Flash CS4 Professional

The CS4 product I am most excited about is, of course, Flash CS4. The previous edition of Flash introduced a complete overhaul of the programming language of Flash in the form of ActionScript 3.0 and provided tight integration with Photoshop and Illustrator. The new Flash CS4 does not provide revolutionary additions to ActionScript (luckily) and instead focuses on animation and 3D

The first major new feature of CS4 is introducion of Inverse Kinematics and Bones. This tool lets you easily create animations which are similar to real life movements by drawing chains along the body parts of an object so that they are joint together to move and react to motion in a natural manner. This is going to make the life of animators so much easier as you will no longer need to animate separate body parts indepedently to mimic real life physics.

 

Another new feature of CS4 is the “Object-Based Animation” which is a new tween format that attaches the animation movement to the object itself instead of the timeline and the keyframe. This feature lets you see the animation path visually on the canvas so that you can alter it and move it around without dealing with the timeline. Though looks like a potentially helpful feature, I guess it will take a lot of time to get used to.

Flash CS4 will also now have a new simple 3D transform and rotation tool which lets you move and animate objects through 3D space by providing a native support for the x, y, and z axis directly on the stage.

Other new animation features include: an Advanced Motion Editor, similar to that present in After Effects and lets you manage individual keyframe properties such as rotation and transparency, Motion Presets, which will let you apply ready made animations to various objects to save time, as well enhanced Deco and Spray Brush that let you spray smart custom-made animated objects.

Though mostly an ‘animation’ release, Flash CS4 also includes other non-animation related new features such as new tools for authoring AIR content (Flash CS3 came out before Adobe AIR was released) for creating desktop applications using Flash, support for the H.264 video format, direct support for InDesign and After Effect content, and support for Adobe’s new Metadata technology XMP

The new Flash CS4 page does not talk about about the new ActionScript 3.0 features, but we have previously learnt that Flash CS4 will include new AS3 APIs in response to community requests.

The actual release date of Flash CS4 has not been announced, but it is expected to be released next month. Flash CS4 Professional costs $699 and can be bought as part of a CS4 bundle for a better price deal.

You can learn more about Flash CS4 and watch some videos of the new features on Adobe’s Flash page.