using XML. I myself am very familiar with the Adobe Creative and Video suite, but only roughly familiar with flash. With this series I now feel to have a solid foundation for understanding how flash thinks and works, and am able to design without limits. The content is well organized which makes finding a topic you want to learn more about very easy.
The audio clarity is good, and the compression level on the video is great, fitting this all 59 sessions onto 2 CDs. A larger cursor would have helped when things were moving fast. Everything you see though is a direct recording of the screen, and I found the playback size to be perfect, for a 1024 x 768 screen size or larger.
Each chapter averages about 8 minutes, which is good length to give you a break and test out what you have just learned. A quick tap of the spacebar to pause the presentation and bringing flash out of the background, will give you the hands on experience that you need when learning for retention.
This series begins by covering the basics begin with animating symbols using keyframes, and an explanation of the different symbol types, including the benefits of each.
The examples go over animation issues which you will inevitably encounter in web animation, such as how to make the helicopter blade on top appear to spin by horizontally scaling the blade, or when to when it is important to increase your animation frames per second for quality when needed such as the smaller blade at the rear of the helicopter. The helicopter also has a shadow, and Colin shows how to animate the shadow, in relation to a temporary yellow circle he draws to show the position of the sun.
Sessions 9 shows us how to publish a flash project to a CD for playback on Mac or PC. Colin start us off with some basic action scripts for controlling whether the movie is played back full frame or if scaling is allowed to be controlled. This will help get you familiar with the more advanced action scripts to come in later sessions.
In order to create interface buttons so users navigate your flash movie, knowing how to give your buttons a 3D extruded look is essential. Though you may be familiar with how to create bevels in Photoshop, this is handled much differently in Flash. Many people are surprised with how different flash is than any other graphics program when it comes to drawing shapes and how you can easily create a mess if you are not familiar with this concept. Colin shows you how you can make flash work like Illustrator so overlapping shapes do not divide each other up, and how to take advantage of the traditional method of drawing with flash.
XML is also covered on these disks on the second disk session 27, to show you how to create a photo gallery using the power of XML.
Bitmapped features are also well covered in this series ranging from combining green screening, to old scratched cinema movie effects. You will also find most every topic covered, so you can become a flash master yourself, and there is something for everyone at every level in this table of contents.