Flash CS6 course launchedFlash has grown beyond its best known application, Web pages. Nowadays, Flash movies appear everywhere—the Internet, mobile devices, the cinema, TV shows and commercials, computer games. Using Flash, you can create a wide variety of file formats, including apps (iOS and Android), HTML5, and video that work on virtually any device.

In this course, you’ll learn how to create animation, interactive movies, and mobile apps in Flash CS6 and develop several full-blown Flash applications. We’ll start by reviewing the Flash workspace, creating text and graphics, and animating objects on the Flash stage. Then, we’ll look in detail at the anatomy of a Flash movie—how to use the Flash timeline, layers and frames to control objects, and timing on the stage.

While creating your first Flash movie, you’ll learn how to format and embed external digital media and how to make them appear or play at specific times. We’ll also look at controlling digital media based on specific events, such as end user mouse clicks.

No course on Flash is complete without an introduction to ActionScript, Flash’s powerful programming language. We’ll get our hands dirty, creating interactive buttons with ActionScript 3.0. You’ll also learn to write scripts that control movie flow, and scripts that call to and load external videos, Web pages, and other Flash movie files.

As we create our movie, we’ll go over creating and animating 3-D objects, syncing sounds with animations, and publishing your Flash movies to the Internet and to mobile apps. By the end of the course, you’ll understand the fundamentals of Flash and be ready to master more advanced Flash topics.


Course Details

 Week One
Wednesday – Lesson 01

Many people think of Adobe Flash as animation software, but it’s much more than that. Flash is the industry standard for creating animated, interactive movies and applications. It’s also widely used in TV commercials and cinema special effects. In our first lesson, you’ll begin by getting acquainted with the Flash interface, or workspace. Then, I’ll show you how to create your first animated graphic. Whether you’ve worked with Flash a bit before or this is your first time opening the program, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Flash designer when you finish this lesson.

Friday – Lesson 02
    Flash comes with everything you need to create complete interactive movies and applications, including a palette of tools for drawing lines and shapes. Today you’ll learn how to draw rectangles, circles, and lines to create a framework for a Flash movie. I’ll show you how to change line and fill properties and how to apply special effects such as drop shadows and gradient fills to the objects you draw. You’ll also learn how to arrange and distribute objects on the Flash Stage with the tremendously useful Align panel.
 Week Two
Wednesday – Lesson 03
    Nearly every Flash movie calls for some kind of text—such as buttons, headlines, captions, and taglines. In this lesson, I’ll show you how to use Flash’s Text tool to create basic text. Then we’ll apply all kinds of formatting options and special effects—such as colors, drop shadows, and bevels—to make the text more interesting and appealing. The text you create in this lesson will become the buttons, headlines, and captions for our ongoing movie project during the remainder of the course. We’ll also take a brief look at Flash CS6’s TLF Text feature, a whole new text formatting engine that greatly expands text formatting options and text display quality.
Friday – Lesson 04

In Flash and other animation programs, events happen over time. Flash measures time in frames on a grid called a Timeline. Today you’ll learn how the Timeline works. We’ll use it and Flash’s Layers feature to distribute and animate several objects on the Stage. We’ll animate our buttons and graphics so that they fade onto the Stage at different intervals in our movie. You’ll also see how to use Flash’s tweens (automatic animation creation tools) to make objects move frame-by-frame on the Stage. We’ll also take a quick look at Movie Clip symbols. By the end of this lesson, you’ll understand the basics of animation in Flash.

 Week Three
Wednesday – Lesson 05

As your ongoing movie grows in file size and length, you’ll find that breaking it into logically organized scenes makes it easier to work with. This time, I’ll show you how to create new scenes. Then, we’ll look at importing elements from other programs, such as Photoshop and Word. Most of the movies people create in Flash contain objects created in external graphics programs. I’ll show you how to create your first TLF Text box, how to embed fonts, and how to figure out what fonts to embed. You’ll also learn the basics of bitmap and vector graphics formatting so that using these objects in Flash movies is a lot easier.

Friday – Lesson 06

Ready. Set. Action! You can make your movies more interesting, entertaining, and informative with sound and digital video. While it’s relatively easy to import a media file into Flash, getting the results you want isn’t so straightforward. In this lesson, I’ll tell you what you need to know about sound and digital video file formats. Then, we’ll look at how to make sounds play. You’ll discover how to create ambient backgrounds for your movies and how to make sounds play on specific events, such as mouse-overs and clicks. You’ll also learn how to use different mouse states, creating rollover-like effects that change the button’s behavior as users mouse around in your movies.

 Week Four
Wednesday – Lesson 07
    To produce applications in Flash, you must know how to create interactivity—or how to tell the movie what to do when a user clicks a button. Today, you’ll see how to use ActionScript 3.0, Flash’s powerful programming language, to make your buttons work. We’ll look at basic programming concepts, and then we’ll write some event listener and event handler scripts that make our buttons hot and our movie interactive. When we finish, you’ll have created a complete Flash movie with working buttons, button sound effects, and user navigation.
Friday – Lesson 08

ActionScript 3.0 is the backbone for creating sophisticated Flash movies. In this lesson, we’ll look deeper into programming with ActionScript. You’ll learn how to create buttons that allow the user to control animation, and we’ll create a short movie that lets users view products online in various colors. We’ll also take a look at the Code Snippets panel and learn how to let Flash create basic scripts automatically and how to save your own code snippets you can use any time in any movie. Since we’re venturing into more advanced Flash topics, we’ll also take a look at creating and manipulating 3-D graphics in Flash. Finally, you’ll learn how to create complex animations with Flash’s Motion Editor.

 Week Five
Wednesday – Lesson 09
    If you’ve watched a few Flash movies, you’ve probably noticed that many of them have several features in common: progress bars that tell users how long they must wait before the movie starts playing; image galleries for displaying photos and product images; similar sounds and animations. To save you time when you’re creating these common elements, Flash comes with several premade components that install these effects for you. You can find thousands of components on the Web, or you can save your own components and use them over and over. Flash also comes with many motion presets that make it easy to create sophisticated animations. Today we’ll take a look at using motion presets and creating and saving your own animations for use in multiple movies.
Friday – Lesson 10

Like most high-end software programs, Flash comes with and supports files from many other applications. In this lesson, we’ll look at Adobe Media Encoder. Media Encoder is a nifty little utility that comes with Flash and lets you format video and sound files for Flash movies and other applications, such as YouTube. We’ll also explore the tight integration between Photoshop and Flash—you’ll learn how to work more quickly and efficiently by importing your Photoshop files directly into Flash. We’ll even touch on publishing Flash movies for mobile devices with the AIR runtime, including actually publishing an AIR app to a smartphone or tablet.

 Week Six
Wednesday – Lesson 11

Flash CS6 has a bunch of great tools and features for creating sophisticated graphics effects and complex animations. Today, we’ll look at three of them: the Deco tool, the Spray Brush tool, and the Bone tool. The first two tools create graphics special effects in highly useful and professional-looking patterns. The Bone tool is an animation tool that lets you easily create animations that simulate the movement of humans and animals—things like people walking, animals running, and birds flying. These tools will help you give your movies and animations a polished, professional look.

Friday – Lesson 12
Why should you do all this work to create interactive movies if you can’t share them with the world? In your final lesson, you’ll find out how to publish your work to the Internet. You’ll learn how Web servers work and how to upload files to make your creations public. You’ll also have a chance to integrate your movies into Adobe Dreamweaver files and then use that popular application to upload your movies to a public Web server. When you finish this lesson, you’ll have successfully joined the elite ranks of Flash designers.
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This tutorial shows you how to fade several objects onto the Flash stage at once. You can use this technique in all versions of Flash, except that in versions of Flash prior to CS3, Classic Tweens are called Motion Tweens. The following video was done in CS4, but, again, the only difference between Flash versions is the change of tween names.

The following steps fade several objects onto the Stage at the same time. These instructions assume that all the objects you are animating are currently on the same layer. If you already have your symbols on separate layers, skip the steps for distributing the symbols to layers. For this procedure to work, all objects you animate must be symbols.

  1. SHIFT + click all the objects you want to animate.
  2. Right-click one of the selected objects and choose Distribute to Layers.
  3. Clear the frames on the new layers. Flash will insert new keyframes in the frame directly behind the last cleared frame on each layer.
  4. In the top layer of the group of layers you want to animate, click the animation end-point frame to select it, and then, on the bottom layer of the group of layers, SHIFT + click the animation end-point frame. This selects all the frames in the animations’ end-point columns.
  5. Right-click the selection and choose Insert Keyframe from the pop-up menu.
  6. Click the animation start-point keyframe on the top layer of the group to select it, and then click the Pasteboard to deselect the  symbol. (Deselecting the symbol here is necessary because, while Flash does select the symbol when you click the frame, the selection is not in the correct state to apply an Alpha affect. The purpose for clicking the start-point frame was to get us back to that frame.)
  7. SHIFT + click each of the symbols you want to animate to select them.
  8. In the Symbol Properties panel, under Color Effect, click the Style drop-down and choose Alpha.
  9. Set the Alpha percentage to 0.
  10. Click the end-point keyframe on the bottom layer to select it, and then SHIFT + click start-point keyframe on the top layer to select all the frames on all the layers you want to animate.
  11. Right-click the selection and choose Create Classic Tween from the pop-up menu.

Intricate stuff, huh? Your objects should now fade onto the Stage. I probably don’t need to point out here the necessity for precision. But I’ll do so anyway. It’s important that you follow these steps exactly. I suggest you watch the above video.

You can learn this and many other Flash techniques in William Harrel’s introduction and intermediate Flash courses over at Ed2Go.

William Harrel – www.williamharrel.com

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Click here to go to ed2go

The long-awaited Intermediate Flash CS5 and Intermediate Flash Cs4 courses at ed2go.com will be launched at over 2,500 colleges and universities on June 15, 2011. This is the sequel to William Harrel’s immensely popular Introduction to CS4 and Introduction to CS5 courses offered by ed2go for the past two years. These courses expand on the introductory topics taught in Harrel’s highly instructional introductory courses. Students will take what they’ve learned in the intro courses to the next level, with advanced instruction in ActionScript, Motion Editor, Bone Tool, Deco Tool, and other Flash features–allowing them to take their Flash skills to a marketable level.

“These two new courses will bring my students up to a skill level that will allows them to market themselves in a variety of Flash design markets,” Harrel says. “It’s personally gratifying to help them reach this level of design skills.”

Harrel’s ed2go courses have been very well received by his students, as demonstrated in the following student comments:

“I really learned so much in this course and the instruction was excellent. Hope to see an intermediate course to CS4.”

“I found the course to be highly beneficial and Bill Harrel does an excellent job of presenting complex information in an understandable fashion. Bill also gets top marks for responsiveness regarding questions.”

“Fantastic course! I went from knowing nearly nothing in Flash to feeling pretty confident that I can put together simple Flash movies. The subject matter was well illustrated and explained, and I felt the instructor was patient and thorough in responding to questions and problems.”

For more information on these new courses, please visit ed2go.com


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Ultra modern new medical Website

February 4, 2011: We are pleased to announce the debut of the totally redesigned SpineCenter.com, home of Dr. Chiu and the California Spine Institute and Medical Center. SpineCenter.com was our first Website design project. We had limited skills and limited technology at our disposal. Still, we thought it was one most beautiful and most technologically advanced Websites of the day. But then the Web was so new then that everybody was awed and really didn’t notice how garish and fundamentally simple our Websites were. The new SpineCenter.com is about 80 percent Flash. It’s loaded with dynamic and entertaining special effects, has hours of digital videos describing and depicting the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery procedure, photo galleries, presentations–you name it. And it’s all arranged so that everybody–visiting medical professionals, potential patients or students–can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. This new site is the culmination of all we’ve learned after over 20 years of design.

High quality streaming video, including surgery in action.

High quality streaming video, including surgery in action.

BThe new site is a completely scripted AS3 and XML modular Flash design, complementing CSI’s ultra-modern Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery (MISS)  and physical rehabilitation center, located in Thousand Oaks, California. Dr. Chiu is the primary developer of the Micro-Discectomy and Laser Thermodiskoplasty MISS procedures for eliminating pain from herniated spinal discs.

The new site is resplendent with content on spine surgery, MISS and Medical Laser technology–complete with videos, presentations, research and other information designed for medical professionals and the general public. It branches at the home page to accommodate professionals looking for technology solutions and providers and non-professionals looking for alternatives to conventional “open back” surgery.

“We have been tacking on new information almost weekly for many years,” says Dr. Chiu. “It has become a huge maze of mismatched designs [reflecting the styles of the several different designers employed to update it] and outdated material mixed in with the new, pertinent data.” It’s time to bring it all together in a format where users can find what they need without hunting and pecking.” Dr. Chiu added that he is excited about the work so far and eager to get it up and running.

The site is now in service. Feel free to go take a look: You can find it here: www.spinecenter.com

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Best in HD format.

In Part 3 we look scripting the portfolio and saving it to a movie clip symbol.

Learn this and other techniques in William Harrel’s Introduction to Flash CS4 Course at Ed2Go.

Click here to download portfolio.fla.

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Best in HD format.

In Part 2 we look at extending the basic portfolio structure, animation, tweens and instance names.

Learn this and other techniques in William Harrel’s Introduction to Flash CS4 Course at Ed2Go.

Click here to download portfolio.fla.

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Best in HD format.

In Part one we look at laying out the basic portfolio structure.

Learn this and other techniques in William Harrel’s Introduction to Flash CS4 Course at Ed2Go.

Click here to download portfolio.fla.

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Here’s an easy way to sync sounds with animation in Flash without scripting. Give it a try. You won’t believe how easy it is.

You can learn this technique in William Harrel’s Introduction to Adobe Flash CS4 over at Ed2Go.

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Use this simple technique to fade symbols on to the Stage.

  1. On the symbol’s layer, right-click the desired end-point frame for the animation and insert a keyframe.
  2. Click the start-point keyframe on the symbol’s layer, and then click the symbol to select it.
  3. In the Symbol Properties panel, under the Color Effect section, click the Style drop-down and choose Alpha.
  4. Slide the Alpha slider all the way to the left, until the field next to the slider reads 0 percent. (I’ll explain Alpha in a minute.)
  5. On the symbol’s layer, click the start-point keyframe and then SHIFT + click the end-point keyframe to select all the frames in the animation span.
  6. Right-click the selected frames and choose Create Classic Tween.

The text string now fades gradually on to the Stage. We used the Alpha option to achieve this affect. If you use Photoshop or Illustrator, you’ll know this feature as Transparency or Opacity. Alpha controls the transparency of an object. Zero Alpha is completely transparent, and 100 percent Alpha is non-transparent.

William Harrel  – www.williamharrel.com

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Here is a clean and simple way to animate shapes in Flash.

You can learn this technique in William Harrel’s Introduction to Adobe Flash CS4 over at Ed2Go.

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