Controlling Photoshop from an AIR app

Daniel Koestler has a great little post about a new ActionScript 3 extension that allows you to create apps in Flash that communicate directly with Photoshop. Thus you can create AIR apps with Flash Pro that can control the Photoshop application.

There are already a few examples of this in action. I’m sure Flash developers will come up with all kinds of interesting uses for this.

Flash Pro CS5.5 has shipped

Flash Pro CS5.5 is available now.

The new features are described in the Help and in this video.

Video tutorials on the following new features are available here on Adobe TV.

Flash Gets Sneaky

The Flash Professional engineering team has started to offer some sneak peeks at things they are working on. Whatever you do, don’t link to this sneaky post. Some of these are admittedly more teasers than full sneaks, but they’re definitely interesting.

Sneak #1 (2/3/2011):
Interested in how to develop for mobile and different sized screens? Check out this quick peek video on what the Flash Professional team is working on and stay tuned for more! http://bit.ly/hPUY1w

Sneak #2 (2/8/2011):
If you work with or want to work with projects on multiple devices across multiple screen sizes, here’s a quick peek into what’s in store in this week’s behind-the-scenes with the Flash Professional team.  http://bit.ly/gCVGr9

Sneak #3 (2/16/2011)
See how Flash Pro can easily update shared assets on projects for different  sized screens. http://bit.ly/gTwCWX

Flash Player 10.2 announced

Flash Player 10.2 has been announced.  Video on the web will become both much faster and less processor hungry.

The new features in 10.2 include:

  • Stage Video, a full hardware accelerated video pipeline for best-in-class, beautiful video across platforms and browsers
  • Custom native mouse cursors
  • Multiple monitor full-screen support
  • Internet Explorer 9 hardware accelerated rendering support
  • Enhanced sub-pixel rendering for superior text readability

Helpful Flash Player 10.2 resources:

Flash Player Team blog post: http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/2011/02/flash-player-10-2-launch.html

Adobe Developer Center:

3rd Party Blog posts and demos:

  • Brightcove:  http://blog.brightcove.com/en/2011/02/stage-video-brightcove-player

    Flash Pro CS5 Learn by Video excerpts posted

    Peachpit Press has kindly posted several exerpts from their Learn by Video series for Flash Pro CS5. We worked together to pick sections that are appropriate to the kinds of things beginners have trouble with.

    Here’s the list:

    Update of Using Flash Pro posted

    I just posted an updated version of Using Flash Professional. The update contains various fixes to bugs pointed out by users. Thanks to all of you for your help. There are also additional links to community videos and tutorials, mainly in the motion tween, classic tween, and IK topics. the tween topics have also been tweaked to improve scannabilty.

    As always, keep the comments coming if you see an error, want to make a clarification, or to add a link to a quality piece of community content that is relevant to a topic. Your comments are a lifeblood of Community Help.

    Making your Flash teaching content as effective as possible

    Over the last 2 years, I have been involved in a lot of user testing here at Adobe. The documentation group has been investigating how to modify our Help content, including Community Help, to make it easier for users to find what they are looking for, and help them avoid getting lost on the wrong path. We observed users having difficulties both on adobe.com and before they ever got there. I’d like to share some thoughts about how both adobe.com and community content can be more effective.

    Things we’ve seen about Flash learners who are searching for content:

    • They don’t necessarily have an overview of the product yet in their mind. They may have a grasp of drawing on the Stage, but not of how to use the Timeline. They might know about movie clips but not graphic symbols.
    • They don’t know which tasks in Flash require ActionScript and which do not. They may click on a tutorial that uses ActionScript without realizing there are plenty of tutorials for the same basic task that don’t use AS.
    • They don’t know that the ActionScript versions are incompatible with each other. They are prone to try using bits of ActionScript from different tutorials that may not be compatible with one another.
    • They are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of learning material about Flash available on the web. This is compounded by the amount of content that is very out of date but still live on the web.
    • Users want to spend a minimum of time figuring things out and maximum actually getting work done. This cannot be overstated.
    • Most users are not very good at using search engines. Long, natural-language search strings that yield incoherent results are common.
    • They often have a desire to find a tutorial or article that provides the perfect answer to their specific question on its first page. They believe this exists because of the sheer volume of content available. They search and search for this magic bullet. However, they often leave articles that directly address their question because they can’t tell immediately how relevant it is.

    All these things lead to a very high occurrence of users spending time in content that is inappropriate to their need, and combining steps from tutorials that are not compatible with one another.

    One thing we shouldn’t do is try to explain everything about Flash Pro in every tutorial we write. But we can take some steps to put our tutorials into a clearer context for the learner.

    I propose a convention that creators of teaching content could adopt in order to make it easier for users to identify the right tutorials for their immediate needs. I don’t expect everyone to agree right away with all of the elements of this proposal, but I hope to start a conversation that might allow us to come to some consensus on something that will give users a more consistent experience of finding the right content.

    Here are some guidelines for making your content more useful and identifiable as relevant. Provide the following information up front at the beginning of each article, tutorial, or video:

    • Explain what the tutorial will show, both at a high level and at a lower level. Be clear what you are showing and not showing. Are you showing motion tweens or classic tweens, button symbols or movie clips, TLF text or classic text?
      I.E. High level: Motion tweens. Low level: make a movie clip instance move across the screen with a motion tween and fade from invisible to visible.
      Note from Phillip Kerman: It’s not that this list needs to be cumulative, but simply inclusive of the various things that will be shown. Often if you think about what you’ve written, you realize you’ve shown much more in all the little steps than just what you set out to.
    • List the user level, say, Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.
    • List any prerequisite knowledge the tutorial requires. Ideally, link to an item that gives an introduction to that area of knowledge.
      For example, a tutorial about motion tweens might list knowledge of how the timeline works as a prerequisite.
    • List whether the tutorial uses ActionScript
    • List whether the workflows or tasks shown require ActionScript or not
      i.e. this can be done with or without AS”. Or “This task requires ActionScript”
    • List which version of ActionScript is being shown.
      Most newer users don’t realize that AS 2 and AS3 are not compatible, and assume all AS snippets can be combines with each other.
    • Indicate which version of Flash the Tutorial is compatible with. At least start with the version used to create the tutorial, and then update as you are able for subsequent versions. Be clear whether you are talking about Flash Pro, Flash Catalyst, or Flash Builder.
    • If you are creating a video tutorial, provide a list of the specific tasks shown the video, along with the time codes where each item occurs in the video so that the user can scrub to the appropriate time code to see the item they are most interested in. (Example in my comment on this page: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/flash-downunder/motion-tweening/) Ideally, roll this list into a SWF that allows the user to simply click an item in the list to jump to that part of the video. (See how to implement this here http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-flash-professional-cs5/working-with-video-cue-points-and-live-preview/.)

    For example, a written tutorial about animation:

    Motion Tweening in Flash Pro

    Items covered: Animate a movie clip symbol instance across the stage, add a fade (alpha) animation.
    Flash version(s): Flash Professional CS4, CS5
    User Level: Beginner
    Prerequisite knowledge:
    Understanding of how to use the Timeline, knowledge of symbols and instances
    ActionScript Required? No. However, task can also be accomplished via ActionScript 3.0.
    ActionScript Used? No.

    If we as a community were to adopt these conventions, we could accomplish 2 important things. The first and most obvious is making our own content easier to find and easier to consume. The second is that we would begin to move the body of Flash Pro community learning content from its current state, where it amounts to a huge amount of noise to new users, to a new improved state where it more closely approximates a distributed user manual, with context for each item, cross-references to related content, etc. I’m not saying “let’s make a distributed manual”, but if we were to adopt these basic conventions, we could move in that direction over time to the benefit of all of us.

    Please let me know in the Comments what you think of these ideas and what your suggestions are for fleshing them out.

    New Help for Flash Catalyst “Panini” posted

    The Flash Catalyst documentation team has posted a new build of the Panini Help system at http://help.adobe.com/en_US/flashcatalyst/preview_release/using/.

    If you are interested in the very cool (IMHO)  Catalyst product, check out the new Help and learn about the new features. Here’s a sample:

    • New designer-developer workflows between Flash Catalyst Panini and Flash Builder Burrito
    • Resizable applications and components
    • New components and intuitive components interface
    • Default color theme
    • Easy access to developer-defined components
    • More intuitive component naming
    • Replacing objects on the artboard
    • Enhanced alignment options
    • Transition timeline improvements
    • Interaction enhancements
    • Working with data lists defined by a developer

    Flash Catalyst is a great tool for designers looking to create interactive content. It’s specifically built to make this transition easier for traditional designers who are new to working with content for the web. You can find the overview here and in the new Help system.

    Ask a CS Pro session w/Paul Trani July 23rd

    Upcoming Ask a CS Pro session: Creating Multiscreen Content using Flash Professional CS5 with Paul Trani July 23rd, 12 PM PDT

    Paul Trani will take you through how to develop Flash content for web, desktop, and for mobile devices. Starting out with an overview of design considerations as well as important optimization techniques so your content plays exceptional regardless of platform. Also, see how to adjust content regardless of screen size as well as how to take advantage of specific functionality on devices such as multitouch and acceleromenter capabilities as well as accessing the native keyboard. A must-see session for anyone interested in going beyond the laptop browser.

    http://bit.ly/AskaCSPro4_FB

    You’re invited: free webinars (June 22-24)- Going Multi-Screen with the Flash Platform

    With the final releases of Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2, you are invited to a series of free webinars introducing the new multi-screen development capabilities of the Flash Platform. You will discover the exciting new features of Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2 and learn the best practices from leading industry experts on how to create and optimize web content, video, and applications across desktop and mobile. To register, visit http://www.adobe.com/go/multiscreen

    Tuesday, June 22, 9AM – 10AM Pacific Time
    Best practices in optimizing web content for Flash Player 10.1

    Tuesday, June 22, 1PM – 2PM Pacific Time
    The quickest way to build cross-platform apps with AIR 2

    Wednesday, June 23, 9AM – 10AM Pacific Time
    Rich Internet App development with Flash Builder 4 for Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2

    Thursday, June 24 9AM – 10AM Pacific Time
    Multi-screen web content development with Flash Pro CS5