Jul 17, 2009

Busting my Brain with Flash

As a web developer learning Flash has been on my radar for quite some time.  Now as an e-Learning training developer knowing Flash will allow me to do better quality training interactions with learners.  So I'm off and up and learning.  I thought I would share some of my thoughts about my progress towards learning Flash.

First, I started with a good online resource that shows instructional videos and allows the learner to work through sample files.  I'm using Lynda.com which has turned out to be a great way to learn most of the Adobe products.  The instructor shows the very basics but also some of the shortcuts and best practices for using the tool itself.  This has been a great way to get started.

One thing I realized from the Lynda.com videos is that programming in Flash is really broken up into two parts: Flash animation and ActionScript.  So far ActionScript seems very familar since I am used to object based programming languages and scripting languages like JavaScript.  I feel very comfortable with that and I think that once I know the Flash object model (or have access to a reference) I'll be good to go.

Flash animation is the big brain buster for me.  I'm familiar with editing images, photos, and interactive web sites.  However, dealing with animations is proving to be the key concept I'm going to have to learn to master Flash.  So I'm learning tweens, shapes and key frames but it's not all gelling yet.  The first project I wanted to do in Flash has proven that I'll need more than just Lynda.com to master the animation portion.

I'm at the level now where I can do an interactive Flash animation using simple shapes, symbols, buttons, and action script.  However I'm not yet at the point where I can do a complex animation.  For example, a scene where you see someone using a computer from behind the person's back and then zoom in to show the monitor full screen.  I'm still working on that one.

Next, I'm going to order a few books from Amazon.com to try to push myself to the next level.  I'll also need to start doing some small projects in Flash because this seems to be one of those things that requires a lot of practice.  Any thoughts from those of you who have been down this road before?


Kimberly Worthy said...

I'm in the same boat as you, however, not being a super technical person my boat didn't have the oars. I've just started working with Flash and, like you, used an on-line course to help walk me through the process. I also learned some of it through trial and error. One thing that did come in very handy was the search function through Adobe. I found it to have a lot of good resources and to be very easy to use. Good luck!

Jonathan Shoaf said...

I'll be sure to try the search function at Adobe. I have noticed they have some good content at their developer site. Thanks for the suggestion. I've also ordered a couple of books I hope will help (How to Cheat at Adobe Flash CS4 and ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook).

Bren Allen said...

I'm at the other end of the spectrum. I understand visual mechanics well so animation is a breeze, it's script that is causing me headaches.

Before you purchase books etc head over here:


Lee's videos range from the basics to the expert and are free. Well worth a look to learn different animation techniques as well as actionscript.

Jonathan Shoaf said...

Thanks for the link Brent. It looks like they have some good content. I can't wait to dig into it.

Anonymous said...

Also try Learning ActionScript 3.0 by Rich Shupe and Zevan Rosser.