Where do you get the ideas for your
They can literally come from anywhere. Sometimes from seeing
someone else's work, sometimes from seeing something in the
environment or reading about some mathematical formula or
physics concept. There's an old joke that lists "You know
you're a Flash addict when..." My favorite was, "when you
start looking at everything around you and saying, 'I bet I
could do that in Flash."'
What/who are your sources of inspiration?
When I was starting out in Flash, my two biggest influences
and Jared Tarbell (www.levitated.net).
These days, I often have to go beyond Flashers to see stuff
impresses me. There's some great Java stuff happening out
Some great links are at www.proce55ing.net.
What would you say to those who want to
learn advanced ActionScript? Credentials? Programming
The thing I always tell people is to get the basics down
cold. A lot of
people dive into these advanced open source fla's and try to
what's going on. I would say get a copy of ActionScript, the
Guide and read it cover to cover. When you don't have to
think about commands and syntax, and they are just second
nature, then you can start playing with it and getting
creative. Also, learn as much math and physics as you can. I
peruse every bookstore I go by, looking for interesting
titles, but most often you can find more than enough
information right on the web.
Which books would you recommend, if any?
As mentioned, ASDG by Colin Moock is the bible. Others would
depend on which particular area you want to get into. I
think Robert Penner's
Programming Flash is pretty good as well.
Which features/tools do you use most in Flash? What's your
favorite ActionScript function/tool?
I think my favorite new features in Flash MX and the ones I
use most often are createEmptyMovieClip and the drawing API
tools. Many of my movies consist of nothing but code, all
graphic elements being created on the fly. It is about as
pure as you can get from a
programming point of view.
What would you like
to see in the next Flash release?
Hmmm...there is so much in Flash MX, that I feel I've still
scratched the surface in the last year. I'd like to see a
compiler that would create swfs from pure ActionScript
better bitmap handling.
How do you feel about Friends of ED
It is sad. Of course I had contributed 5 books to them and
was just about to go to print, so it hit me personally.
There are a lot of other people I know who were in similar
positions, not to mention the people who worked there. But
of course the bigger issue is that the titles may not be
available to the public now. I do think they may have
oversaturated the market a little bit, but still, there were
some excellent books there. It's sad to think there won't be
Foundation and Studio books for the future versions of
What music do you secretly listen to when
no one is around...?
That 80's new wave stuff! Lately I've even been digging up
70's stuff that I'd totally forgotten about. Brings you
What other programs are you avidly
interested in besides Flash?
Mainly I've been getting into Java. I think it's a great
next step for
someone well versed in ActionScript. The structures are
close enough to
make you feel comfortable but it's much more disciplined.
And once you
experience the speed and power you can get out of Java,
Flash starts to
feel a little "clunky".
Where do you see the future of Flash 5
years from now?
That's something I think about a lot. Nothing lasts forever.
the big thing now, and I don't see its death coming any time
I think it's important for anyone in the field to keep
abreast of any and all new technologies coming out, and not
keep all their eggs in one basket. As far as where Flash
will go, it seems to be heading more and more in the rich
web application direction, components, and communication. A
far cry from where anyone would have thought back in the
more "flashy" days of Flash 4 and 5. Also remember that
Director is alive and continuing to develop. Unless they
somehow merge, this will always put a limit on the areas
that Flash will expand into, in order to keep these two
Thanks again to
Keith Peters (bit-101) for agreeing to answer the questions
we all had for him. Thanks also to the moderators
thoriphes, vts31, ilyaslamasse,
eyezberg, and the rest who helped provide the questions
for this interview.