The best way to get acquainted with Flash is just to dive in and create a simple animation. So this chapter starts with some tips for planning your work so you can get more done in less time (and be happier with the result). You see how to set up your Flash document and use the most popular Flash drawing tools—the Pen, the Pencil, the Shape tool, the Line tool, and the Brush—to draw a simple picture. Then you learn how to add color to your drawn shapes and move them around on the Stage.
In the next chapter, you add a few more drawings and string them together to create a simple animation.
Drawing a single picture is relatively easy. But creating an effective animation—one that gets your message across, or entertains people, or persuades them to take an action—takes a bit more up-front work. And not just because you have to generate dozens or even hundreds of pictures: You also have to decide how to order them, how to make them flow together, when (or if) to add text and audio, and so on. In other words, you have to think like a movie director. With its myriad controls, windows, and panels, Flash gives you all the tools you need to create a complex, professional animation, but it can't do the thinking for you.
In this section, you see how the pros approach this crucial first step in the animation process: how to create a storyboard, come up with ideas, test your ideas, and benefit from others' successes.
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