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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2008
I have been playing with Flash on and off for some time. Until now I have not been able to put all the pieces together. There are some great books out there that provide more detail on the basics of Flash which I think one needs to better understand Flash and better understand the lessons in this book. There and other great books that show you how to master Flash but they are more advanced and are focused primarily on pure animation within Flash. This book pulls it all together. Concepts I thought I understood before are much clearer now. If you are a web developer and not a graphic designer you will find the examples very practical. This was one of those technical books that inspired me and I found I put off other work just so I could get to the next chapter.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Working in the Higher Education field, I use Flash for multiple purposes. One way is to create items for online learning environments. I am also and adjunct instructor who teaches students to use flash for website and multimedia creation. I have been using flash since 2002, but every new version offers new features and interface changes. Flash CS4 Professional Digital Classroom is a wonderful tool for me to make the transition from CS3 to CS4. The book is very organized, making it easy to find the topic I need. The book provides practical lessons for beginners in flash, or advanced users transitioning into CS4.

As in instructor, this book is a wonderful tool for students with different learning styles. The students can open files provided on the accompanying DVD, and follow along with the step-by-step instructions containing wonderful images for visual demonstrations. At the end of each chapter are review Q&A's for self-evaluation.

The supplemental videos on the DVD are a great way for students to learn at their own pace. This is wonderful for students who may have missed something in class, or just need to spend more time to go over the lesson. The concise videos not only demonstrate how to do something, but provide explanations of why that particular step is done.

This book is a great tool for teaching and learning Flash for all levels of users.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This Flash CS4 Professional tutorial helped me bridge the gap between my traditional print-world experience, and taking advantage of the interactive world of Flash CS4. The lessons are self-paced, and the DVD helped me reinforce my new Flash skills, or take a few minutes to review areas where I still needed some work.

This is the fourth book I've used in the Digital Classroom series. The pace is always perfect. And Flash CS4 helped explain everything from animation sequences to the opportunities of ActionScript.

Digital Classroom Flash CS4 showed me the Light!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2009
This book by Fred Gerantabee and the AGI Creative Team is a great book if you are learning Flash or just want to learn how to use the new features in Flash CS4 Pro. This book is sectioned into 15 lessons beginning with an introduction to Flash, a touch of ActionScript and ending with advanced animation techniques.

If you are a beginner, start each lesson by viewing the matching video tutorial found on the book's DVD. It will familiarize you with the tools and techniques that you will be using in the lesson. Then you will find the step-by-step lessons easier to follow. Besides the video tutorials, the authors included a "putting it all together" section to show how the techniques being discussed work together. Most of the lessons are project-based, which is a good way to learn something new.

There are some significant changes to Flash CS4. The authors discuss the new UI, Deco and Spray Brush drawing tools, as well as the new 3D tools, Alignment panel and importing native Photoshop and Illustrator graphics. They also introduce the new animation tools including Motion Presets, Motion Editor and IK tools.

After the introduction, the authors give you practice with the drawing tools, text, colors, layers and all the basics for creating objects on the stage. Next, you start a web banner project and prepare for animation by discussing symbols, the Flash Library and how to organize your movie assets. Your next project is an animated ad featuring a worm. You will use the new Deco and Spray Brush tools to create symbols and then use the Bone tool to make the worm posable, in preparation for adding IK and animation. Finally, you are ready to learn Flash's new object-based frame by frame animation with a web banner project. But, the authors also cover the old type of Flash animation, now called Classic Tween. In the advanced animation project, you will add filters, 3D, easing and learn to create your own motion presets. When adding IK in your animations, you learn to use the new Bone and Bind tools, Shape Hints and Armature layers.

Most beginner-level books on Flash include an introduction to ActionScript and the authors discuss some of the most common tasks that a beginner might encounter such as programming a button to control the main Timeline. Using a simple animation project, they demonstrate step by step how to control the playback of both the Timeline and individual movie clips. They show the readers how to use both Script Assist and how to code ActionScript. The last projects include background sound, button synced with sound effects and video.

The AGI Creative Team teaches classes and authors books on many aspects of creative software.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
Having never used Flash, being 52 years young, I can really say this book is very good at teaching Flash CS4 fundamentals. Flash for Dummies does not even rate against this book. I went through the Dummies book first, but got so much more out of the digital classroom book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Upon receiving my copy of the Flash CS4 Digital Classroom, I was impressed by how easy it was to find the information I needed, as well as the very 'fluid' feel of the lesson plan. There is a very natural flow of information in this very successful series, and the Flash CS4 package is a fantastic example of this. From the beginning of the book, I could tell that Mr. Garantabee is an authority on the source material, and this is no small feat. What is more impressive, however, is that Mr. Garantabee and the AGI Creative Team are able to present the information in a very intuitive manner (as we all know, it's one thing to 'know' the information, but it's an entirely different matter to be able to 'teach' it). This book surpassed my expectations entirely, and has given me a fresh understanding of many Flash concepts.

The companion DVD also does a fantastic job of illustrating many methods and features of Flash CS4, and being able to watch the lesson is an invaluable way of learning for any Flash user. As I got further and further into the lesson plan, I found myself memorizing many of the techniques without even trying, which is an effective learning method. I highly recommend this package for anyone learning Flash, or even hoping to advance their current skills!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2010
I used this as a textbook for a Flash class and it is NOT good for this purpose! While it does teach some good drawing techniques, there are major problems with using this book to actually learn Flash.

The first few chapters are short enough that the drawing concepts taught are comprehensible but Chapter 7 is ridiculous! The chapter is so long it is difficult to understand why particular steps are required. If you make one error it is very hard to retrace your steps back to find out what is wrong and fix the problem. This chapter also has FIVE ERRORS!!! I reported these to the publisher who in turn contacted the author. This was a frustrating process and even though I know (and the class knows also!) that these errors are legitimate and confusing, I do not think our concerns were taken seriously (or at least I have not yet seen errata posted in regards to the five errors).

This book is very much like Classroom in a Book which also had long chapters. Both books provide pre-created animation components which leaves students not knowing how to create a simple motion tween, shape tween, or mask animation on their own (and we are over halfway through the book!).

One other problem I have with this book is that it skims over some important techniques (including those mentioned in the previous paragraph) while leaping into some in-depth topics that are probably not necessary for a new Flash user.

I will re-post if I find that the five errors in Chapter 7 are addressed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have seen the author Fred Gerantabee in action, and nobody can translate complex tasks and applications into easily digestible bites than him. This book is helpful to anyone who wants to feel comfortable working in Flash, but also wants to apply what they have learned to their own projects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Adobe Flash CS4 training package serves as a multifaceted learning tool for the most occupied designer. I found the topics to be a concentrated overview with continued focus within each topic. The examples used to demonstrate the new capacity of Flash CS4, touched upon new and old concepts to complete each project.

Especially useful are the well pocketed tips and definitions of shapes and design principles. They are extremely helpful in the overall understanding of Flash CS4. This fabulous book design allows me, as a mid-level Flash designer, to find topics quickly and to draw upon examples to complete projects of my own. Very easy to read and a real page turner in comparison to most other books I have read on the topic. If you prefer hands on learning to wordy tech software manuals, then this book is for you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2009
Awesome book which spans the gamut from drawing basic shapes up through creating your own controls and connecting them to ActionScript. Uses tutorial style lessons which are clear and actually work (which isn't true of some other Flash books I've read.)

The book only loses one star for not having a stay-flat binding. Any book which expects you to read while you're following along on the computer needs to stay open on the desk on its own.
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