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Flash Web Design Paperback – March 24, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Publishing; 1st edition (March 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735708967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735708969
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,670,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Learning from the best is always a good idea, especially when the best in the field is adept at explaining his methods. In Flash Web Design, Hillman Curtis, a renowned Web developer (particularly in motion graphics) walks you through nine enlightening Flash projects in order of increasing complexity.

Curtis calls these exercises "deconstructions," and it's an apt term. All the finished pieces can be viewed on Curtis's site ( With his help, you reconstruct each Flash movie with no step overlooked. They range from type animation (Macromedia Shockzone) to his bandwidth-skinny (20K) navigational, an interactive media site created with action scripting, a streaming visual poem with MP3 audio and many other techniques. The spots are all aesthetically elegant, vibrant, and cutting-edge in terms of design and typography and are even a pleasure to work with.

The author is first and foremost a designer. The book demonstrates the importance of conceptualizing the clients' needs and how to preplan and storyboard the projects. It documents the motivations behind even the smallest design decisions, making this book valuable as a teaching tool and not just a grab bag of hotshot how-tos. Each project takes time, but even beginners can re-create the Flash movies. The steps are clearly explained and illustrated with screen shots. The artwork, however, is not provided. To work along with the deconstructions, readers will have to create similar art, film, and sound files.

Those aware of Hillman Curtis's work will also be familiar with that of the book's designer, Todd Purgason of Juxt Interactive ( The layout for Flash Web Design evokes the layered, motion-through-structure style of Purgason's Web design ( and makes one wish the book also existed in movie format. In fact, Purgason's methodology is presented in the last chapter, where he shows the benefits of using Freehand in conjunction with Flash. --Angelynn Grant

Topics covered: Step-by-step case studies re-create existing Flash projects that range in complexity. Projects include type animation, navigational screens, working with wireframe art, converting vectorized video, working with streaming MP3 audio, using action scripting for interactivity, and going from Freehand sketches to finished Flash movies.

From the Publisher

Simply: This is the first Flash book for designers. Hillman Curtis has establised himself, particularly through, as a leader in motion graphics design for the web. His use of Macromedia Flash has further legitimized it as a tool that goes far beyond the creation of onscreen gizmotics; Flash becomes a prime tool for any web designer with a passion for the next level of possibilities presented by the innovative use of motion graphics on the web.

With web design today, solutions are important, perhaps moreso than opinion and rhetoric. As such, Hillman has created a book that is tutorial-based deconstruction, as opposed to pages and pages of opinion and pretty pictures of 'example' websites.

Hillman and friends succinctly tell us what they think is worth noting and learning, what is good motion-graphics design. Then they show us how it is done. And we take it from there with our own web design.

Customer Reviews

Very useful examples and step-by-step instructions.
This book will teach you how to bring out the best in Flash, and do things that the average flash user can't do without professional help.
Jack M
Hillman Curtis in this book gives great inspiration to develope my own ideas and design.
Kelvin Chen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Mark Messer on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to meet Hillman, and this book definitley reflects his vast knowledge and conceptual thinking of design before any project is even started within Flash.
You need to pay close attention to those elements of the book. Read them over and over and learn it! It's not because you need that background to do the projects in the book, in fact Hillman makes it quite easy to follow along with him on the projects. It is because you want to be able to learn why and how, so you can develop and tweak your conceptual, planning, and design skills.
Bottom line is, this is the best Flash book that I have. (I've got a lot of them)
If you don't have it, GET IT!
Thanks to Hillman for taking the time to share his talents and knowledge with all of us in this book.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Joe Bartlett on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Where most would consider the Flash Bible as the "meat and potatoes" of Flash technology, this book can easily be qualified as the icing on the cake. Or perhaps that is not the best way to describe this wonderful book by Hillman Curtis since there is little or no fluff contained therein.
Mr. Curtis has taken the medium to new heights in "Flash Web Design," a simply titled book that delivers exactly as promised. This is "the" how-to for designing a great Flash website. It not only covers the mechanical aspects, but teaches the visual design as well. If you read this book and still produce "ugly" sites, the fault does not lie on Hillman Curtis!
And Mr. Curtis brings these aspects of design into the book itself, creating a visually spectacular, easy-to-follow guide to illustrate every lesson. With a little basic knowledge of Flash, one can take the lessons contained within and begin producing wonderful sites within a few days.
This is a great resource for anyone from the novice user to the professional.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By cfig on June 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
For those who complain that there's not any actionscripting or more technical knowledge covered and that the book is just about design then you're not getting it, THIS BOOK IS ABOUT DESIGN (and it actually looks like a designer's book, something else I love about it). This isn't a technical manual by any means, though there is some insightful info on the Flash techniques used to vectorize video and optimizing movies for the web (among other things). Hillman Curtis talks about the process behind some of his work, how things are conceptualized and put together, and some of his basic theories behind motion design and Flash animation. If you're buying this looking for a bunch of how-to's then you'll probably be dissapointed, but if you're looking for an inspirational look into some of the most effective animation on the web then look no further. I strongly recommend this book, and I'd suggest picking up Flash 4 Magic as well. The two together cover the creative and technical spectrum of Flash design and complement each other perfectly.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "jen25" on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Flash Web Design" is clearly intended for the intermediate/advanced Flash user. Although I bought this book as a beginner myself, I first read the Flash 4 Visual Quickstart Guide to master the basics and familiarize myself with the Flash interface. The overall design of the book is excellent. If you read it and work through some of the projects you will not only learn how to create certain effects, but also when and why you might want to use them. However, be aware that the author assumes that you have access to software other than flash. Some of the projects require you to have access to some form of video editing software or 3D software. Without these applications you will probably not be able to complete all of the projects. I made it through chapter 5 and had to stop. To make matters worse, their is no project cd included with the book. While it is true that you can view and download projects from the book's web site, not all of the lessons are available for download, specifically chapters 6, 7, and 9. That being said I still highly recommend this book as an addition to your Flash library because of the design insight it offers. However, it should not be the first or the last book on Flash you purchase.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Davide Domenicali on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is really the best Flash book about web design. Don't buy if yuo want an how-to starting guide. It's the best in the approach to work and for entering in the design dimension. You cannot find very much book of this kind out there. Here you find REAL project with REAL problem to solve about conceptual Flash design. Here you don't waste your time with all those user interface description wich anyone can reach by himself. This is a must have book for any flash designer along with a good reference guide.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J. Hamlin on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
While it's nice to see a little design in Flash books finally, Flash Wed Design pulls the ol' trick of giving you so much glitz and glitter that you're fooled into thinking there's content in the book. To be fair, there was some decent info on Quicktime and 3D with Flash, but beyond that Flash Web Design is woefully behind the standard of books like Flash 4 Magic and Graphics, Animation, and Interactivity: with Flash 4.0 in all areas except design. The lack of a CD is devestating and is it just me or does someone have a serious ego trip going here (the motion blur employed on the author's mug on the cover is actually telling because most of the techniques within the book are brutally fuzzy at best). I'm puzzled at all the five star reviews. Either there's a lot of people who want a good looking coffee table book, or Curtis has a lot of friends pullin' for him. As for me, I can't recommend the book and I am ashamed of falling for the design over substance trick.
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