video2brain Adobe Flash Pro CS6 Learn by Video
I found the teaching approach in this course to be very good for the new Flash user. Labreque introduces each topic first in a general overall context and later discusses each in detail. The approach helps the audience to understand how each topic relates to the overall project workflow.
Labreque begins with an introduction to the course, followed by a discussion of what the Flash software is and what part it plays in the Adobe Flash Platform. He covers how Flash can be used to create projects for web, desktop or mobile. He then introduces the new features in Flash CS6, especially those for mobile applications.
Next, Labreque walks you through the Welcome screen and discusses starting a new Flash project using preset templates and which settings to use for projects that will be viewed on the Flash Player, AIR for desktop and mobile or as an independent executable. He also covers the various ways to access help documents and forums on the Adobe website from the Welcome screen.
As you would expect, Labreque begins with a tour of the default Essentials workspace. He discusses the sections of the workspace that are special to Flash such as the Stage, Timeline and Motion Editor and what specific tasks they perform. He also covers the parts of the workspace that are found in all Adobe software such as the Properties and Tools panels. When touring the Tools panel, Labreque introduces each tool and explains its purpose. He also concentrates on the Flash Timeline and explains how the layers in the timeline correspond to the elements in your animation or application and how Flash animations and user interactions are controlled along the frame-based Timeline.
Now it's time to take a closer look a each of the tools in the Tools panel as Labreque discusses the settings options for each tool. Labreque demonstrates the basic selection, painting and drawing tools and how to work with vector graphic strokes and fills in Flash, which is slightly different then other drawing software.
Next, Labreque moves on to more advanced tools beginning with the Text tool. He covers the various types of text used in Flash and when it is appropriate to use each. From there, he demonstrates how to use the 3D Rotation and Translation tools. You also take a close look at the sample walk cycle, which is a good example of the Bone and Bind tools for armatures and Inverse Kinetics.
Once you are familiar with the interface and tools, you are ready to examine a simple project from start to finish. You learn how to set up a basic ActionScript 3 project's Publish, Document and Stage settings and how to draw the elements of your animation on the stage, create movie clips and control animation and interaction along the Timeline. You are introduced to the basics of Motion Tween animation and you get your first taste of coding ActionScript.
At this point, Labreque take a closer look at the New From Template dialog box that contains the starter templates that ship with Flash CS6. He examines each template and ends this lesson by demonstrating how to save your own template.
Once you have started a new project in Flash, Labreque discusses a little about the Stage and how Flash determines positioning of objects along the X and Y axis. He also demonstrates the various options for testing or previewing your project.
Assets are the individual elements of your project. Labreque discusses both vector and bitmap assets and the reason for each. He also demonstrates how to draw your own assets using both the Merge and Objects Drawing modes. Other assets will be created in other software and imported into your project and he examines the various import options for each type of asset. He ends the lesson by covering several ways to modify assets such as the Group, Trace Bitmap and Break Apart functions.
The Library is the place to store all assets for your project. Labreque gives you a tour of the Library panel's icons and controls for the basic tasks of managing your assets. Next, he discusses the different types of assets that you might have in your Library and how to add assets from the Library to the Stage. Next, he examines certain types of assets including the Button symbol and its special 4-states Timeline and the difference between a Movie Clip and a Sprite symbol. He ends this lesson by showing how to apply filters and blend modes to Movie Clip and Sprite symbols.
The Text field is used to display text on the Stage and Labreque discusses all aspects of using text including format and other settings in the Properties panel as well as embedding fonts, applying filters to text and the difference between Classic text and the Text Layout Framework text, which has more options for controlling the text in your movie.
Flash is a great animation software and Labreque discusses several animation examples from simple to complex. He takes a closer look at the aspects of animation including frames, layers, labels, scenes and the timeline. Next he demonstrates how to build a traditional frame-by-frame animation and the use of onion skinning. He examines the difference between Shape, Classic and Motion Tweens and when to use each.
The next lesson covers advanced animation tools such as the Motion Editor for fine tuning Motion Tweens and the Motion Guide for Classic Tweens. You will also tour the Motion Presets panel and examine the presets. You also cover more tools for creating animated effects including masking and Inverse Kinetics.
Importing sound and video files is only the first step to using these files in your project. After covering the details and options for imported audio and video into Flash, Labreque also demonstrates how to apply sound to a button.
The Timeline is only one way to create animation and interaction. Labreque covers the basics of ActionScript. He begins with a tour of the Actions panel, the code editor for Flash and then introduces ActionScript Classes. First you examine the Code Snippets that come package with Flash CS6 and add a snippet to an object on the Stage. Moving on to a more advanced method of coding ActionScript, Labreque demonstrates how to create a custom class and how to edit the class code in the external .as file. He also examines the code of two classes for loading and controlling audio and video in your project.
The next section covers options for mobile projects. Labreque concentrates on each of the mobile code snippets that ship with Flash CS6 and demonstrates how to add the Pinch to Zoom code snippet to your project. Next, he shows how to test the project in the new Content Simulator and on your mobile device.
Still working with the example mobile project, Labreque demonstrates your options for debugging including trace statements and the Flash Debugger. He also discusses troubleshooting compiler and runtime errors.
With the explosion of mobile devices, optimizing your Flash projects has become very important. Labreque examines the various options for optimizing audio and image files in your project as well as the general setting for optimizing the project itself. He examines more closely the settings for AIR projects and other exporting options such as sprite sheets, image sequence and the new CreateJS Tookit. He ends this lesson with a look at accessibility settings.
The course includes 10+ hours of the video2brain Learn by Video series and supporting files for following along for a hands-on, watch-and-work teaching approach. Also included with the DVD is a small booklet with additional information. As with all the Learn by Video series, you have an easy-to-use control panel for viewing the videos.
Joseph Labreque teaches at the University of Denver as Senior Interactive Software Engineer specializing in the Adobe Flash Platform. He has contributed to many print and video training publications.
*Peachpit Press provided a copy to me for review purposes.
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