Learning to use Flash - Suggestions?
April 26, 2005 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Looks like I have to learn Flash. Suggestions for programs, learning materials, etc. Any "war stories"?
posted by petebest to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
In a perfect world, there's an open-source drag & drop program to download and a well-written concise FAQ that will have me animating in 15 minutes, kind of thing . . .
posted by petebest at 2:14 PM on April 26, 2005


If you're going to be making any kind of interactive Flash, I suggest learning ActionScript right quick.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:25 PM on April 26, 2005


I took a flash class back in the day, when Flash5 was cutting edge. I'd say the quickest way is to download tutorials (of effects you like) and look through the AS and see how things are structured within each scene, graphic, button and or movie file. Looking at .fla files can be like peeling an onion.

Good tutorial site.
posted by AllesKlar at 2:40 PM on April 26, 2005


Since this isn't a perfect world, I have to agree with AllesKlar. Online tutorials worked for me. Macromedia's own flash development site was what I used to get going. They also have a couple "just getting started" tutorials right on the front page. Beyond those tutorials and the subcategories on the right sidebar, just get your hands on any FLA's that do anything close to what you want to do. Then tear 'em apart, seeing how they do it.
posted by Symeon at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2005


Just to chime in, without even going to the flash development site, I picked up flash pretty easily from the in program tutorials. I've found most Macromedia products come with really good on board tutorials and help.

Disclamer: I'm a professional programmer
posted by KirTakat at 5:08 PM on April 26, 2005


If you want some book learnin', you want Friends of Ed. There is no subsitute.

Start with the "Foundation" books, Flash MX 2004 and Action Script. I work with some top-notch Flash programmers, and they swear by these books.
posted by jalexei at 5:22 PM on April 26, 2005


I are also a programmer by trade. I would suggest looking at tutorial sites rather than the documentation that comes with the program. I tried to learn flash from the provided documentation but found it overly complicated, and factually incorrect in places. It also follows the methodology of 'do this, then do this, then do this' without giving any explanation of what you're doing. Kind of hard to actually learn anything from this sort of teaching.

I would certainly agree that learning ActionScript is an absolute must if you want to produce dynamic flash that isn't megabytes in size, or you want to stuff that involves more than just pretty moving boxes. Tutorial sites are pretty good resources for learning how to achieve certain effects in flash but the quality of the code that I've seen from these places varies greatly. Sometimes it's nice and clean with lots of comments, other times it's very cryptic and hard to follow. Take all of these with a pinch of salt. If you do download something from a tutorial site, I would recommend studying how the sample works then recreating it, rather than adapting it. This means that you have code that you can understand, and you have learned how it works as a result.

The biggest problem with Flash IMHO is the fact that it lets you dump code wherever you want, in frames, on objects, in external files, on movie clips inside movie clips, and anywhere you want really. Unless you impose some structure on your design you end up with an unmanageable mess of code and objects. It is very much worth learning about object orientation when you learn about ActionScript. It will help greatly when you come back to a project later on.

I have friends who swear by the ActionScript Bible and the Flash MX Bible, which are pretty good. I learned most of my flash by sitting over the shoulder of somebody who knew what they were doing and getting a feel for what goes where and how things interact.

In summary, watch somebody else who knows what they're doing, learn the fundamentals of good programming (clean design, object orientation, comments comments comments) then learn ActionScript.
posted by gaby at 5:32 AM on April 27, 2005


great, thanks very much all!
posted by petebest at 7:27 AM on April 27, 2005


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