Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Macromedia Flash

The first time I saw Flash, I loved it. I never really knew anything about it, just that it had frames, objects, tweens - all the basics a normal flash beginner would know. A boy sat at school, clicking away, drawing something in Flash then tweening it. And their I sat, amazed and confused at the same time. It is strange how you could look at a program and not know what it does, but at the same time you begin to need it.

The next day, I went to a close by CD store with my dad. I had convinced my dad to say to the man that he wanted it, not me. I could just imagine the laugh that would come if I came and said I wanted a copy of Macromedia Flash. So it all worked to plan, my dad handed over 3.5JDs (you greedy shop, blank CDs cost a few piasters), and he handed over Macromedia Flash Pro 8. And feeling confident, I went home and installed it.

I felt stupid when I couldn't do anything on the program. I had thought I had memorised everything the boy done, but nothing worked. I began to feel frustrated, at how I had wasted lots of dinars to how I had not asked for help in the first place. I was in a tight position and I did what I always do - give up.

A few days later, or weeks maybe, I went with my uncle to a computer fair, and after going around the place I found the For Dummies books. I found it, Macromedia Flash MX For Dummies. I knew I had to get it, and after a long long series of nagging, I bought it. Although MX and Pro 8 are different versions, the book still taught virtually the same thing since there weren't that much big differences between the two versions.

I learnt quite quickly. The first thing I made was just a simple rotating tween, but as time came I began to learn frame by frame animation and start to use the tools. This wasn't really that good, I wasn't into drawing or animation. I began to learn about buttons, and began to touch onto my first programming language - Actionscript. Buttons weren't really that good in teaching me, and since the book didn't teach AS, I went and searched on the Internet.

I found a forum which had quite a lot of hand written tutorials, all about Actionscript - everything from the simple gotoAndPlay to the terrifying API (in which you draw through code). The forum also allowed me to ask the users there, mostly teens in their 16s, and I would usually get answers in minutes since it was a very big forum with over two million users.

And as time past, I began to learn and became much better in AS, learning much more advanced thing such as Arrays and Math functions. But one day, I had to format the computer, and Flash was lost. Thinking I could reinstall it from the CD I got, I tried it, and found it was virtually unreadable since it had a million scratches on it. I then gave up on Flash for the moment, and began to learn other things like PHP.

But all of that changed a week ago. My school's IT lab had Flash MX on it, and after I tried a few things on it, I began to remember most of what I had learnt in Action Script. The next lesson I brought out my USB drive, looked around, plugged it in, copy, paste, took it out - done. At home, I installed it and began to try out something new I had learnt which was rotation of objects by AS.

The program basically relies on two variables to rotate an object, one is speed and one is acceleration. The square rotates till it reaches a certain speed then starts slowing down until zero then repeats itself. Its quite interesting, I guess my Physics teacher would be impressed. But then again, he wouldn't really care. I won't bother.



  1. Khaled, get a CD case so your CDs don't get scratched. The best ones have microfiber (the white foamy stuff with potholes). Carrefour has a nice selection.

    By the way, if your dad goes downtown, they sell the CDs/DVDs much cheaper there. Like 0.5JDs for a CD, and 1JD for a DVD.

    Don't be afraid to ask for Flash or any technical program no matter how old you are. If the store owner laughs, who cares, you probably know more about the program than he does.

  2. Hani:

    I have a good case I got from London, but its for my PS2 games (I hate the sandwich bags they come in XD). Most of my PC programs are either downloaded from the internet or stolen from another computer via USB drive. =D

    And my dad rarely goes to Al-Gardens, let alone Downtown (only once he went there to get LOTR). If I want PS2 games I have to walk to a nearby stationary shop, and when I wanted to mod my PS2 I had to go to Al-Gardens by taxi, and that was a horrifying experience!

  3. You were supposed to pay for the book from your "Eidiat", i hope your father did not forget that:)
    I wish i can learn Flash but no time.

  4. Yes, of course I payed for it!

    I can lend you the book to read if you want.

  5. I love Flash but I always face a problem finding suitable sounds for my animation.

  6. You should use loops for your animations, since full songs make the flash file huge.

    Google "Flash Kit" for a website that gives good loops.