Adobe CS3 – Flash

Introduction

I have never been a big Flash user. It was just an interesting technology that I tinkered with at times, and I never got around to creating anything better than a bouncing ball 😛 That said, I will write up some of my observations of the latest version of the tool.

Interface

Unlike it’s formerly-Macromedia brethren, Dreamweaver and Fireworks, Flash CS3 received an interface update to bring it in line with the other CS3 imaging products, namely Photoshop and Illustrator. The interface looks good, and serves the product well.

Flash now has the nice CS3 interface
Flash now has the nice CS3 interface

Same as with Photoshop, which I reviewed previously, you can expand and collapse the panels by clicking the thick bar at the top of each. You can also make all panels disappear temporarily by pressing the F4 key.

The updated look aside, the interface is just a little bit intimidating to the new user – I felt that way when I started with Flash 5! But once you learn your way around the application, it becomes intuitive.

Cross-Application Integration

In the past, importing images into Flash from other applications was tricky business. I had tried importing a layered Photoshop file, with transparency and effects, into Flash and, well, the result was not pretty.

Flash CS3 has an import wizard which helps you to seamlessly bring in your Photoshop and Illustrator files. The wizard keeps imported layers intact, and lets you choose whether to keep them as vectors, images, or text. It is great to have these options.

ActionScript

ActionScript is a scripting language that has a great resemblance to JavaScript, and was built specifically for scripting tasks in Flash. It first appeared in Flash 5, and has continued to be used and evolved over the years since then. Flash MX 2004 used AS 2.0, CS3 premiered AS 3.0.

The new project view provides numerous options
The new project view provides numerous options

An interesting aspect of ActionScript in Flash CS3 is that you can take your pick when creating a new project, as evidenced by the New Project page. This is great for those that are more familiar with the older ActionScript, and provides the ability to move forward for those who want to do so.

There is some good reading on the Adobe site regarding ActionScript 3: ActionScript 3.0 overview and Six reasons to use ActionScript 3.0. They provide better coverage of the language than I could, so check them out.

Conclusion

Well, that was a quick review. I didn’t say much, but, again, I’m not a big Flash user. It’s one of those things that I keep meaning to spend some time on to figure it out. However, I am impressed by the appearance and features of the application. It does integrate nicely with the other CS3 apps.

It is obvious that Flash and ActionScript are a powerful combination, since there are many examples on the web of what you can do with the know-how!