MAX 2005: What’s New in Flash 8 Professional

Grant Skinner does lots of Flash design experiments which can be found on his blog.

Flash 8 is all about expressiveness, according to Macromedia. This differs from 7 (MX 2004) which was about developers (coders).

New IDE enhancements include: grouped panels, library panel improvements, dynamically resizing pasteboard (area outside the stage), better Help panel with boolean searching, and a better ActionScript editor.

There are now two modes of drawing, the standard mode and object drawing — “automatic grouping on steriods.” Better gradients with more points and overflow control. Radial gradients have off-center focus points. Gradient strokes, end caps, joins, miter limits, stroke hinting. (Looks like Flash 8 is getting a lot of the features that are in Fireworks). You can also set lines to not scale. So an 8-pixel line will remain an 8-pixel line even if the whole graphic it is a part of is scaled.

9scale is the ability to have an element scale by only stretching the middle of the object. The top, bottom, left and right will not scale, only the middle. So you can create things like buttons or interface windows and the edges will stay the same scale while the middle will expand. Here is an example I found.

Can use a variety of Blend Modes, like in graphics tools. “Odd-ball” modes include alpha and erase, which apply an alpha channel to an element. Using the Layer mode will pre-composite elements before applying an alpha or erase mode.

Filters like Drop Shadow, Glow and such are more elements borrowed from Fireworks.

Runtime bitmpa caching in Flash 8 will giving huge performance gains for movie clips that do not change other than position. It will use more memory.

FlashType text rendering engine gives quality and performance improvements. Custom thickness and sharpness. Justified text, character spacing and kerning, consistent rendering between authoring and runtime.

Video enhancements include alpha-video, so video can be placed on top of static backgrounds. Improvements in video codec and importing. You can set cue points in the video, crop and trim it. Nice skinned components for controls.

You can tween filters, so, for instance, you can have a drop shadow grow. You can set easing to a curve rather than having a straight tween.

Local playback security settings mean that you can set it up so a movie has local file access or remote file access, but not both. You can post-process a swf after Publishing, using special settings. You can attach meta data to swf files for search engines.

For mobile development, you can publish as Flash Lite, and set to a certain phone to emulate that phone in the test window. However, CPU is not emulated, just screen size and inputs.

Bitmaps controls in ActionScript include pixel editing, filters and much more.

You can upload and download files from the server. This means you can bypass the browser upload functionality and do it right in Flash. Components add a progress bar and controls.

You can communicate with the browser, directly to JavaScript. And it works in all major browsers on Window and Mac. Looks like you can use getElementByID in Flash.

The Show Redraw Regions debugging tool will allow you to see what Flash has to re-render for each frame and help you optimize playback.

Posted on October 17, 2005 at 11:08 am by site admin · Permalink
In: General