I attend a lot of education conferences all over the U.S. as part of my job for Adobe Systems. Typically I will demonstrate our award winning tools to educators at these conferences in our trade show booth which usually has a small theater set up in it so conference attendees can watch half hour demos of our tools and learn all about the amazing features they have.
After my demonstrations I always get several folks who come up to me and ask the same two questions repeatedly no matter what conference I’m attending or in what part of the country I’m in. The first question typically is “Richard, where can I find affordable training on Adobe Tools?” In regards to this question I wrote a whole blog post about it here called Teacher’s Pet – A List of Affordable and Free Adobe Tools Training. The second question (which is the topic of this blog post) for the most part is “Richard, I love Adobe’s tools, but they have such a steep learning curve, especially Flash!”
Many (but not all) of Adobe’s tools are in fact a bit of a challenge to get up to speed on. Most of Adobe’s tools are in fact considered professional tools and do take some time to master really well – Photoshop Extended and After Effects are two examples. But Adobe also offers the easy to learn yet very powerful Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and Premiere Elements 8 tools too (among others) which are powerful like their big brother pro tools, yet both of these tools are super easy to learn and a lot of fun to use!
When it comes to creating cool stuff in Flash as an example the real power of Flash has always been using its complex built-in scripting language called Action Script. While I’ve taught Flash animation for many, many years, frankly I simply don’t have what I call “coder brain” and I never went beyond Flashes’ timeline to do anything really cool in Action Script.
What I’m really excited to share with you here in this post is Adobe for years has heard about how hard Flash can be for a lot of people (like me!) who aren’t the coder types and moved forward and developed a non coder Flash tool called Flash Catalyst. So why the heck haven’t you heard of this tool up till now? Most likely because you may not be aware of an area on Adobe’s web site called “Adobe Labs”.
Adobe labs is a kind of testing ground where Adobe offers tools and technologies to the public (for free BTW) to test out the tools before actual release. Adobe Flash Catalyst is just one of many cool tools you’ll find on Adobe Labs you can download for free, play around with, send Adobe feedback on what you like about the tool or don’t like including any bugs you may come across.
In regards to Flash Catalyst what’s super great about the tool is if you know how to import files into a program, can pick some choices from a pull down menu and click an export button you pretty much know how to use Flash Catalyst – no kidding it’s that easy to use and again, no coding!
A picture is worth a thousand words so below I’ve included a few of my favorite links to how to get started learning Flash Catalyst videos that will get you up to speed on how it works and all.
Adobe Flash Catalyst
Terry White’s (Excellent) Getting Started with Flash Catalyst Pod Cast
Flash Catalyst Training Videos on Adobe TV