Tutorial 1 - Flash Software Overview

In this first tutorial, I am simply going over the basic features of Flash and how it can be used for many art, animation and internet projects. I am not a representative of the Adobe company....however, as a Professional Animator and Website Designer, I do recommend their product. It is an affordable and efficient way to bring your creative ideas to life.


Adobe's "Flash" Software was originally designed to be an efficient tool for website designers. A Flash website can have advanced graphics, interactivity, and the final website is generally much smaller in file-size compared to standard websites. Flash designs can be reduced or enlarged in size without the image getting blurry or pixilated, so it is the best way to showcase your products or ideas. It is also an excellent drawing program, as the image can be scaled large or small without loss of quality. Designs can be saved in a variety of website image formats, and also as files that can be used by professional printing companies.

Animators have found that Flash is an excellent tool for bringing their ideas to life. It has quickly become an industry standard animation program, because it can produce content for the Internet, but also at high resolution broadcast quality for TV and Film when used with a professional editing program. It is one of the more affordable animation programs used by Professional Animation Studios. There are currently many animated shows on TV, which are animated entirely in Flash.

If you're a beginner with animation, you'll appreciate that Flash can do a lot of the thinking for you. The software automatically moves your design from one pose to the next. You can control whether the design changes colour, turns transparent, changes shape (morphs), automatically rotates, or changes in size from each animation "keyframe" pose to the next. Using the "Motion Guide" option, you can make an object follow a any path you create. So, if you draw a top view of a car, you can tell it to move along a specific path so it looks like it's driving. The software understands you want it to move from point A to point B and follow the line you drew. The Motion Guide option can easily be used for flying birds, butterflies, spaceships, a bouncing ball, etc. It is a very quick way to produce some effective animation, and can be used in many ways.

Flash allows you to create your characters in separate layers. So you can have the character's head on one layer, the mouth and eyes on another and so on. This gives you control over the character's dialogue when talking in synch with an audio track and changing expression. Many people have been able to bring their ideas and stories to a large audience with their own internet cartoons created in the software. Flash cartoons can be as simple as a still drawing or photo with a moving mouth and blinking eyes. Others have achieved beautiful Feature quality Animation with Flash. The limits are only the time you invest, and what you can imagine.

If you would like to give Flash Animation and Design a try, Adobe offers a Free 30-Day Trial of their current version of Flash at the following link: http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/

The next tutorials I write will be step-by-step instruction for Flash Basics and lessons in Traditional Animation techniques you can use in Flash!

Subscribe to the RSS feed for "Mike's Tutorials" to be notified when each new tutorial is added.

Thanks for reading!

Mike Hogue