Before you begin to use some of the theory that we've just covered, it's worth clarifying that creating realistic 3D and producing believable 3D are two different things. In Flash MX, a 2D vector graphics application, we're simply concerned with creating believable 3D effects. On the other hand, realistic 3D is something that might be used in a motion picture, or something that could be created in a specific 3D software package (3D Studio Max, for example). In such cases, the designers need the audience to believe that the 3D is in fact real. In contrast, in this chapter we're not trying to emulate any kind of super- realism we'll just create objects and scenes that the viewer can believe are meant to be 3D, such as our humble pool ball.
Throughout the following tutorials, keep in mind that there are always many different ways to create effects in Flash. You may eventually find that you like creating these visuals differently, but the fundamental ideas behind each example are what you should remember. That may simply mean that the highlight gets drawn before the reflection or vice versa. Our point is that we explain how to recreate these objects linearly from the bottom up. You may find that when you do them from scratch you'll create them differently, and that's just fine. Also, because color is so important in creating believable 3D, we focus on gradients and colors a bit as well.
These demonstrations will hopefully serve to inspire and motivate you, and from here you should just go with your feeling and create the best looking Flash 3D possible.