Oct 18 2007

Stuff to know about Flash

Rabid flashers are aware that Actionscript3 has unleashed some awesome possibilities with web design. Probably OUR favorite addition is the MIT developed Papervision3D package. I tried to stay away from it since it looked too difficult, but eventually my brain upgraded itself. Actually the problem was I did not understand what was new or different about Actionscript3 and understanding that opened the doors.

My approach to beginning with AS3 was to take apart the source codes provided by the masters – Mr. Doob and Andre Michelle. I was really captivated by their examples of AS3, specifically Andre’s application of physics to Bitmap Data. So little by little I understood how AS3 is written – of course I read a lot about the commands in the Flash Help file and some message boards.

The biggest problem I ran into the beginning was that some AS3 sources provided by Andre were not to be used inside Flash, but had to be compiled by the FlexSDK. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places, but it really feels like there was a void inside Google to help one find out how Flex plays a role. Growing pains I guess.

So for anyone looking for information on how Andre Michelle’s code is actually to be used, download FlexSDK from Adobe (it is free) and read this awesome tutorial by Senocular on how to use MXMLC.exe. It’s possible to edit the source code to compile inside Flash, but this is a pretty good solution (even though some commands are unique to Flex) and let’s you make SWF’s for free.

Mr. Doob’s work was an incredibly easy to understand how to begin with Papervision3D. I hope everyone writes clean code like this fella. His interesting graphics stem from heavy experience in The Demo Scene and probably why I am so excited to take apart his source codes – I’ve been amazed by demos all my life. He also uses the Tweener library in creative ways. Tweener is a code library for creating smooth animation with actionscript instead of using the timeline in Flash GUI.

That reminds me to mention Andre Michelle’s Recycle code dump. He not only has source code on his main website, but also various old code for our use here. I think that’s where I found his great AS3 buttons – it can’t get better than that.

I continued to dive into cutting edge PV3D examples and found these cool coders. I am currently studying their progress and playing with the Lines3D code. There is also an interesting example of BitmapData, but I haven’t looked at it yet.

The Algorithmist – 3DS Max spline use for camera paths or Line3D motion

Zupko - he created the Line3D class and also some interesting uses of Bitmap Data

Hydrotik - his examples of Line3D class were the best explanation of how to use it.

That’s it..ah no it is not you must see the ADHDTV demo done in Flash!

and here’s the papervision3d blog – good for keeping up with whats new in PV3D. Also their blog roll section has links to good blogs with source codes.