What you need to know about Flash before knowing Flash

With the release of Adobe Creative Suite 5 with all of its new features and options, it might be difficult to understand for the experienced Flash designer why undertaking the learning of Flash would seem daunting to the complete layman, while for the experienced user a new version usually means getting used to and learning all the new features that come with it – a process that builds on a very stable base and in most cases years of experience – for the absolute beginner who is interested in Flash, or any other CS software, taking on the task of learning them can seem quite intimidating.

When looked at it on the whole of course, Flash is a very complex piece of software offering those who know how to use it the flexibility of creating interactive web content, games, art, animations or anything in between, however if you break it down into what it is capable of and focus on each of them separately or better yet focus only on the function that you need Flash for, then it might not be such a difficult undertaking after all.

Although the choices and options of what to do with Flash are quite numerous, there are basically two main areas that the Flash user can focus on: programming or animation, each of them perfectly suited for various uses.

The Flash programmer will focus on learning all the ins and outs of ActionScript , the language code of Flash, a subject that we’ve touched upon in an earlier article.  The Flash programmer will become increasingly capable of creating all sorts of interactive content, whether it’s Flash games or specialized website applications and features.

The Flash animator will focus his or her efforts into creating animated clips and movies or tackle with the animation of game sprites and characters. When it comes to this aspect of Flash the software offers so much more than the traditional frame-by-frame animation, although it does that for all the traditionalists out there who despite using a computer for their drawing prefer the “old-school” feel of classic animation, Flash offers several other ways of animation such as: motion tweening, shape tweening and guided motion tweening. Before you ask, a “tween” isn’t someone between the ages of ten and thirteen, it’s a “class” used to create very smooth animations. It comes with the benefit of allowing the animator to create non-linear animations and makes it easier to update and modify the animation but we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

Now it is important to understand that these two loosely defined categories of Flash users aren’t mutually-exclusive and in fact most Flash users will usually posses a varied degree of knowledge in most areas of the software, however they do represent a good place to start from if you’re interested in learning Flash and depending on whichever one of them you wish to pursue you can start looking for basic information and tutorials that will help you grow into a good programmer or animator.

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