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Adobe Flash CS3 Professional What's New Review

For more than ten years, FlashR has been the most popular software for drawing, animation and creating interactive content. We have all waited with anticipation for this latest release of Flash CS3 Professional. After AdobeR acquired Macromedia and Flash in Fall 2005, the next release of Flash maintained most of its original identify. However, this latest upgrade of Flash and CreativeR Suite 3 is the first time the previous Macromedia products have been fully integrated into the Adobe product line. One of the biggest changes is the new Flash workspace which now has several features common throughout Creative Suite such as the single-column Tools Panel, Workspace Menu button and the new panels system. You will also find a greater integration between the individual programs in the Creative Suite Family to the extent that you can copy/paste, drag/drop or export/import graphics from one program to another without loss of any image data such as layer hierarchy. Of course, Flash has some cool new design and development tools and other tools and features have been improved including full support of ActionScriptTM 3. Let's take a look at some of what's new.

New User Interface

Taking a look at the new workspace, you will notice that the panels work differently. In an effort to allow the user as much workspace as possible, Adobe has added new features to the panel system. Of course, you are free to drag the floating panels as in previous versions but if you want a lot of workspace, there is a new iconic mode which allows you to contract the panels into a column of small icons. This is great for some panels such as the Actions Panel which I found in previous versions to be uncomfortably placed between the Stage and the Property Inspector by default. Now you can dock the Actions Panel's icon with the other icons docked along the edge of the workspace and simply toggle the panel open and closed with a click of your mouse. You will also notice some of the clutter above the Timeline has disappeared and is now part of the new Edit bar which is located under the Timeline.

New Workflow

The increased integration of graphic formats and the common workspace between the Creative Suite programs has improved the design workflow. This native graphic integration between Flash, PhotoshopR and IllustratorR maintains image information such as layers, editable text, symbols, paths, anchor points, objects and bitmap layer effects. For example, the Import dialog box gives you more control over import options such as choosing which layers of the total image to import, making text editable with import, creating a movie clip and instance name for a layer on import and setting the dimensions of the Stage to match the imported image.

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