Review of Adobe Flash CS3

July 31, 2007 12:43 am

Flash CS3 is the program to use for building dynamic, interactive content for web pages, mobile devices, online games, etc. The program interacts smoothly and seamlessly with other Adobe programs such as Photoshop CS3 and Illustrator CS3. Flash CS3 is used to build content to promote products, create educational materials, and just build fun animations to use on websites.

Before I start this review, let me state that I will mainly be testing and discussing the new features only. I am not skilled at Flash and use it on a very simplistic basis. I used it more in its early versions.

The UI of Flash CS3 is similar to Illustrator CS3, InDesign CS3, as well as Photoshop CS3. I use two monitors, and I am able to bring any panel I want onto the second monitor which is where I like to open them. As can be seen from the image below, panels can now be docked for easy accessibility. They can be expanded or contracted to show just the icon of the panel or the name as well. The panels can be grouped together or docked singly. Below there are three groups of three panels. However, I could have had those panels arranged in any grouping.

Flash CS3 allows direct importation from Photoshop CS3 while retaining layers and a similar importation from Illustrator CS3. It gives the user the choice of how and in what form to import the layers from both programs. Below is the import screen from Photoshop CS3. Each layer will show up on the Timeline so it is a good idea to name your layers for easy identification even though when a layer is selected, a box will appear around the image on the stage.

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The choices will change depending upon what type of layer you choose.

One can easily create an animation and save it as an ActionScript 3.0. I did one by just taking my website logo and moving it across the screen. The Photoshop CS3 file consisted of just a layer (the logo) and a background.

Once I created the animation, I saved it as an ActionScript 3.0 and pasted it into the Action panel.

The Action Script 3.0 debugger is new and now shares properties with Adobe Flex™ Builder™ 2. To See if it would pick up an error in the above script, I changed the word in the first line from import to export. Below is the result. It showed me the line where the error was located.

Flash CS3 has added some new drawing tools. The new pen tool is now set up to be similar to Illustrator CS3's. When you start a segment, an "X" will appear. When you close a segment, an "O" will appear.

There are other new tools such as a Rectangular Primitive Shape which allows for manipulation.The screen capture below shows the new Rectangular Primitive Shape on the left and the regular Rectangle on the right.

The corners can be manipulated by themselves or through the slider on the Properties panel.

Video can be incorporated into Flash technology. To accomplish this it must be encoded into Flash Video Format (FLV). If you are planning on incorporating a large amount, you will want to use the standalone, Flash Video Encoder, which is part of Flash CS3 Professional

The process of encoding a QuickTime video is not hard. A wizard actually walks you through it. There are a lot of choices available. Below is part of the Encoding screen showing some of the initial choices available.

You can build a Flash User Interface using pre-built components all written in ActionScript 3.0. You can choose components and, then, customize their use. Below are the list of the non-video components.

You can also create videos from components. On the right is the Video Component panel. The FLVPlayback Component was dragged onto the stage. A source movie was chosen, and, then, various other modifications were made such as skinbackground color, etc. For those creating UIs in Flash, these components make it very easy.

A full version of Flash CS3 Professional is from US $699.00 and and upgrade is from US $199.00.

The system requirements are:

Windows

  • Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Intel Core™ Duo (or compatible) processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™ Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (certified for 32-bit editions)
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 2.5GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
  • 1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7.1.2 software required for multimedia features
  • Internet or phone connection required for product activation
  • Broadband Internet connection required for Adobe Stock Photos and other services

Macintosh

  • 1GHz PowerPC® G4 or G5 or multicore Intel® processor
  • Mac OS X v.10.4.8
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 2.5GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
  • 1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7.1.2 software required for multimedia features
  • Internet or phone connection required for product activation
  • Broadband Internet connection required for Adobe Stock Photos and other services

A free trial of Flash CS3 professional can be downloaded.


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The Paula Sanders Report is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column, where Paula investigates and comments on graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.
July 30, 2007

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Article Comments


lazyartist ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 31 July 2007

Is this gonna be better to use than Macromedia's Flash? what format does the application make?

Paula Sanders ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 01 August 2007

Adobe bought out Macromedia. It is an updated version of Flash with new material added that I described in the review. Try it to see if it meets your needs. When you say, "What format does the application make?" do you mean SWF? Because it exports to an SWF as it did in prior versions.

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 02 August 2007

I like the ease of encoding QuickTime videos. Wizards are always useful, especially when you are starting out. Thanks for another outstanding look into the Adobe CS3 Suite, and a review of what's new in Flash. Dee-Marie


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