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Flash 8 - New for Designers

August 08th 2005 | Mike Sorrenti

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Flash 8 - New for Designers

Macromedia is focusing on designers for this new release. And you will be pleased with all of the features being offered.

Flash 8, is a designer's playground and it will increase your ability to express yourself.

Filters


Who hasn't wanted to add filter effects to their projects in the past? Whether a website, a game, or a presentation I know I have always wished for these features. Macromedia is offering filter effects like drop shadow, blur, glow, bevel, and color adjust to Flash 8. This will give designers greater control over the visual experiences they create and will allow more time for designers to be more creative with what they design as there will be less need to edit and manipulate images using secondary applications. My personal favorite is the drop shadow effects which can be applied to an animation; I find it adds to the realism and depth of the animated object. I would love for there to be more filter options but I am sure that this will come in due time either via Macromedia or a third party.

Blend Modes


Allow you to combine and blend two images or symbols in Flash. Once again, a much needed option to add depth to your design. This feature helps to create realism in your design by combining different components and helping your composition to blend and fit together regardless of the source of each image or component.

Text in Flash: no longer blurry


I couldn't tell you how many times I have had clients complain that the text showing in the .swf wasn't as clear as the printed page. Now, there were a lot of solutions to make the text appear better, but it still was never 100%, or as one of my clients commented, never as nice as a printed page. It seems that Macromedia has finally addressed this issue with something they call FlashType. I am not sure how it works or why it works but I am glad that it does work and having had the opportunity to compare text in both versions of Flash and I am happy to report that the improvement is exponential.

More control over animations


You can now control the velocity of animated objects, thus giving you more control over your animations. This tool will definitely come in handy for the leagues of animators who use Flash as their primary 2D animation tool. I recently animated a car chase sequence and would have loved the option to increase the velocity of the car using this new and improved control panel.

Bitmap caching


Vector objects are cached as bitmaps to reduce their size without losing the original vector data. I have yet to test this out but it should reduce the work put onto the processor and should also help with the performance of final files.

Stroke Properties


You can now apply a gradient to a stroke as well as a fill. Not a huge problem but a very useful option for designing and creating 2D characters in flash. It will definitely help Illustrators with greater control of their creations within Flash. More interesting is the possibility to cap lines properly, rather than the rounded lines we've gotten used to from Flash. Expect to see Flash work that does not look that "Flash-alike".

Advanced gradient Control


You can now control focal points of radial gradients. So if you need the sun to shine on a planet from the top right you can indicate that in your gradient. I tried this option and found the hotspot option to be very useful. I found the arrows to be a bit small but his can be resolved by zooming in on the object for which the gradient is being applies and modified.

Advanced Library


This is a feature I am crazy about. If I have ten files open in flash I am able to toggle to and from each library placing items from each library onto the stage of my main project. All Library information will now be consolidated on screen into a single panel. This will make it much easier to work with multiple files or on larger projects where groups are working on different aspects of the same project.

Script Assist


This new version provides a user interface for coding scripts that is user friendly and offers script choices. This is a great feature for those of us who spend hours and hours trying to figure out a problem that is as simple as a syntax error (unfortunately I am one of these people). I have yet to spend a lot of time with this option but from the time I have spent it seems to be a very good way for first-time coders to learn how to use and understand action script effectively.

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About Mike Sorrenti

Michael Sorrenti is the President of Game Pill Inc. and writes for Flash Magazine on a variety of topics close to his heart. He can be reached at info@gamepill.com with any questions or comments. Game Pill Inc. is an interactive studio that specializes in online game development and interactive marketing. Based out of Canada, Game Pill is a small boutique studio of animators, programmers and art directors.  Game Pill Inc. has entertained audiences in many mediums including touch screen kiosk development, online experiences and most notably online games and e-learning.  Game Pill has mainly worked bringing the properties of Fortune 500 companies to life and currently in the process of creating their own properties for licensing.  Game Pill Inc. has worked on projects for: Wrigley’s, Cott, Disney, CORUS, Astral Media, Mazda, and many others.

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