The Good Configurable interface; gives advanced designers access to versatile and powerful scripting; organizational tools make it easy to develop Flash movies.
The Bad Advanced movie actions require programming skills; offers limited drawing and bitmap tools.
The Bottom Line If you're a sophisticated developer who needs the powerful options Flash offers, turn to Macromedia Flash MX. But for a program that's just as hefty, much easier to use, and significantly less expensive, try Adobe LiveMotion.
When it first appeared in 1996, Macromedia Flash was an uncomplicated animation app. Since then, the Flash file format has become the standard for interactive Web-based multimedia. Flash MX, the graphics app of the same name, lets you fashion stunning, highly interactive Flash animation. But this program won't win any ease-of-use awards; only experienced Web designers can take advantage of its most sophisticated features. If you don't have programming expertise and don't need to prepare your animation for e-commerce sites, consider the equally powerful but cheaper and easier LiveMotion instead.When it first appeared in 1996, Macromedia Flash was an uncomplicated animation app. Since then, the Flash file format has become the standard for interactive Web-based multimedia. Flash MX, the graphics app of the same name, lets you fashion stunning, highly interactive Flash animation. But this program won't win any ease-of-use awards; only experienced Web designers can take advantage of its most sophisticated features. If you don't have programming expertise and don't need to prepare your animation for e-commerce sites, consider the equally powerful but cheaper and easier LiveMotion instead.
Interface saves time and space
Flash MX's updated look resembles a typical Macromedia MX interface, which should appeal to Macromedia devotees. But everyone will appreciate Flash MX's excellent tutorials, sample animation sequences, and templates. Flash's 20 dockable and collapsible palettes, including the Movie Explorer, save screenspace, and the convenient Properties Inspector lets you alter the properties, such as color and size, of any selected object.
To start building a movie, you create a separate layer for each object you add to your work space. To generate objects from scratch, delve into Flash MX's vector toolbox. You'll find the standard pencil and Bezier pen as well as tools that produce circles and squares. Version MX's new Free Transform tool lets you distort object outlines. Better still, Flash integrates closely with Fireworks and FreeHand, a vector drawing package, so you can edit an image in FreeHand and export it back to Flash.
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