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Book Review – Illustrating with Macromedia Flash Professional 8 by Robert Firebaugh



Author: Robert Firebaugh
ISBN: 1584504773
Publisher: Charles River Media
2 edition
Book and CD
384 pages
Published: April 2006

Even today, most of the illustrations created in Flash are line drawings or flat, solid colored graphics such as cartoons. But with this new version of Flash, things are getting exciting for vector-based illustration. In this second edition of his book, Robert Firebaugh covers the new drawing and illustrating tools of Flash 8 and updates some of the concepts and techniques from the first edition of his book. The author’s goal is to teach his personal and unique illustration techniques for AdobeR MacromediaR FlashR 8 in hopes that after you read his book you will agree that Flash is a powerful vector-based illustration software for creating optimized photorealistic illustrations, animations and programming. A prior knowledge of Flash is not needed. Each topic is covered thoroughly with supporting practice exercises.

Firebaugh begins with a discussion of computer-based illustration styles and the hardware and software you will need. Then he jumps right in to explaining the basics of his techniques; inspiration, basic outlining, gradient filled shapes and finally adding the details. He teaches how to use Flash to accomplish all this while keeping your vector files to an optimized size. Next he covers how to use some of Flash’s features to add blur, highlights, drop shadow, glow and perspective to your graphics.

Flash originally became popular for web graphics and website development. Firebaugh discusses how to use Flash to design the layout and navigation for websites and interactive application interfaces. Then he moves on to Flash’s powerful animation features including motion tweening, looping, special effects and how to build a movie within a movie for optimized file size.

Texturing your graphics can make the difference between an average or a great image. Firebaugh covers how to create vector-based textures such as plastic, wood grain and metal. Then he shows how to use bitmap images and masking to add photorealistic textures to your Flash graphics.

Robert Firebaugh is the founder of VectorKid.com and cofounder of Electrotech, Inc. and has been a part of the educational community for vector art and Flash illustration for 10 years.




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