Flash CS5.5: The Missing Manual – #bookreview

Flash CS5.5: The Missing Manual
By Chris Grover
(O’Reilly, $44.99, paperback)

Learning to use Flash CS5.5 is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. But this book — well-structured, well-written and nicely illustrated — can help you move from complete novice to adept, well-informed user at a reasonable pace.

“Flash has been evolving and adding features at a breakneck pace since Adobe acquired Macromedia at the end of 2005,” the author, Chris Grover, points out.

His new addition to O’Reilly’s popular “Missing Manual” series should prove helpful and instructive not only for Flash beginners, but also for those who have been using the animation-and-more software for a while.

As Chris Grover notes: “Flash performs several feats of audiovisual magic. You use it to create animations, to display video on a website, to create handheld apps [iOS and Android], or to build a complete web-based application.”

His book is hefty (841 pages) and follows a clear, step-by-step approach when showing how to use Flash CS5.5 features and tools.

Flash CS5.5: The Missing Manual is organized as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Part One: Creating a Flash Animation
  • Chapter 1: Getting Around Flash
  • Chapter 2: Creating Simple Drawings
  • Chapter 3: Animate Your Art
  • Part Two: Advanced Drawing and Animation
  • Chapter 4: Organizing Frames and Layers
  • Chapter 5: Advanced Drawing and Coloring
  • Chapter 6: Choosing and Formatting Text
  • Chapter 7: Reusable Flash: Symbols and Templates
  • Chapter 8: Advanced Tweens with the Motion Editor
  • Chapter 9: Realistic Animation with IKBones
  • Chapter 10: Incorporating Non-Flash Media Files
  • Chapter 11: Incorporating Sound and Video
  • Part Three: Adding Interactivity
  • Chapter 12: Introduction to ActionScript 3
  • Chapter 13: Controlling Actions with Events
  • Chapter 14: Organizing Objects with the Display List
  • Chapter 15: Controlling the Timeline and Animation
  • Chapter 16: Components for Interactivity
  • Chapter 17: Choosing, Using, and Animating Text
  • Chapter 18: Drawing with ActionScript
  • Part Four: Debugging and Delivering Your Animation
  • Chapter 19: Testing and Debugging Your Animation
  • Chapter 20: Publishing and Exporting
  • Chapter 21: Introducing Adobe AIR
  • Chapter 22: Making iPhone Apps
  • Chapter 23: Building Android Apps
  • Part Five: Appendixes
  • Appendix A: Installation and Help
  • Appendix B: Flash Professional CS5.5, Menu by Menu
  • Index (21 pages)

In the Installation and Help appendix, Chris Grover spells out the Flash CS5.5 minimum computer memory requirements: “1 GB for both Macs and PCs, but as usual, you won’t be sorry if you have two to four times that amount.” Indeed, he recommends that you have at least 20 GB of free space on your hard drive: “—not just for the program installation but to give you room to create and store your Flash masterpieces and import additional files (like previously created images, sound files, and movies) from elsewhere.”

He also urges going beyond the processor minimums–“[F]aster multicore processors work best”—and beyond the minimums for screen size and video card. “Flash has so many windows and panels, it’s great to have a system with more than one monitor or one very large display.”

Flash, he notes, works with Windows XP with Service Pack 2, Vista or Windows 7. “For Macs, the requirement is an Intel multicore processor accompanied by Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or 10.6.” He states that Flash CS5.5 is not compatible with PowerPC Macs.

Whether you are just starting out to learn Flash computer animation or seeking to hone and expand Flash skills you have learned on the fly, Flash CS5.5: The Missing Manual is well worth having open on your physical desktop, right beside your computer.

Of course, if you’d rather have it on your Kindle, it’s available here.

 –Si Dunn

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