Macromedia Flash users. What's the learning curve? Worth the money?

I’m seriously thinking about learning Flash after several years of 3-D animation.

I’d really appreciate any users’ opinions on the learning curve involved. Did you take classes, or is it possible to become proficient on your own?

I’ve heard that for the fancier film aspects programming experience is best (which I have none of), but I can still produce simple web-based animation without it, right? I’m thinking Homestar Runner or Brunching Shuttlecocks, as opposed to the Flay Effects stuff.

Thanks all!

Well, I sat down and taught myself, with the help of a few web articles, in a few days.

I turned in a portfolio on CD yesterday and it looks gooooooood.

Check it out.

I do have pretty good knowledge of computers in general, and I do pick up on things pretty quickly, so YMMV, of course.

IMO, it’s a pretty intuitive interface. I knew what a lot of things were for before I even read the (very helpful, included) tutorial. It DOES use it’s own programming language (“ActionScript”) to get it to do things, and it’s pretty important to learn that, but it isn’t hard. The only actionscript commands I used in mine are “play” “stop” and “goto.” Pretty simple.

Download the demo from Macromedia’s site. 30 days, full featured. Beats paying $300 for something you don’t know if you’ll like yet.

Anyhow, there are still things I don’t really know how to do, but if I keep up with the program, I’m sure I’ll figure them out eventually.

My advice:
Download the demo, take the included tutorial/look one up online. Mess around with it, look for web articles for help.

      • Got here kinda late but anyway:
  • I have Adobe LiveMotion, another flash creator. Making simple animated clips and interactive web stuff isn’t difficult.
  • I never used StudioMX so I don’t know what it does that LiveMotion doesn’t. LiveMotion is a lot cheaper though, and can do Homestar Runner-type stuff.
  • For doing Disney- or Loony-Tunes-style cartoon animations, try ToonBoomStudio or Animation Stand- they both have a free trial version available online. I have tried ToonBoomStudio, it has better drawing tools, exports to Flash or Quicktime and is great for hand-drawn cartooning, but doesn’t support scripting at all–so you can’t make interactive things with it.
  • I have not tried Animation Stand at all, it is said to be the “pro-level” cartooning software:
  • There’s a third cartoon-creation software I have seen mentioned somewhere, that I cannot remember at the moment…?

If you are familiar with keyframed animation, then flash is going to be more difficult. I learned 3DS Max in School, then bought flash. It was very NON-intuitive to me because I was so used to keyframes. I kept expecting to be able to do certain things that were easy with keyframing, but are more difficult (to me) with their form of animation. Other people feel the opposite though. They feel that Flash is easy and keyframed animation is hard.

I will say that I downloaded the trial version of Flash and whipped through their tutorials in one weekend. It was fun and I really thought I learned the program. But finally producing a web page was difficult. I had a difficult time getting my head wrapped around this tweening thing. I didn’t really like the interface. But then again, I was used to using a $3000 program, not a $400 one. I was probably just expecting too much.

Download the trial, if it’s still available. Try the tutorials. Get some good books and look for tutorials online. And after you find some good books, please tell me what books are good, 'cause I have absolutely no clue. I’d really like a book that walks you through the process from beginning to end of making a web page. Forget the obvious things that are in the tutorial. Tell us the nitty gritty. I don’t know where to begin. The background, or the buttons. The sound or the animation. I have yet to find a flash book walk you through the process. But there are TONS of books that walk you through the 3DS Max process.