Creative Flash Reading

Bruce Von Stiers

Derek Franklin has written several books and has done a lot of web design work. He has worked extensively with Macromedia Flash and is considered an expert on the program. He recently revised one of his earlier Flash books to incorporate the new features of Flash MX. This revised book is titled Macromedia Flash MX Creative Web Animation and Interactivity. The book was published by Macromedia Press and distributed by Peachpit Press.

The book has 920 pages. It has 7 parts and 21 chapters. It has a short Appendix and a 21 page Index. The book comes with a CD-ROM disc that includes some of the source files from the book, along with some tutorial movies and a trial version of Flash MX.

Some of the things that you will be expected to learn from reading the book are how to plan and test your Flash MX creations, load external data and graphics effectively and create vector animations that are spectacular.

In the Introduction, Derek gives you a breakdown on what’s going to be covered in the book. There is also a brief section on how to efficiently use the book.

The first part is called Welcome to Flash MX. There are 2 chapters in this part. The first chapter is Flash MX – The Rich Client Revolution. This chapter deals with things like the program having bandwidth-friendly content and how easy it is to use. The second chapter tells you how to get started using the program and some of the new features that Macromedia has added into Flash MX.

In the third chapter you will learn things like what the pen feature does and why the strokes and fills are important design elements.

Chapter 4 delves into the mighty world of adding text to a Flash movie. Find out what a font symbol is and how to break apart text to form individual graphic elements. Derek also gives you some tips on using text, like not animating large blocks of it and how small text elements take up less processor time and come along smoother. Chapter 5 is about adding sound to your Flash movie and the next chapter goes through working with bitmap files. Learn some things about symbols in Chapter 7 and how to navigate the work area known as the Stage in Chapter 8.

Part 3 is Movie Production, Visual. The chapters in this part go more into detail about things in the program. Learn about layers in Chapter 9 and how to import video segments in the 11th chapter. The 10th chapter covers how Flash animation works.

The next part, Movie Production, Interactive, takes you into the mighty world of ActionScript. This JavaScript like programming language is a pretty powerful tool that can be used above and beyond the normal confines of standard Flash MX elements. Learn how to add ActionScript elements to your Flash MX movie and to tweak the scripts to avoid conflicts.

Part 6 is called Movie Distribution. Here you will find out how to test your Flash movie. Then you will learn the various ways that a Flash MX movie can be distributed and published.

The last part is a hands on project in which you will use what Derek has taught during the course of the book.

This book doesn’t catch all of the nuances of the Flash MX program. I don’t think any one book can. But Derek goes a long way to show how to use the program and what a well thought out and designed Flash MX movie could be like.

Macromedia Flash MX Creative Web Animation and Interactivity is available wherever computer graphics and animation books are sold. It has a list price of $ 44.99 US. That might seem a little pricey, but once you get a chance to look at the book, it won’t seem like too much money. And you get the samples and source files on the CD, without having to go online to get them like some other authors have you do.

For additional information, visit the Peachpit Press web site at or Macromedia at


© 2002 Bruce E. Von Stiers