Introduction to Adobe Flash

For this workshop, we will recreate a simple interactive graphic, using Adobe Flash. This first workshop introduces you to creating buttons, rollovers and a simple animation. However, it’s worth noting that in this workshop, we are using ActionScript 2.0, even though a newer version (ActionScript 3.0) is available for us. I have found that ActionScript 2.0 is sometimes easier for beginners to grasp–especially when it comes to coding buttons–because it is a bit more intuitive at times. As you progress and become a more proficient Flash user, it will be necessary to learn ActionScript 3.0.

It’s also worth noting that although Flash is a very powerful program, it has fallen out of favor in recent years, largely because of its sluggish performance and history of security flaws. For these reasons, iOS devices, such as iPads and iPhones do not support viewing .swf files, the export file format for Flash animations. So think carefully about whether Flash is the right program for your project.

As HTML5 becomes more robust and new programs like Adobe Edge are released, some good alternatives to Flash are surfacing. The Adobe Edge interface (currently in beta release) is very much like Flash but provides developers the option to export files as .html documents instead of the less-suppported .swf format.

But learning some basic Flash techniques will certainly help round out your animation and interaction design skills. To get started, download the .zip file below. In it, you will find three files: FLA_instructions.pdf, Finished_Workshop.swf and Flash_Workshop_template.fla. Follow the instructions for creating a graphic that looks like the one shown here.

Click to download tutorial source files