Flash was formerly called “Macromedia Flash”, but is now relabeled as “Adobe Flash” since Adobe purchased Macromedia software in 2005.
Flash is streaming animation for web pages. Sometimes Flash is a portion of an html web page, and sometimes a web page is made entirely of Flash. Either way, Flash files are called “Flash movies”. These are special .swf format files that beam to your web browser screen as you watch them.
Flash requires a special free plugin (modification) to your browser before you can view Flash movies.
Flash movies offer two very special web browsing experiences: very fast loading, and vector animation with interactivity:
- 1: very fast loading to your screen
Unlike file attachments in email, which you must wait to fully download before viewing, Flash movies start playing as the content is transmitted to you. While the Flash movie may be 6 megabytes large, you can start to watch the animation within moments, while the rest “streams” to your screen in the background. This makes Flash very desirable for web publishers, as it opens creative doors for them to make very powerful animations for their readers.
- 2: vector graphic animation
“Vector graphics” are different from “raster graphics” (jpg, gif, png, bmp graphics). Vector graphics use math formulas to draw animation shapes, while raster graphics save millions of tiny colored dots to draw photos. This difference allows vector graphics to be very small file size, and very crisp at any resized format. For these two benefits, Flash designers use vector graphics to make powerful web page visuals that load to your screen very quickly and crisply.
swf movies can be very time consuming to edit. It is very laborious work to change a Flash web page quickly. For this reason, you will almost never see a dynamic content page like a news site utilizing Flash for its rapidly-changing content. Instead, Flash is used more for decorative purposes, and for advertising and online gaming purposes.
For nearly two decades, Flash Professional has been the standard for producing rich animations on the web. Because of the emergence of HTML5 and demand for animations that leverage web standards, we completely rewrote the tool over the past few years to incorporate native HTML5 Canvas and WebGL support. To more accurately represent its position as the premier animation tool for the web and beyond, Flash Professional will be renamed Adobe Animate CC, starting with the next release in early 2016
Animate CC will continue supporting Flash (SWF) and AIR formats as first-class citizens. In addition, it can output animations to virtually any format (including SVG), through its extensible architecture.
Here’s what you can expect in Animate CC:
- Drawing, illustration and authoring
- Vector art brushes – Modify the path of a stroke after it’s been drawn, and scale them to any resolution without losing quality. You can also make custom brushes and import brushes created with Adobe Capture CC.
- 360° rotatable canvas – Rotate the canvas on any pivot point as you draw to get the perfect angle and strokes. You can even use this feature with a Wacom Cintiq!
- Improved pencils and brushes – Draw smooth, precise vector outlines along a curve and get faster live previews.
- Easier audio syncing – Control audio looping directly on the timeline, without having to code.
- Faster color changing – Naming tagged colors lets you change one color and have it automatically update your entire project.
- Colored onion skinning – Easily orchestrate complex animations now that adjacent frames can have different color and alpha values.
- CreativeSync integration
- Adobe Stock – Browse and license millions of high-quality photos, illustrations and vector graphics directly in Animate CC. You can even add life to static content by adding animations to them.
- Creative Cloud Libraries – Access colors, vector graphics and brushes directly as you work.
- [Update 2/8: We’ve also added Typekit integration!]
- Output capabilities
- Multiplatform support: HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, Flash (SWF), AIR, video, and custom platforms (such as SVG) via extensions.
- 4K+ video export – Export videos with custom resolutions for the latest Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays.
- Custom resolution export – Revitalize older content by resizing and optimizing them for any resolution, such as Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays.
- .OAM support – Export your project as an .OAM file for easy importing to Adobe Muse, InDesign, DPS and Dreamweaver.
Note: This release is listed as “Adobe Animate CC” in the Creative Cloud desktop application. When you install or update Animate CC, it will be found on your computer as Adobe Animate CC 2015, not Adobe Flash CC 2015.
Previous versions of Flash Professional prior to the 2016 release will continue to be available.
Throughout the week, we will be giving a sneak peek of Adobe Animate on our Adobe live stream channel on Twitch, showing it both for animation and building games.
The entire team is thrilled about our upcoming release, and more importantly, beginning a new era with Animate CC. As we approach the 20th anniversary of Flash Professional, we invite animators and interactive designers around the world to join us for decades to come.