Flash 211 at Schoolcraft College
I took the 211 Flash course at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI. My instructor was Steve Wroble. I was in a class of 18 which slipped to 13 or 14 by the end. We each had a PC to work with during class. We had to carry our work around on a USB flash memory drive.
My instructor was easy going and gave of the basics of what we needed to do the project. It is definitely a class where you can make your own path. Steve was tolerant with my schedule. If I missed a class he would email the examples he used during the lecture. Very helpful.
I also had help from my partner, Corey Brent, at work. He is much more advanced than I am. He helped me work on some flash projects at the office. Good to have a buddy to talk to when you're trying to learn yourself.
With each assignment I tried to pack with everything I'd learned to that point. I completed 4 projects during the semester.
1st Assignment - Make something move
Make anything move. Just get comfortable with creating graphics and tweening. I used everything I knew at that point. I put a masked object in and played with the drawing tools a little.
2nd Assignment - Have two objects collide
Little more complicated because you had to time the object hitting and have them react. Not so different from the first. My friend Corey helped me with the star-field.
3rd Assignment - Mid-Term - Motion, buttons, and sound
Much more complicated. Create a story. My instructor let me tell a story through advertising. I did a web banner like ad for my friends massage therapy business. This one includes video. Still could use some polish, but gets the job done.
4th Assignment - Final - Motion, buttons, sound and Action Scripting
The final was just the mid-term again but with Action Script. We learned how to store values in variables and do "if-then" statements. We had to create a project that was navigated with buttons and controlled with scripts.
I chose to redesign my sister-in-laws website. This project took me about 60 hours to execute. The scripting was complicated for me. And I learned how important the framework design was. The graphics are the easy part now. It's how the programming works that matters. I did make this modular. I plan on going back and changing the way I handle a few things once I learn some new techniques next semester.
I learned a lot. I'm pleased with the programming design for the most part. The nuts and bolts of the project work like this. I have 3 movie clips, background, portfolio, and services. The buttons on the left change the state of a variable. All 3 movie clips listen for the variable change. When it changes they all independently animate their own timeline. So the design is extensible. I could add a new feature and all it has to do is listen for the button to be clicked. The movie clip can decide on it's own how it will react to it. I may learn in the next class a way to do this better. For now it works fairly well. You can still trick this project. If you click buttons too quickly, you may be able to make panels stick. You can always fix it by clicking another button. My biggest challenge is reducing the initial load time. I have some ideas on how to fix it.
Flash 212 - Second Term
This semester we had only one project the entire term. It was a much more involved project. The graphics and animation had to be more sophisticated. This time I did a website for my dentist. What I'm proudest of in this project is all the animation is done with ActionScript, not timeline based. Absolutely no timeline animation was used. I have learned quite a bit since my last semester. As good as this is I know I'm just scratching the surface. There is just so much to know.