What is it we like so much about creating designs with three-dimensional elements? It seems that we can't get enough of 3D work, but why is it so eye-catching? After all, we see in real 3D every day of our lives! Some find creating 3D objects fun or neat, whereas others feel it is a way to express thoughts or ideas we may be familiar with in everyday lives. We like the idea of creating something that we've never seen in real life, such as a dinosaur or a spaceship. Seeing such a thing in 3D tricks your brain, even if for only a split second, that it might be real.
3D is fun because when we see this type of object, whether it be some kind of elaborate sci-fi spacecraft, a fantastic gel button on a website, or an animated 3D cartoon, we attempt to visualize what it would be like to actually have the thing in our hands or actually be in the same make-believe 3D environment. You can almost imagine what a gel button, for instance, would feel like. Is it smooth, squishy, or solid?
Of course, you realize that we are not quite talking about creating ultra -realistic spaceships straight out of Starship Troopers in this book (although stay tuned for Chapter 5, in which a flying saucer plays a central character). With the 3D cheats we concentrate on in this book, we're talking about generating really cool 3D effects with a program that is not specifically intended for 3D creation.
Flash is traditionally known as a 2D vector animation tool, but it has grown up over the years and is now being used to produce some of the coolest websites and movies around. With some creativity and a little know-how, Flash can used to create really cool pseudo-3D graphics as well.