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Review Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Classroom in a Book

Discussion in 'Articles, Reviews and Interviews' started by tripwire45, May 15, 2007.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Classroom in a Book

    Author: Adobe Creative Team
    Format: Paperback, 352 pages
    Publisher: Adobe Press; 1st edition (April 27, 2007)
    ISBN-10: 0321499824
    ISBN-13: 978-0321499820

    Review by James Pyles
    May 15, 2007

    I've been doing an awful lot of writing about Flash lately. Not that I'm an expert, which is one of the reasons I'm reviewing this book. I find myself thrown into situations that require more of me than I currently possess; at least in terms of certain experiences. Like most people, I have an idea what Flash is and what it does, but am (or was) not so sure how Flash works. To answer my questions and to learn more, I decided to go to school.

    Well...not school actually. Instead, I tried out a "Classroom in a Book". This is the Adobe Press (Peachpit, actually) series of educational books designed for use either in an instructor led, classroom environment or by the individual learning on his or her own. I fit the latter description. The initial parts of the book didn't teach me too much, but that's only because in my endeavours to document flash-related products for a client, I managed to learn at least the basics. However, to become more effective, I needed to learn much more.

    The way this series is designed, you won't be able to get the full value from it unless you use the companion CD and you won't be able to get full value from the CD unless you have Flash and Quicktime installed on your computer. The CD contains a number of PDF files, some of which are advertisements or discount coupons for various products. There are however, fla and swf files comprising the lessons and 16 mov files containing tutorial movies (value added). I should mention though that since this version of Flash can import Photoshop and and Illustrator files and ActionScript development, you won't get the "full meal deal" unless you have your hands on these technologies as well.

    This hardly means the old fashioned text-based book in and of itself is worthless. For those of us who remember when reading a book was "just" reading a book, without consulting other resources, it's important to know if what is contained between the covers is going to teach anything. The answer to that is "yes" and "no". It's "yes" in the sense that the lessons are very matter-of-fact, complete (missing no steps) and well illustrated. It's "no" in the sense that you need to at least have Flash installed on your computer and have access to the lesson files in order to follow along with the steps in each lesson. As Captain Kirk said to Lieutenant Saavak in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "We learn by doing".

    That's how this book teaches; by doing. I won't claim that it'll turn you into a Flash CS3 Professional guru in 24 seconds, 24 minutes, or 24 hours. In fact, sometimes, the lessons go rather slowly. I'm not talking about movies or flash lessons but the actual "doing" of the lesson. If you are starting out knowing little or nothing about making Flash animations, then it'll take time to become familiar with the interface, all of the tools, and how things work. Sure, you might be an expert in whatever productivity tools you currently use, but think back to when you weren't and you were just learning. Learning and becoming proficient takes time. That's something we tend to miss in our "instant gratification, microwave oven, I've-got-to-have-it-now" culture.

    What I think you will get out of this experience is a sense of how "cool" Flash is and how much fun it is to make things in Flash and then see them work. The one temptation you'll need to resist is to break from the lesson plan or worse, start to become frustrated with it. The lessons very much guide you through the learning process but for awhile, it'll seem like you are doing nothing but following along with the steps by rote. I remember trying to learn the trumpet and I had the same experience. It didn't seem like I was learning to play so much as I was just following along. I quit after just a few lessons and never returned to learn any musical instrument. Of course, I was only ten at the time and I lacked the discipline and vision to see where the lessons could ultimately lead.

    Despite what I said earlier about lessons going slowly, all you really have to do is diligently work your way through 352 pages of lessons. If you hang in there (and like I said, it's really a fun and cool technology to work with), you'll learn at least the basics of working in Flash and you'll have added another tool to your web development arsenal.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  2. nellyp123

    nellyp123 Byte Poster

    Hi, i have started to study in flash using macromedia's flash 8 pro. Just wanted to ask a flash user how long did it take to master it. And i must add that i finding it quite easy and good fun to!:biggrin
    Certifications: CIW Professional
  3. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Using is one thing. Mastering is something else. I'm still just noodling around with it really and only then, because part of my "day job" is writing documentation for Adobe products including Flash.

    EDIT: If you are interested in different print resources, you might try reading about another one HERE.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+

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