How can you, the multimedia designer, get to know the capabilities of Flash without actually learning every technique? This article provides a non-technical overview of Flash so that newcomers can "get the big picture."


Flash is a powerful software program that can greatly enhance a variety of multimedia formats. It can be used to create animated movies that are small in file size, load quickly, and incorporate user interaction and sound. For example, you could use Flash to add interactivity to a web- or CD-Rom based training module. Or you might include a Flash cartoon on a commercial web site to add visual appeal.

At first glance, Flash may appear to be a relatively simple program. It has few tools compared to, say, Adobe PhotoShop®. And ActionScript, the scripting tool that was made available with Flash4, is simpler than most scripting languages, such as Lingo for Macromedia Director®. But as one learns more about Flash, a world of complex authoring structures, advanced techniques, and sophisticated effects begins to unfold.

So how can a Flash beginner grasp and begin to use the power of Flash without actually learning every technique? This article will provide you with a non-technical overview that will give you "the big picture." You can then direct your learning based on your own design needs and a fundamental understanding of Flash's capabilities.

In the pages that follow, you'll have a chance to learn about those aspects of Flash that are listed below. As the proud author, I certainly hope you'll savor every word in the order it was written. But knowing that you're probably a busy person, I'll let you click on the following items to go exactly where you like:

Ready to dive in? We'll begin by having a look at how Flash is typically conveyed to the end user.



© Marc Hoffman 1999.