From the days of FutureSplash, the designer has always been well-represented within Flash. You will like the new touches that have been added to Flash MX to make your life easier.
Some of the new features come in the way of control and design management within layers. Layers can now be grouped together into folders. The process of doing this is very similar to folders in the Library.
A new layer property has been added: Guide. In figure 2 you can see the new layer tools in action. The Guide layer is a visual aid you can use to explain how a section of your movie works. Guides are hidden in the exported SWF movie.
Figure 2: The Guide allows you to add comments to a page that are not seen in the final movie
Guides are used extensively within the new Template tools to explain how to use the template. Templates are pre-designed Flash Movies in which you can replace the generic data in the movies with your own. Templates can be found in File > New From Template... A window opens showing you the types of templates available. The range of templates covers simple movies for PDA's through to complex Interactive Templates such as the Quiz, PhotoSlideShow and Presentation Templates.
Figure 3: It is 1-2-3 step process to build cool movies with the Templates
The Quiz templates, as shown in Figure 4, have all of the tools that allow you to build a complex quiz. This is not just a "choose your answer from the five below" type of quiz. Macromedia has made sure you have the choice of creating quizzes in which players can choose from multiple choice, true/false, write in their own answer and compare it with the real answer, and, you can also save all of this to a web site. Learning tools anyone?
Figure 4: The Quiz Template gives you a lot of what you need for even the most complex movies.
The PhotoSlideShow (yes, all one word) is a great tool that makes those holiday photos look very cool. All you have to do is add your own images and text and the mechanics of the slide show are handled for you. When you create this movie you can use the Flash 6 movie compression in the export features to make those JPG graphics even a little smaller.
The Presentation Templates may give Microsoft PowerPoint a run for its money. These templates make it very easy to create professional looking presentations. You have all of the features, such as page count and printing, that compare with PowerPoint.
A big leap forward with Flash MX is the increased ranged of graphics that can now be imported. As you might expect, Freehand 10 and Illustrator 10 are supported, but so are PNG, Toon Boom Studio, EPS, AutoCAD, BMP, EMF, GIF, JPEG, WMF, PCT, MacPaint Image (PNTG), PSD, QuickTime Image, Silicon Graphics Image, TGA and TIFF. The list is almost twice that of Flash 5.
You can also expect an importer tool for eRain's Swift 3D very soon. Yes, that is right: create stunning 3D with Swift 3D and bring it right into Flash MX.