Flash CS4 for dummies book review

Like always we don't have to wait too long after new Flash Authoring Tool release for new books to appear. Series 'for dummies' is maybe most familiar out there and Flash CS4 book is among us. Written by bestseller author Ellen Finkelstein and Gurdy Leete this 400 pages book can easily meet your beginners needs. The Flash CS4 For Dummies book consist of 6 parts.

A Blast of Flash - this part has two introduction Flash CS4 chapters. You will learn when to use and when not to use Flash in your website design. This part is only for newcomers to Flash because it offers basic knowledge of how to create new document where the panels are, etc. Everyone with any experience in previous Flash versions are already familiar with this stuff. You can also read about how to set the Stage, how to add metadata to your file, how to use libraries and templates.

1000 Pictures and 1000 Words - part of the book will explain you some of the creative details like using pen tool and working with shapes. You will read about making your own graphics and importing other people's art. Manipulating objects is another subject of this part. While reading this chapter in one moment I had to check if this is book about Flash or Illustrator ?! Anyway, in this part more about cool text effects and using layers.

Getting Symbolic - creating, editing and using symbols. How to create instances, how to add filters and blends. One of the new Flash CS4 features is ability to change single instance 3D position and rotation. This only works for Flash Player 10 (AS3.0) publish settings. This part has another good chapter about Buttons.

Total Flash-o-Rama - Animation is everything. This part of the book is all about animation. You will finally learn how already famous Inverse Kinematics works (Bone tool). In this part also more on 3D space and editing motion paths. You can read about new Motion Presets and how to use them effectively. That's not all. You will meet Motion Editor which will satisfy everyone's curiosity guaranteed! Prepare yourself for some construction work since you will have to deal with things like armature and kinematic chains. This part finishes with valuable chapters about Sound and Video.

The Movie and The Web - is part about components, interactivity, preloaders and creating web sites using Flash CS4. In this part you can read a lot about publishing your Flash files.

The Part of Tens - as titles says, detailed answers to 10 most commonly asked questions, from 'How can I combine two flash movies' to 'How do I dynamically load music from the web'. Finally, you can read about 10 best flash resources and 10 flash designers to watch link lists.



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  1. I just purchased this flash cs4 all in one for dummies which didnt come cheap and I have to say It has some helpful tips but mostly it doesnt make the concept of flash any easier to understand for beginners. I doubt that this book is even written by someone that knows flash all that well to be honest.
    Most of the step by step tutorials miss vital information which leaves the beginner sitting there scratching their head wandering where they went wrong ie - me.
    Example- pg 273 'movin on the timeline'
    step 4 says press f6 to add two keframes at frame 15 and 30.
    step 5 says add content to first frame then do the same thing to 15 and 30.

    However when the learner goes to frame 15 and 30 after adding keyframes and content at 1 they will see that the same content is also on frame 15 and 30???
    Are we supposed to add content over the top of the content thats there already?? Or was step 5 not explained well enough.

    Step 6 says lock the layer then

    step 7 says click on a frame and add an image.
    But to what layer we are supposed to add this image is not specified.
    The project has 3 layers. Wouldnt it be a good idea to let people know which layer??

    This book is full of frustrating unclear instructions like this that leave the eager learner ready to throw the book and the computer out the window. Dont buy it. There has to be better out there.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts !