Flash Professional CS5 review

Flash may have come in for some stick in the recent battle between Adobe and Apple but the latest version of the creative tool that bears its name is still going strong.

One significant new feature is the addition of near-print-level typography tools. The new Text Layout Framework means you can underline type as well as apply column formatting – including column threading – so type can flow between columns as it would in Illustrator.

This level of typographic control opens new vistas for animators and designers. Viewers can zoom in and out of objects, including text, without the distortion or granulation produced by raster-based artwork.

The dynamic Bone tool, introduced in CS4, that applies human skeletal-type motion effects to paths is greatly enhanced by the Spring tool. This adds spring (as in bounce) to the loping anthropoidal motions the Bone tool creates.

The Spring tool lets you easily generate human-like motion animation by restricting the rotation of joints to parameters that conform to human limbs. The Spring tool can also be used to control animation that involves bounce, rebounding, and swinging.

The Code Snippets panel puts significantly more animation and interactive capabilities in the hands of non-coders. Timeline navigation is now accessible without scripting. At the other end of the expertise scale is a significantly bulked up code editor, with full support for code hints and auto-completion.

A new XML-based format option (XFL) saves all assets in a folder instead of the library. So updating a Flash project only requires editing the files in the asset folder – a huge timesaver.

OUR VERDICT

The new CS5 release may have quickly seen one of its key new features for building iPhone apps cruelly stripped away, but there’s still a lot here that interactive designers and animators will like. In fact, just about anyone who wants to produce finished applications and objects using Flash will need Flash Professional CS5.

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