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Flash Graphic Effects Learning Guide

Flash Graphic Effects Learning Guide

Macromedia Flash 8 introduces a number of new features for producing new types of graphic effects. These new effects will change the look of much of the Flash creative work you will see because they really open up many new design possibilities for Flash projects.

Along with some of the new drawing features and video capabilities, these new graphic effects make up a category of tools promoting expressiveness—the ability to enhance the look and feel of your project. Many of these expressiveness features—in particular, the new drawing-related features—are available in both Flash Basic and Flash Professional. However, some of the new, specialized effects features are only available in the Flash Professional 8 user interface—or in both Flash Basic 8 and Flash Professional 8 when you use ActionScript code.

Here’s a summary of a few of these important new features:

  • Graphics effects filters: Filters let you create more compelling designs by applying visual effects to movie clips and text. Filters are natively supported and rendered in real time by Flash Player 8. With these filters, you can make objects glow, add drop shadows, and apply many other effects and combinations of effects.
  • Blend modes: You can achieve a variety of compositing effects by using blend modes to change the way the image of one object on the Stage is combined with the images of any objects beneath it.
  • Bitmap smoothing: Bitmap images now look much better on the Stage when they are severely enlarged or reduced. The appearance of these bitmaps in the Flash authoring tool and in Flash Player is now consistent.
  • Runtime bitmap caching: Runtime bitmap caching lets you optimize playback performance by specifying that a static movie clip (for example, a background image) or button symbol be cached as a bitmap at runtime. Caching a movie clip as a bitmap prevents Flash Player from having to continually redraw the image, providing a significant improvement in playback performance in some scenarios. This feature is available in the Flash Basic 8 and Flash Professional 8 user interface.

While these new filters and blends effects exist only in the Flash Professional 8 user interface, both Flash Basic and Flash Professional let you draw and animate your content. Both versions contain enhanced drawing tools and functionality and new, improved text rendering. You can apply filters and blend effects in both Flash Basic 8 and Flash Professional 8 using ActionScript code.


To follow along with this learning guide, you will need to install the following software:

Macromedia Flash Professional 8

Prerequisite Knowledge

You should know how to use the Flash workspace and have a basic knowledge of working with Flash files. Also, for the sections on creating graphic effects with code, you need to be familiar with ActionScript at an intermediate level.