Foundation Macromedia Flash MX
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Title: Foundation Macromedia Flash MX
Author: Kris Besley, Sham Bhangal, Amanda Farr.
Published by: Friends Of Ed.
RRP: USD $29.99 (Less at Amazon)
Format: Mass-market paperback
User Level: Beginner
Review By: Stephen (Red Penguin, ActionScript.org)
At a glance: 8/10
A very good intro to Flash in all its beauty for the beginner.
Well, have you just gotten your eager hands on Flash MX? Are you knew to the Flash environment? If the answer to these questions is a resounding yes, then you will need this book. As with all of the Friends of Ed books, you can rely on the content. It is straightforward without a lot of mumbo jumbo thrown in. How does this one compare?
We start from the beginning. It is a book of discovery. You need to know what "tweening" is and how to do it. Grouping of objects; using the different panels; using the individual tools and explaining what they do; making buttons; masking techniques; and the like. So, the first "half" of the book is geared towards the novice user and getting these "basics" down pat. The explanations given were apt and easy to understand. There wasn't any confusion when following the examples.
The book also, as per usual with this sort of learning, gives the reader a "case study" to complete. After learning certain necessary "skills", you are encouraged to put them to the test. The files necessary are online, so you can get the completed files to compare to your own if there is a problem. My recommendation is to do the entire project and then (and ONLY then) compare. They give the novice user the chance to see what's wrong, if anything. It's a step by step process and combined with the tutorials here at as.org, you should be up to speed with the basics and what you need to know after a few short weeks.
Now, onto the second half of the book. You are introduced to the wonderful world of ActionScript. This is why you're here, right? If you are a beginner/novice, you are introduced gently in this book. All of the examples given use the "novice" mode, thus no typing of any script is necessary except of course to set variables and user defined paths/clips. Again, you are given simple tasks which take you through the "basics" of ActionScripting and what you end up with is a simple movie which illustrates these necessary skills.
Next we get into video and sound. Once again, sounds and videos are provided online. This is a gentle introduction. Yet for anyone, video is something new in Flash. It gives you all the necessary details about the dialogue boxes and what they mean. This is by no means the book to get if you need to know more detail about video and Flash MX but I believe you can read all about that from 20 Ton Squirrel and his review on the book about that.
We then learn about optimizing (good skills learned here) and publishing techniques and then yet another section about ActionScripting. A bit more in depth and again, you will learn more of the skills needed to master ActionScript. The book ends with a discussion about "high-level site design" as well as an overview of where you can go to learn more as well as what kind of issues you need to consider if thinking about embarking on a career in Flash.
So, in summary, this book is for the beginner/novice. It is a good introduction to the Flash world and the book takes you from knowing absolutely nothing to having a good grasp on the necessary skills needed to pursue the "Flash dream".