Learning from the best is always a good idea, especially when the best in the field is adept at explaining his methods. In Flash Web Design
, Hillman Curtis, a renowned Web developer (particularly in motion graphics) walks you through nine enlightening Flash projects in order of increasing complexity.
Curtis calls these exercises "deconstructions," and it's an apt term. All the finished pieces can be viewed on Curtis's site (www.hillmancurtis.com/book). With his help, you reconstruct each Flash movie with no step overlooked. They range from type animation (Macromedia Shockzone) to his bandwidth-skinny (20K) navigational, an interactive media site created with action scripting, a streaming visual poem with MP3 audio and many other techniques. The spots are all aesthetically elegant, vibrant, and cutting-edge in terms of design and typography and are even a pleasure to work with.
The author is first and foremost a designer. The book demonstrates the importance of conceptualizing the clients' needs and how to preplan and storyboard the projects. It documents the motivations behind even the smallest design decisions, making this book valuable as a teaching tool and not just a grab bag of hotshot how-tos. Each project takes time, but even beginners can re-create the Flash movies. The steps are clearly explained and illustrated with screen shots. The artwork, however, is not provided. To work along with the deconstructions, readers will have to create similar art, film, and sound files.
Those aware of Hillman Curtis's work will also be familiar with that of the book's designer, Todd Purgason of Juxt Interactive (juxtinteractive.com). The layout for Flash Web Design evokes the layered, motion-through-structure style of Purgason's Web design (lundstromarch.com) and makes one wish the book also existed in movie format. In fact, Purgason's methodology is presented in the last chapter, where he shows the benefits of using Freehand in conjunction with Flash. --Angelynn Grant
Topics covered: Step-by-step case studies re-create existing Flash projects that range in complexity. Projects include type animation, navigational screens, working with wireframe art, converting vectorized video, working with streaming MP3 audio, using action scripting for interactivity, and going from Freehand sketches to finished Flash movies.
For courses in Flash and Web Design. Flash is the perfect tool for creating immersive, interactive, and animated Web site design, and Flash Web Design teaches you to use it to its full potential. The book is broken into two sections: The Essentials and Case Studies. The Essentials section covers the basics of Flash production, illuminating how and why Flash works. The second section is a series of case studies and deconstructions based on projects and problems the author has faced with his clients. Each of these case studies begins by getting the reader to think about the processes and ideas behind specific designs. Flash Web Design is geared toward professional Web designers and content creators who want to make their site stand out from the typical noise of the Web. This book assumes readers have some experience with Web design and animation, but it does not assume previous work with Flash.