- Series: Charles River Media Internet & Web Design
- Paperback: 450 pages
- Publisher: Cengage Learning; 1 edition (April 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584503157
- ISBN-13: 978-1584503156
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,782,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Illustrating With Macromedia Flash™ MX 2004 (Charles River Media Internet & Web Design) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Robert Firebaugh (Foster City, CA) is the founder of vectorkid.com, a vector art community site that educates developers about the illustration possibilities in Flash. He has over 10 years of illustration and game design experience, and he is the creative director and co-founder of Electrotank, Inc. The games he has designed have won numerous international awards and have been acknowledged by many publications. He is an active member in the graphics community, publishing many other Flash works in magazines (Computer Arts, Computer Arts Projects, Web Designer, Practical Web Projects, and more). He contributed a chapter on gaming graphics in Macromedia Flash MX Game Design Demystified and is the author of the first edition of this book, as well as the forthcoming, Macromedia Flash Professional 8 Game Graphics.
Top customer reviews
By reading the material and working through the exercises I acquired a better understanding on how various effects are created in Flash. I also learned plenty about the drawing tools that I didn't know or just hadn't utilized before. But of course, there is some material that I found as just a review as well. Nevertheless, the main technique utilized in this book is the proper use of the line tool and gradients to create detailed optimized graphics. Some of the most detailed graphics on the CD like the steel pan and fruit only exported out to about 2-3 KB in size. So the graphics are definitely optimized and yet still very detailed.
This book does have quite a few flaws though. Overall, most of the exercises were inconsistent and just difficult to follow. Certain exercises provided plenty of detail and were simple to follow. But, other exercises were just the opposite, with vaguer details and generally harder instructions. At times, it was even difficult determining whether a certain section was meant to be read or followed. It didn't help that many of the exercises, mainly in the later chapters, were overly complex to start. Creating some of these graphics proved a bit too difficult even with all the figures demonstrating the steps. One of the most difficult and time consuming aspects was trying to create the complex gradient outlines required for these graphic (Especially based on colorless images). The break down of the graphics on the CD does help at times. A final problem was the excess use of shortcuts without actually providing the key strokes or even the original menu location.
If optimized vector graphics are necessary and there is ample time to create them, then this book can be a great help. However, many of these graphics would be quicker and easier to create in other programs (although larger is size). I did feel that too many exercises were overly complex and even hard to follow. In spite of this I was still able to improve by illustrating abilities in Flash.
From what I've read so far the book has a focus of creating highly optimized quality vector graphics and focuses on how you can use all the tools to your advantage.
This book reintroduced me to flash's vector drawing tools and made me fall in love with them.
However I was abit dissapointed towards the end that the book became more like a wad of tutorials, it says chapter 10 is tutorials but it seems more tutorially in chapter 5 and onward.
I was hoping to have more illustration ideas/tricks in chapter 5. I really like the perspective stuff this book has.
In conclusion this book is great for beginners and good/okay for experienced users, this book applies to Flash MX as well (so you dont need 2004).
Everyone could benefit from the techniques presented in the book.
For example, in the directions for creating a "honeycomb graphic," the author says to create a "five-sided polygon" (p. 32). Without seeing that Figure 2.21 shows a six-sided polygon, a new person will create this polygon according to directions and be totally frustrated with the fact that the sides are slanted and in no way will create the object needed for this exercise. After creating the correct polygon, the author says to connect the 26 corner points. However, without being able to see the majority of these corner points due to lack of directions (a person familiar with the program would probably know the right steps to take here), there is no way to complete this exercise.
This is just one example; there are many such problems in this book. Not only are there missing steps in exercises, there are missing words in sentences which makes it hard to follow.
I would not recommend this book for someone just starting out in Flash MX 2004. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the program or a mind reader, you can overlook some of these problems. The whining about what was wrong with the program didn't help either.
The author really gets into detail discussing several different illustration techniques and tricks. I was immediately able to take this information and use it to create my own visuals. I also found the chapters on animation techniques and game design techniques really helpful, and fun to read :)
Needless to say, I cannot recommend this book highly enough!