Most helpful critical review
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
a grab bag of tricks for flash 8
on March 20, 2007
Ok, the first thing you have to realize about Colin Smith is his incredible level of generosity. In case you don't know who he is, he is the guy who digitally created an image of his guitar. That's right, he built it up as a still life in Photoshop, layer by layer, over 1000 layers.
So, the incredibly diligent author of this book is one of the good guys, and with all that Photoshop expertness behind it, it probably won't surprise you to learn that the book itself looks great. That having been said, however, it deals with Flash 8, rather than 9, so all of the Actionscript examples are of less use if you want to learn AS 3 going forward. And with the IDE (the flash timeline authoring tool) about to change dramatically, maybe this book is one for your archives.
So, what's in the book? There are things in the book that wouldn't even occur to me, plus some things I can see being really useful.
It wouldn't even occur to me to animate a gradient, but Colin shows how to produce a really flashy cool effect by doing just that.
He shows how to do greenscreen video on a budget, and he shows how to do video silhouettes, just by importing the video onto a one-color field, and then turning the brightness down to minus 100. Formidable!
Probably the best thing in the whole book, something I have always wanted to do, is he shows how to animate characters' mouths to match their speech. He shows exactly how to do this, and gives mouth shapes for each of the nine common mouth sounds/shapes. Just a couple of pages, a really cool technique. Can you give five stars for just a couple of pages? Why not!
There are some great tricks on how to ease your animation motions to a standstill and give it a realistic look, how to emphasize an oncoming picture by outlining it, all step by step, and how to add sound to a button. Because of the way the illustrations were placed, I found the book a little hard to follow from a reading standpoint, but the information is all there.