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Enhancements in Flash Professional CS5

Some features in FlashR Professional CS5 are not new but they have been enhanced to make working in Flash easier and to give better animation results.

If you prefer to create animation and interaction with ActionScript, you will be glad to know that the ActionScript editor now supports custom class code hinting and code completion. For those still learning ActionScript, this is a great teaching resource. For the seasoned developer, you can also more easily reference your own code or external code libraries.

In previous versions, there was no direct integration between Flash and Flash Builder (previously known as Flex Builder). In Flash CS5, we can now work on the same project in both programs at once. For example, while working in Flash you can use the Edit Class Definition button to open a dialog box. From there, you can choose to edit within Flash or Flash Builder . If you choose Flash Builder, the program opens with the code displayed and ready to edit.

Have you used the Bone tool with Inverse Kinematics in Flash CS4? If you have, you probably noticed the less-than-natural animation it produces. This is fine for certain projects but other projects require the animation to be more smooth and natural. Flash CS5 has enhanced control for the Bone tool with the new dynamic physics engine integrated into the IK system. The new Strength and Damping controls in the Spring section of the Properties Panel are fully customizable and give much more realistic animation results.

Two great new enhancements for incorporating video into your Flash projects will ease your workload. Importing video into your Flash projects is nothing new but with Flash CS5, you can now preview the video in place on the stage within Flash. This new video scrubbing/viewing enhancement is a great time saver. Sequencing ActionScript with your video is easier with the new Cue Points section in the Properties panel. Just pause the playback of the video in the spot where you want to trigger ActionScript code and then add a Cue Point. This Cue Point places a marker in the timecode which triggers the ActionScript attached. The Cue Points section displays all the cue points added to a video.

Publishing is expanding greatly and it is no longer just enough to publish for print or web. We now must consider other venues with screens of any size. Flash CS5 has made some advancements in this area with the new Packager for iPhone which compiles Flash files into iPhone application code. You can now easily publish your Flash project and sell it on iTunes.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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