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Flash

Macromedia's Flash is a greatly simplified plug-in based animation format that requires much less knowledge to use than Director's Lingo does. It has the added advantage of using very compact vector-based artwork. Macromedia Flash is the authoring tool used to create Flash content, although the name "Flash" is somewhat confusingly interchangeable with the file format.

When I wrote this chapter, Macromedia came out with Flash 3.0, which introduced big changes. The Flash file format is now an open standard, which means that other developers can (and will) support Flash files in their content-creation tools. Previously, Flash and FreeHand were the only tools that could save Flash files. Version 3.0 introduces several important creative additions: sprites (as in Director) that combine many cells into a single animated object; transparency in objects; morphing between shapes; and bandwidth profiling, which allows you to preview how a Flash movie moves over a given connection.


  

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