As a designer, I have always been awed by the magic (and power) of Flash. Not to mention the cool splash of artwork with an ever-improving, more comfortable and user-friendly interface. But what's all the hype about? Let me help you understand that.
Macromedia Flash is a dynamic streaming technology. It allows us to create content for the web. This content is vastly more engaging than good old HTML (the language of the Web) can ever be. Flash lets us stream motion graphics, sound and interactive applications to create a better, richer and more intriguing experience for the user. Over the past few years, Flash has made its mark on the Web. And on design standards. What we see and use today is a major advancement of where we started out..
Rome was not built in a day. Neither was Flash. And if you prefer to read the chapter and verse of how it all began, you will find an excellent historical back grounder at the Flash Magazine (http://www.flashmagazine.com). But if you are keen to begin with the real thing, let me show you the ropes.
Flash movies are a combination of graphics and animation. And consist primarily of vector graphics. However, they can also contain imported bitmap graphics as well as sounds. Flash movies can incorporate interactivity that allows input from viewers. Or you can create nonlinear movies that interact with other Web applications.
Web designers commonly use Flash to create navigation controls, animated logos, long-form animations with synchronized sound, and even complete, sensory-rich Web sites. Because Flash movies are compact vector graphics, they download rapidly and auto-scale to the viewer's screen size.
You've probably watched and interacted with Flash movies on many Web sites. The Hungama.com site was one of the first in India to almost universally adopt Flash movies for its interactive ads and contents.
Millions of Web users too have either downloaded the Flash Player plug-in for their browser. Or received a free copy. The Flash Player is a client application and resides on your computer. It plays back movies in browsers or as stand-alone applications. Viewing a Flash movie on the Flash Player is similar to viewing a videotape on a VCR. The Flash Player is the device used to display the movies you create in the Flash authoring application.
As you work in Flash, you create a movie by drawing or importing artwork, arranging it on the Stage, and then animating it with the Timeline. You make the movie interactive by using actions to make the movie respond to events in specified ways.
When the movie is complete, you export it as a Flash Player movie to be viewed in the Flash Player, or as a Flash stand-alone projector to be viewed with a self-contained Flash Player included within the movie itself.
You can commonly play a Flash movie in Internet browsers, such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, that include the Flash Player. Or with the Flash ActiveX control in Microsoft Office and other ActiveX host environments. Or by using the Flash Player.
Flash provides a variety of methods for creating original artwork and importing artwork from other applications. You can create objects with the drawing and painting tools, and modify the attributes of existing objects. You can import vector and bitmap graphics from other applications and modify the imported graphics in Flash you can provide audio to your movies with imported sound files.
Using Flash, you can animate objects to make them appear to move across the Stage and/or change their shape, size, color, opacity, rotation, and other properties. You can create frame-by-frame animation, in which you create a separate image for each frame. You can also create tweened animation, in which you create the first and last frames of an animation and direct Flash to create the frames in between. You can also create animation in movies using the Set Property action.
Flash allows you to create interactive movies, in which your audience can use the keyboard or the mouse to jump to different parts of a movie, move objects, enter information in forms, and perform many other operations. You create interactive movies by setting up actions using ActionScript.
Flash animations produce smooth, seamless animations for web site design. These are used in both ways, big and small. As full site introductions, Flash bestows on your viewers an exciting first impression. Flash can be used as banners, buttons or continuous elements on your site. A flash animation has the ability to loop so that an element will play continuously while the visitor is on that web page, adding style and sophistication to your web site.
Here are some sites that use Flash, or offer tips and tutorials about the product.
Flash articles, tutorials and tips:
Flash Web Design by Hillman Curtis
Flash 4 Magic by David J. Emberton and J. Scott Hamlin
New Masters of Flash by Twenty of the planet's most awe-inspiring Flash designers share their influences, ideas and objectives in individual introductory essays.( All the books are available on http://www.amazon.com/ )
Are you game for a little jaunt? Go ahead and try Flashing. Just download the 30-day trial version from http://www.macromedia.com/ and plunge right into it. See you soon with some interesting tutorials.
Vaishali Singh is Chief Designer of CareermosiacIndia.com.
You can contact her at email@example.com
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