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Getting to Know Flash CS6
Many people think of Adobe Flash as animation software, but it's much more than that. Flash is the industry standard for creating animated, interactive movies and applications. It's also widely used in TV commercials and cinema special effects. In our first lesson, you'll begin by getting acquainted with the Flash interface, or workspace. Then, I'll show you how to create your first animated graphic. Whether you've worked with Flash a bit before or this is your first time opening the program, you'll be well on your way to becoming a Flash designer when you finish this lesson.
Working With the Drawing Tools
Flash comes with everything you need to create complete interactive movies and applications, including a palette of tools for drawing lines and shapes. Today you'll learn how to draw rectangles, circles, and lines to create a framework for a Flash movie. I'll show you how to change line and fill properties and how to apply special effects such as drop shadows and gradient fills to the objects you draw. You'll also learn how to arrange and distribute objects on the Flash Stage with the tremendously useful Align panel.
Using the Text Tools
Nearly every Flash movie calls for some kind of text—such as buttons, headlines, captions, and taglines. In this lesson, I'll show you how to use Flash's Text tool to create basic text. Then we'll apply all kinds of formatting options and special effects—such as colors, drop shadows, and bevels—to make the text more interesting and appealing. The text you create in this lesson will become the buttons, headlines, and captions for our ongoing movie project during the remainder of the course. We'll also take a brief look at Flash CS6's TLF Text feature, a whole new text formatting engine that greatly expands text formatting options and text display quality.
The Timeline, Layers, and Frames
In Flash and other animation programs, events happen over time. Flash measures time in frames on a grid called a Timeline. Today you'll learn how the Timeline works. We'll use it and Flash's Layers feature to distribute and animate several objects on the Stage. We'll animate our buttons and graphics so that they fade onto the Stage at different intervals in our movie. You'll also see how to use Flash's tweens (automatic animation creation tools) to make objects move frame-by-frame on the Stage. We'll also take a quick look at Movie Clip symbols. By the end of this lesson, you'll understand the basics of animation in Flash.
Scenes and Imported Objects
As your ongoing movie grows in file size and length, you'll find that breaking it into logically organized scenes makes it easier to work with. This time, I'll show you how to create new scenes. Then, we'll look at importing elements from other programs, such as Photoshop and Word. Most of the movies people create in Flash contain objects created in external graphics programs. I'll show you how to create your first TLF Text box, how to embed fonts, and how to figure out what fonts to embed. You'll also learn the basics of bitmap and vector graphics formatting so that using these objects in Flash movies is a lot easier.
Sound, Video, and Button Effects
Ready. Set. Action! You can make your movies more interesting, entertaining, and informative with sound and digital video. While it's relatively easy to import a media file into Flash, getting the results you want isn't so straightforward. In this lesson, I'll tell you what you need to know about sound and digital video file formats. Then, we'll look at how to make sounds play. You'll discover how to create ambient backgrounds for your movies and how to make sounds play on specific events, such as mouse-overs and clicks. You'll also learn how to use different mouse states, creating rollover-like effects that change the button's behavior as users mouse around in your movies.
Interactivity and ActionScript
To produce applications in Flash, you must know how to create interactivity—or how to tell the movie what to do when a user clicks a button. Today, you'll see how to use ActionScript 3.0, Flash's powerful programming language, to make your buttons work. We'll look at basic programming concepts, and then we'll write some event listener and event handler scripts that make our buttons hot and our movie interactive. When we finish, you'll have created a complete Flash movie with working buttons, button sound effects, and user navigation.
More ActionScript, Code Snippets, 3-D Images, and the Motion Editor
ActionScript 3.0 is the backbone for creating sophisticated Flash movies. In this lesson, we'll look deeper into programming with ActionScript. You'll learn how to create buttons that allow the user to control animation, and we'll create a short movie that lets users view products online in various colors. We'll also take a look at the Code Snippets panel and learn how to let Flash create basic scripts automatically and how to save your own code snippets you can use any time in any movie. Since we're venturing into more advanced Flash topics, we'll also take a look at creating and manipulating 3-D graphics in Flash. Finally, you'll learn how to create complex animations with Flash's Motion Editor.
Components, Motion Presets, and Common Library Sounds
If you've watched a few Flash movies, you've probably noticed that many of them have several features in common: progress bars that tell users how long they must wait before the movie starts playing; image galleries for displaying photos and product images; similar sounds and animations. To save you time when you're creating these common elements, Flash comes with several premade components that install these effects for you. You can find thousands of components on the Web, or you can save your own components and use them over and over. Flash also comes with many motion presets that make it easy to create sophisticated animations. Today we'll take a look at using motion presets and creating and saving your own animations for use in multiple movies.
Media Encoder, Photoshop PSD files, and Mobile Device Publishing
Like most high-end software programs, Flash comes with and supports files from many other applications. In this lesson, we'll look at Adobe Media Encoder. Media Encoder is a nifty little utility that comes with Flash and lets you format video and sound files for Flash movies and other applications, such as YouTube. We'll also explore the tight integration between Photoshop and Flash—you'll learn how to work more quickly and efficiently by importing your Photoshop files directly into Flash. We'll even touch on publishing Flash movies for mobile devices with the AIR runtime, including actually publishing an AIR app to a smartphone or tablet.
Deco Tool, Spray Brush Tool, and Bone Tool
Flash CS6 has a bunch of great tools and features for creating sophisticated graphics effects and complex animations. Today, we'll look at three of them: the Deco tool, the Spray Brush tool, and the Bone tool. The first two tools create graphics special effects in highly useful and professional-looking patterns. The Bone tool is an animation tool that lets you easily create animations that simulate the movement of humans and animals—things like people walking, animals running, and birds flying. These tools will help you give your movies and animations a polished, professional look.
Publishing Movies to the Web
Why should you do all this work to create interactive movies if you can't share them with the world? In your final lesson, you'll find out how to publish your work to the Internet. You'll learn how Web servers work and how to upload files to make your creations public. You'll also have a chance to integrate your movies into Adobe Dreamweaver files and then use that popular application to upload your movies to a public Web server. When you finish this lesson, you'll have successfully joined the elite ranks of Flash designers.
Through well-crafted lessons, expert online instruction and interaction with your tutor, participants in these courses gain valuable knowledge at their convenience. They have the flexibility to study at their own pace combined with enough structure and support to complete the course. And they can access the classroom 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection.
New sessions of each course run every month. They last six weeks, with two new lessons being released weekly (for a total of 12). The courses are entirely Web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes, and...