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Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers 1st Corrected ed., Corr. 5th printing Edition
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About the Author
David Stiller is a career multimedia programmer/designer whose portfolio includes NASA, Adobe, and major U.S. automotive and boat manufacturers. He likes anaglyph 3D photography, finely crafted wooden game boards, Library of Congress field recordings, and Turkish coffee. David is self-taught and gets a kick out of sharing "aha!" moments with others through consultation, mentoring, and regular contributions to the Adobe Flash and ActionScript forums. He is a resident author at Community MX, a web development training site geared toward Adobe products. David lives in Virginia with his amazing wife, Dawn, and his beguiling daughter, Meridian.
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I doubt many people read a book like this cover-to-cover. Typically, the reader will head for a particular subject heading, read part of the chapter and try out the exercises. And this is where the text really shines--the exercises are extensive and presented in an accessible, friendly fashion.
People who are just starting Flash now are very lucky. Although there have been voluminous Flash manuals for years, most were aimed either at the complete novice who wanted to learn the basics of timeline animation, or emphasized some abstruse new features, particularly in programming, image filters or video development. Now at last we have some well-written books aimed at the vast middle market of designers.
The book is so well thought out with a great layout, that I think it's unbelievable that they would overlook such a major omission. All of the content is upfront, even the tech reviewer and cover designer have their own bio pages. In fact when I looked at the blank white page that immediately follows the "introduction" but precedes the "layout conventions" I began to suspect that I probably missed it - and I did. It's written in micro-print as the last line on the copyright page (where?) just before the credits. So what gives? Probably a little joke on the readers and a gentle shove to visit their website for the clicks (uh, content).
If you can get over the fact that the pages are written in b&w or having to create your own cd (flash drive!)- it's really a great book to read and work with. I'll use Chapter 1 (Learning the Flash CS3 Professional Interface) to explain my reasons why. The title is a bit modest because it introduced a lot of material like concepts, keystrokes (PC & MAC), tools, timelines, symbols, movie clips, library, objects, layers, motion and more --- in every day language. Along the way, you're actually using them. At the end, I had a really good general understanding and a nice comfort-level with the features of Flash while being hungry for more. Perfect timing because the remaining chapters are more in-depth and build on Chapter 1. Moreover, I was excited to realize that it bridges the learning curve for the other CS3 programs. Afterwards, I jumped into another newbie book (Adobe's Dreamweaver CS3 On Demand) and nope - no fog! I haven't written a review on it yet but it's looking pretty good and it's in color.
Other than that, the book seems ok but there are many times, when doing the exercises, that the ActionScript just doesn't work as it should. I've had to repeat exercises 3 or 4 times before it works. Could be me, maybe I'm entering the script wrong. It does have to be entered precisely. Not a bad book. I was a beginner when I got it. Seems that you will need a few other books and a lot of practice. Flash is not a simple application to learn. But, anything worth learning takes a lot of work on your part. I would have liked the book more if it had some color - its all black and white and does get a bit boring. As designers, we tend to respond more to color. This book is lacking in that area. For $21 + S&H, I would have expected a more polished production.
Right from Chapter One, things go wrong. The book attempts to talk you through specific steps in creating basic shapes and animations in Flash using their downloaded files. Nice idea, but unfortunately, the starting downloaded file looked NOTHING like it was described in the book, so going through the following procedures was pretty useless. Right from the get-go I was frustrated and confused because the book was saying one thing, and I was looking at something altogether different. Beyond this, the steps themselves were confusing. I honestly don't think they took much care in making sure the steps were clear and understandable. Steps were repeated for no reason, menu items were mentioned without introduction or explanation, and there was no elaboration on the step given so that the whole thing was reduced to a simple "monkey-see, monkey-do" exercise. Unbelievable.
If you are brand new to Flash, steer well clear of this book. You will find no enlightenment in this disorganized, mess of a manual.