9781590592090: New Masters of Flash

New Masters of Flash is both a global showcase and practical tutorial. Nineteen of the planet's most awe-inspiring Flash designers share their influences, ideas and objectives in individual introductory essays. They then take the reader through a step-by-step tutorial explaining in detail how to create in Flash 5 the interfaces, applications and effects that they have made famous. The author-designers are some of the most legendary Flash innovators currently working―from the U.S. to Japan, Europe to South Africa: Yugo Nakamura, Joshua Davis, Manuel Clement, Irene Chan and Tomato Interactive's Joel Baumann, together with 14 other leading Flash practitioners. These are the designers who are expanding the horizons of interactive interface design with Flash. Join them!

With the book is a CD-ROM containing animated movie versions of the tutorials from the book, together with the finished interactive effects. If you're in a real hurry, you can download the source-code FLAs for many of the tutorials, in both Flash 5 and Flash 4 versions, from the CD-ROM New Masters folder. Also on the CD-ROM are video QuickTime interviews with the designers from the book.

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Review:

Learning by doing is always good, especially if you have good role models to follow. As part of the publisher's "Showing It" series, this book brings together 19 of the most innovative designers who are working in motion graphics, and gives them lots of page room to talk about their work in general, their inspirations (movies, games, etc.), and how they created some of their best projects. Some of the best-known participating artists include Tomasz Jankowski of Mondo.com, Todd Purgason of Juxt Interactive, Eric Jordan of 2advanced.com, and Irene Chan of Eneri.net.

Following along is easy; large screen shots and step-by-step narratives guide readers through each process--often telling not just how to do a particular something, but also why. How you then apply these methods to your own work might not be spelled out, but by re-creating the projects you'll gain the confidence and experience that you need to push your skills to the next level.

Projects range from thevoid's fairly basic, tween-heavy ripple animation to an interactive menu that's driven by dynamic ActionScripting from James Paterson of presstube.com. Simple text effects are covered, too, along with an introduction to ActionScripts, 3-D animation using only Flash, ActionScripting and Swift 3D, deciding between bitmap and vector art, discussions of download time, integration of Photoshop and Director, and many other topics. All project files are included on the companion CD-ROM, along with some extras.

This is a great addition to the Flash library, but the book unfortunately gives off an overpowering ink smell. The layout of the chapters is sometimes confusing, too. Neither of these issues applies to the CD-ROM, however, which reproduces everything in the book in animated form. All you have to do is sit back and watch. And there are some great interview movies, through which you can get to know some of the personal motivations and philosophies of favorite Flash gurus. --Angelynn Grant

Topics covered:
Profiles of 19 designers who work in Flash, with illustrations of their work and influences

Basic and advanced instruction in Flash, including the following:

  • Tween animation
  • Simple, intermediate, and advanced ActionScripting
  • Interactive menus
  • Coordinating multiple movie clips and timelines
  • Integrating Photoshop and Director
  • 3-D animation
  • Using sound

From the Publisher:

New Masters of Flash is a compendium of advanced Flash techniques aimed at working Flash designers who are looking for inspirations and radical techniques. Across the twenty chapters you will learn deployable skills for a wide range of effects and applications, many of which take ActionScripting right out of the box. Also covered are optimising Flash assets for use in Director, scripting in Flash 5 for advanced sound control and an introduction to translating geometry directly into ActionScript. This is not a beginner's book. You'll need to feel comfortable with the Flash 5 interface and know some basic scripting constructs in order to get the most from what these experts have to teach. But apart from that, a load of curiosity and a taste for pushing web-design to the max is all that's required.

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