I'll teach you Flash

2008-09-16 09:15:27 by chluaid

If you need help learning to use Flash for animation, you might like to keep an eye on my BiteyCastle Academy page. I'm releasing one chapter at a time and there are 2 free chapters up there now.

Something like 2 years ago I was contracted to write a Flash 8 'how-to-animate' manual for a publisher who eventually decided not to publish it. As a result, I had written and illustrated 10 complete chapters that would never see the light of day. 6 months of really hard work for almost nothing.

This made me just a little bit angry (i.e. I was seething with white hot rage), mostly because the publisher owns all the work I had done. Having no ownership rights prevented me from using any of the work, taking it to another publisher or publishing it on my site. However, despite not going to print, they did pay me some of what I was owed (it was a contract, after all) so I had to be grateful for that much.

Recently, I decided that I could rewrite the whole thing from the ground up, thereby creating a completely new book that was entirely mine and loads better than the first. This would be time-consuming but not too difficult because I already had done all the groundwork. The best thing is that there wouldn't be some clueless editor telling me to revise chapters when he didn't have a fucking clue about what animation is or how it's done!

So I wrote and illustrated a completely new book, provided completely new exercise files and took new Flash CS3 screenshots. I got my girlfriend to be tech-editor because she knew absolutely nothing about Flash and was therefore the perfect test reader. She read every page and completed all the exercises. If there was anything in the book that she didn't understand, I'd rewrite it or clarify with extra screenshots/illustrations. Needless to say, she now knows how to use Flash :D

The result of all this is on my BiteyCastle Academy page, where I've released those 2 free chapters (almost 80 pages), with other chapters to follow in the weeks and months to come.

Future chapters will be charged at between $2 and $5 each, depending on the content but the best thing is that unlike a book from a publisher, you can choose what individual chapters to buy. For example, you may already know how to do basic illustrations and animation in Flash CS3, so perhaps you only want the Special Effects chapter. You'll have that option when it's released ;)

Even if you know how to use Flash CS3, do me a favour and check out the first two free chapters and let me know what you think. If you don't know Flash CS3 yet, I'm sure you'll get a lot out of those introductory chapters.

Here's the link again: BiteyCastle Academy.
Hope you like it!

I'll teach you Flash


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2008-09-16 09:20:10

what a fantastic idea, and a great resource. Good on ya :)


2008-09-16 09:30:13

So great you share that with others who doesnt have any idea :)


2008-09-16 09:34:58

Yes yes yes!


2008-09-16 09:44:32

TYYY I loved the first one. Wanted to also show it to you on the forum but it didnt work out.. Soooo what are the chances for more free episodes XD?


2008-09-16 09:45:04

just need to steal your water effects techniques and ill be primed to take over the world.

Anyway kudos for putting alot of thought and effort into throwing together a proper set of learning tools

chluaid responds:

thanks dude.. water effects will be there eventually :D


2008-09-16 09:47:55

By the way - is it ok if I have flash 8 and not cs?

chluaid responds:

yep the exercise files are compatible with Flash 8 too.. the screenshots and menu paths are all Flash CS3 so some of them might be slightly different in Flash 8.

Chances for more free ones? We'll see :P


2008-09-16 09:54:16

That seems awesome. Plz make moarz bitey!!!


2008-09-16 10:06:04

Going to go read it now!


2008-09-16 10:26:18

Well I'm always intrested in learning


2008-09-16 10:34:59

It's always good to learn more of what you already know. I'm sure this'll be a very beneficial read.


2008-09-16 10:42:11

If I in theory killed you and ate your brain, would I gain the ability to animate fluids?

If so, you should be selling bits of your brain, because apparently we only use like 10%. I think there's like a fair bit of worth in the rest of it.

Plus I'm like really hungry.

Oh and nice tutorials, thanks.

chluaid responds:

I've booby trapped my brain.. if you pry, we all die!


2008-09-16 10:57:25

Moar like PoopyCastle Academy, amirite?


2008-09-16 11:05:22

Woah thats a really nice gesture man.


2008-09-16 11:22:16

hey thats great! sorry about your book issue , but good thing you didnt let that get you down.

I will see your page nao....


2008-09-16 11:25:31

ill bookmark it who knows i might learn a few things :D the only thing im sure it wont have is how to be patient at flash cuz thats my draw back in animation and it wont make me animate crap :c


2008-09-16 11:43:55

Ha. Look who's back.


2008-09-16 11:55:37

Bad ass! I'll be reading it like crazy.


2008-09-16 11:56:21

$2-$5 is a great price in my opinion and I cannot wait. HOWEVER... if you got the chapters sponsored instead and distributed them freely then you would still make a large chunk of cash, you wouldn't have to worry about people passing them on and you losing out on money, users would get it completely free (the price is great but some people just have no way of paying) and also sponsors would be happy as they get to sponsor popular work.

Just think about it, everybody wins ;)

Like I said... can't wait! =D

chluaid responds:

great idea! I'll do some sponsor hunting because I would like to continue offering the chapters for free :)


2008-09-16 11:56:38

I remember seeing some lessons on your website a while back. You showed how to do a shimering star/water effect using mask layers, it helped a lot.


2008-09-16 12:44:14

You raise the dampness of the entire female population the earth by 4% on your own.

Well done.

<3 :D

chluaid responds:



2008-09-16 12:48:49

What are the chances of eventually seeing this available in print?

chluaid responds:

Chances are pretty high if you go File > Print

I doubt I will take this one to a publisher.


2008-09-16 12:49:39

Time to go learn some cool shit from the X-Men Academy!!!


2008-09-16 12:50:04

Sorry I meant Bitey Castle Academy!!!!


2008-09-16 13:16:19

My school teachers were useless and I have yet to find a serious book on effects
anywhere, I think if you concentrated on that you could make a killing
sign me up for that one.

(Updated ) chluaid responds:

yeah I think there's a worldwide shortage of good feature-quality FX lessons. That's what my FX DVDs series was supposed to be for.. even got two sponsors for that one, so it's in the works too.

Can't really say when it'll be ready though, because it's all screencaptured video in a workshop style. Effectively it's all the work of writing a book but instead of screenshots and typing, it's video and talking. I've done a couple of chapters though and will post them on my Academy page soonish.


2008-09-16 13:27:49

All I can say is thanks ;) This will be so much help.


2008-09-16 15:13:17

If the world could have one guru of flash animation, it would be you.


2008-09-16 15:20:20

The fact that I could hope to learn more from your tutorials than I will after four years of college, is a bit silly.


2008-09-16 15:46:37

I need to learn light effects, like how to animate a flash from a gun on a persons face, the flash, not the muzzleflash from the gun but that burst of light that reflects off a person.

Another example would be like lightning or the flash from a camera.

Is that covered in there?

chluaid responds:

not in the first two chapters, but yeah I'll include at least two FX chapters, as Light FX deserves its own full chapter.


2008-09-16 15:51:30

If I had flash I would gladly be under your wing, especially since your one of the best authors on the site.


2008-09-16 15:53:20

A large resource for animation that's about FLASH. You're great.


2008-09-16 15:55:36

Very nice first few chapters, I might invest in that soon.


2008-09-16 17:30:29

Kickass! I looked at the first two, and I it turns out I already know the basics of flash. Hopefully the next chapters can show the animation part. I hope to save money for those ones cause I think they're worth it.


2008-09-16 17:36:55

You have done a great deed Mr. Philips. However, I use Flash MX on a low-end computer, but that won't let me down.

chluaid responds:

The good thing about animation in Flash is that the timeline concepts and basic tools haven't changed much over the years. Flash 4 to 9 have pretty much the same animation capabilities, with the exception of a few newish features like Filters, Custom Easing and Enhanced Gradients.

Therefore I think perhaps 80% of what's in these chapters will be applicable to earlier versions of Flash and when we start talking about animation, the concepts will be easy to translate to whatever version you're using.


2008-09-16 17:40:56

Awesome, really grat stuff, perhaps i even learn how to animate with that !
BUT jus t a question from where do i download the Flash CS3 (link) ? and it's free ?


chluaid responds:

If you don't have Flash CS3, you can get a 30-day fully functioning trial version from the download page on adobe.com.

Apart from that, you can often get earlier versions of Flash for very low prices on eBay or your local software store's bargain bin. A friend of mine got Flash MX 2004 (version 7) on eBay for about $40.


2008-09-16 17:47:01

I know where I'm spending my money this year.


2008-09-16 17:53:28

Finally some professional doing big effort for the lesser ones.
Il read those two free, then maybe il pay up for more if I'm able to.


2008-09-16 18:12:41

Thanks for doing this. It's great that I can get a proper tutorial on how to get started in making flash, but it's even greater that it's coming from you.


2008-09-16 18:25:03

Thank you so much sir.

So... Much...


2008-09-16 18:41:01

Just throwing this out there but do you think it would be worth taking it to LuLu and creating a hardcover book version too? I know i wouldn't mind paying the extra money for the information in that format.


2008-09-16 18:43:41

Coolio, BBB here... I'm doing alright, I'll be sure to check out the forums sometime... it's been a while...

chluaid responds:

hey man.. new forums too. Check it out, will be good to have you back ;)


2008-09-16 19:19:12

why not tell us the publisher's name eh? i mean they practically screwed you over. why not smear their name a bit in public. >:)

(Updated ) chluaid responds:

hahah yeah I have so many bridges! Should hurt to burn a few :P


2008-09-16 19:30:52

if you keep doing these you should just write a book, newgrounds store could hold it maybe because theres tons of people that come to newgrounds that bitch about wanting to learn to animate


2008-09-16 19:36:04

Cool and all bro, but when are you coming out with something new?

Your just downright amazing with everything you do, and my daughter loves your flashes better then any of that other crap on tv.

chluaid responds:

Alongside my existing freelance work, I'm writing the Brackenwood feature film (I'll talk about it in my next NG blog) so I'm a bit stretched for time these days. I do have more Brackenwood episodes up my sleeve so I may have another before the end of the year.. can't say for sure though.


2008-09-16 20:37:21

Let me correct myself, this guide for flash is very useful, but it doesn't beat practice and hard work.


2008-09-16 21:28:17

Thanks for everything!

+50$ from me <3

chluaid responds:

just got your Paypal email :O
! thanks dude !


2008-09-16 22:02:47

Add me to your pm list :P


2008-09-16 22:09:16

Eh, nvm, emailed :P


2008-09-18 02:28:15

YOU'RE AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2008-09-18 23:11:21

omg finialy someone that will tell me how to flash


2008-09-19 00:06:07

Its been along time since i have tried to animate anything on my computer and now im going back and watching my fav flash on here. Brackenwood is my alltime fav to watch on this site just watching how u animate is a learning experience for me. i am like the most noobish person to flash or atleast thats how i feel about it. i put a "demo" if u will of something i was working on and almost everyone was pretty much mad at me for saying it was my first flash animation. wich it was but yea my animations are nothing to yours i was just leaving this msg to tell u U ROCK lol. so yea just keep doing whatever and i had checked out the bitey castle tuts and cant wait or the nxt to come. and u dont really need to reply ur prob busy working on stuff so its kool