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This update is a must have, especially for professionals who work with other Creative Suite products.

Software Review – Adobe Master Collection – Adobe Flash CS3 Professional From Adobe Systems

This is the fourth part of a series of reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) Master Collection. When Adobe released CS3 earlier this year, they not only released single version products, but also six separate suites of products. They are Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, Standard, Production Premium, and Master Collection. You can go online to compare what is contained in each version. The goal of this series it to define what each product does and provide information of what the new version brings to the table.

What do you need to run Adobe Flash CS3 Professional? On Windows you need an Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Intel Core™ Duo (or compatible) processor, Windows XP SP2 or Vista, on Mac, PowerPC® G4 or G5 or multicore Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.4.8 – 10.5 (Leopard), 512 MB RAM, 64 MB Video RAM, 1,024×768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card, 2.5GB hard drive space and DVD-ROM Drive.

 Adobe Flash CS3 Professional, is the multimedia authoring program that can be used to create web applications, games, movies, as well as content for mobile phones and other embedded devices. Originally developed and distributed by Macromedia and acquired by Adobe in 2005, Flash has a player client that is available in most common web browsers. It features support for raster as well as vector graphics, a scripting language known as ActionScript, and the ability of bi-directional streaming of both audio and video.

Flash was first introduced in 1996 and since then Flash technology has become popular for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. Flash files; often called movies, or games, have a .swf extension can exist as an object in a web page or played in a Flash Player. Flash video files have a .flv extension and are utilized from within a .swf file.

Along with Adobe Flash CS3 Professional being the first version of Flash released under the banner of Adobe, it provides a number of changes that bring it up to date with the other Adobe products as well as add new features.

So what is new with Adobe Flash CS3 Professional?

• Native Import – Adobe Flash CS3 Professional is now fully integrated with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. There is a new paste dialog box that makes it possible to preserve functionality and structure when copying and pasting from Photoshop or Illustrator into Flash. You can even import native .PSD (Photoshop) and .AI (Illustrator) files right into the Flash CS3 layouts. This means that you can preserve layers and groups while within Flash.

• Convert animation to ActionScript 3.0 – allows you to convert timeline tween animations instantly to ActionScript 3.0. This allows you to animate visually, and then translate motion into reusable, easily editable code. This is really a time saving feature and it supports position, scale, rotation, skew, color, easing, transform center, filters, and frame properties. Even if you have not used ActionScript before, this is a perfect way to learn it.

• Common User Interface – As with all of the redesigned products from the Adobe family, Adobe Flash CS3 Professional now comes with a common Adobe interface that make it easy to work within the Adobe product series. It has the same panel adjustments that allows you to gain back more of your screen space as needed.

• ActionScript 3.0 development with advanced debugger – brings a whole new level of efficiency to development with ActionScript 3.0. It is more accessible to beginners while offering professionals a much more powerful programming environment. There is also a brand new debugger that allows you to step through a wide variety of properties within your code during runtime. The debugger now sports a collection of panels in a debug mode workspace to make it easier to work through your debugging tasks.

• Adobe Device Central – streamlines the creation of mobile content with mobile device skins and regularly updated device profiles. Here you will be able to display realistic skins that will show you what your content will look like on those devices. You will be able to interact with the emulated device that simulates real-world interaction.

• New Drawing tools – including the new Pen tool that looks and acts like the one in Adobe Illustrator, Shape primitives that allow you to draw and manipulate rectangles, ovals, and more. 9-slice scaling feature that allows you to intelligently scales objects.

• Advanced QuickTime Export – allows for all complex nested symbols and ActionScript to export exactly as you have seen and heard them in Flash Player. It captures exactly what the Flash Player plays back.

• Sophisticated Video Encoding – contains options such as deinterlacing, advance cue point control, and a larger selection of video component skins to provide you with more control over the appearance of your video

Adobe Flash CS3 Professional is still the champion for creating web interactive web content and this version is a much faster and is a very solid release. The downside is still the fact that it is a complex program to learn and it will still be frustrating to new users. But with perseverance comes rewards and Adobe Flash CS3 Professional is no exception. The strength of its features makes it the grail worth pursuing.

Adobe Flash CS3 Professional has many time saving features such as the ability to import the layers of both Photoshop and Illustrator files, the new compiler and debugger, and the new more interactive ActionScript 3.0.

While Adobe Flash CS3 Professional still has some issues with memory when multiple  Adobe products are open; sometimes you have to close one or more to get things to move faster, I think that this version is a tremendous improvement over the last version. Especially for professionals who work with the other Creative Suite products, this update is a must have, and with the new tools and capabilities is worth serious consideration for anyone contemplating the move to Flash.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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