In 1996, a small company called FutureWave Software was selling a product called FutureSplash Animator. This product was designed to do vector-based drawing and animation.
For those not familiar with vector-based graphics, here is an explanation:
Most graphics are pixel-based, which means that there are thousands of tiny blocks of color making up a picture. This becomes a problem when resizing images because, for instance, if you increase the size of a JPEG, you are not redrawing it. Instead, you are increasing the size of those tiny blocks of color, and the larger you make them, the more fuzzy and unclear the picture becomes.
Vector-based graphics are made with mathematical vector points so that in the case of a resize, they can redraw themselves to maintain quality. This and their generally smaller file size make them not only perfect for animation, but perfect for the web as well.
Figure 2.1 shows four circles; two are vector-based and two are pixel-based JPEGs.
Figure 2.1. The difference between vector- and pixel-based graphics is obvious, especially in curves.
As FutureSplash Animator gained in popularity throughout the year, another software company began to noticeMacromedia. So in December of that same year, FutureSplash Animator was purchased by Macromedia and became Flash 1.0.
As Flash progressed, it transformed from a simple drawing and animation tool to a multimedia tool and now into a full-blown web application development tool. It has its own object-oriented programming language, it can tie to nearly all middleware systems, and it has one of the most downloaded pieces of software in the world as its player.
Now that you know where Flash started and where it is heading, let's take a look at how to use it.