New Masters Of Flash - The 2002 Annual

by Joe Gillespie — Oct 1, 2001
New Masters of Flash - The 2002 Annual

Back in February, I reviewed "New Masters of Flash" from publishers, Friends of Ed. The 2002 Annual is a follow-up to that book and goes deeper into the philosophies and principles underlying the use of Macromedia Flash.

This is not just a "how to" book like some others, even though it gives excellent tutorials at every stage. More importantly, it examines the thinking behind the examples through written, (and some video) interviews with the seventeen authors and designers.

The real hero of the book is "creativity" portrayed with visually stunning examples. To achieve those examples, there is a lot of fairly advanced ActionScript programming but to explain how they work, they are broken down into readily digestable morsels.

Each example steps you through the principles involved and shows the final result. It is the principles that are important because it is these you will want to add to your reportoire - not the examples themselves - most of those are more akin to 'fine art' than design.

Interestingly, notes in the book tell that where the average age of designers using HTML is 38, the average age of designers using Flash is only 23.

I won't list the whole contents of the book, which covers a very broad spectrum of techniques but I'd like to mention a couple of items that particularly appealled to me.

"Driven" by Josh Levine is an exercise in math and indeed, the beauty of math. It is a very simple 3D object made from concentric rings that follows the cursor but under some kind of "magnetic" influence. The results are fascinating as the rings follow and repel one another around the screen and the notes in the book suggest ways in which the ActionScript can be modified to create other behaviours.

"Trick" by Hoss Gifford is a simulation of painting with a Japanese calligraphy brush. The strokes are bold and wild and gradually fade over time like ink on paper. It is difficult to describe the satisfaction that can be achieved with this seemingly simple tool. The coding behind it is far from simple.

New Masters of Flash - The 2002 Annual is certainly not for novice Flash users, it's all pretty advanced stuff and a far cry from the typical clichéd Flash sites that never seem to get beyond moving two dimensional lines and circles across the screen for no particular reason at all. The work in this book is both inpirational and aspirational and another fine resource from Friends of Ed.

New Master of Flash - The 2002 Annual
Manufacturer Friends of Ed
Price $59.99 Amazon $41.99
Summary A 'Must Have' for serious Flash designers.
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