Flash started as a web animation tool and remains one of the most popular on the market. Now that you have some drawing and organization skills under your belt, you're ready to start making graphics move. The trick is knowing how to do so in ways that are both creative and aesthetically pleasing. Coupling inspiration and restraint can often lead to animation that makes a better first (and lasting) impression.
As your design experience and skills grow, you'll begin using Flash for more than just simple eye candy. Often, animation can be the key to more engaging presentations, effective charts and graphs, and more entertaining online advertisements. Flash animation has been used for everything from movie credits and DVD menus to billboards on the roofs of taxicabs.
In this chapter, your project will be to use a few essential techniques to create your first animated Flash movie. You won't need anything more than what comes with Flash, and this ease of use will be emphasized with a theme: "Flash 8 Out of the Box." When the project is complete, you'll publish a Flash .swf file for use on the Web.
The animation itself is straightforward. You'll first draw a series of colored boxes and then add text, as seen in Figure 3-1. Next, you'll jazz it up a little by making the boxes grow and the text slide into placejust enough to catch the reader's attention without being overbearing.
Figure 3-1. The Flash 8 Out of the Box animation