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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2008-09-19 08:04:37

i just need actionscript help and your brilliant backrounds!

chluaid responds:

backgrounds are in chapter 3 which is on its way :)


2008-09-19 09:41:22

hehe sweet, i really need to learn a lot more about flash so this is exactly what I am after and from a kick ass flash animator too!

cheers :D


2008-09-23 08:11:47

I am hoping to get Flash soon, so will there be anything for beginners?

chluaid responds:

the BCA ebook is written for complete beginners, so yes :)


2008-09-26 10:30:05

I bookmarked the page with the two free sampel chapters.

I always wanted to try Flash but sorta gave up on that idea cause I wasn't comfortable with reading the "vaguely" designed reading material on the matter, but now there's an option to study how it's done by the Adam Phillips man himself...how can I pass up that chance!? Maybe there's hope for me after all ;)

I'll try the first two chapters as soon as I can get my hands on the software in my upcoming new job - not flash related but they have the software there I remember - so if I feel comfortable with that starting material then I'll definitely want to continue with the rest.

Many thanks for making this stuff available, makes me imagine I'm climbing mountains and crossing rivers and jungles to find the teaching of a flash sensei, only without doing the hard part :D



2008-09-27 22:13:49

You look nice today.

chluaid responds:

why, thank you.


2008-09-28 03:10:27

and hey when was the last time you logged on to your ├čitey character? whenever I check you're not online anymore D: (it's zalf here, if you remember)

chluaid responds:

hey man, I was wondering where you'd got to ;)
Might see you when WotLK comes out.


2008-09-28 04:42:33

woops nvm


2008-09-28 06:50:10

you are so awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2008-09-28 12:57:49

i'm definitely going to buy that book. it would be nice to learn animation from the best animator in the world. i'm never going to be as good as you though. i hope i will at least be some what good. sucks that they had ownership of your first book, but you said you improved since then so its probably a good thing. i still feel bad for you though, that must have really sucked. i don't even have an animating program. sooooo... sucks to be me. bye and good luck. oh and i made a top 20 best flashes on newgrounds post!!! guess how high you are on the list. please respond.

chluaid responds:

Thanks for the comments.. good luck getting Flash (download trial to get started). I'll keep an eye out for your "20 best" post ;)


2008-09-28 12:59:19


chluaid responds:

OK man.


2008-09-28 13:00:26


chluaid responds:



2008-09-30 23:28:53

Hey thanks, I'll check it out.


2008-10-01 00:21:34

thats awesome. i wanna start doing some flash animation of my own. ill definatly check that out.


2008-10-01 00:26:15

adam phillips. best. animator. ever. period. is this tutorial for CS3? cuz i have pro 8

chluaid responds:

it's for CS3 but the working files are saved down to Flash 8. The screenshots and menu paths might not always match but I'm sure you'll have little trouble translating the instructions over to Flash 8.


2008-10-03 01:51:24

Adam, you are a prince!


2008-10-03 07:05:41

hey adam,

why dont you post your 30 shorts here?


chluaid responds:

I put a couple of the 30 shorts into NG Bytesize, but they're too small to post individually to the portal. Maybe I'll put them all in one movie someday but it'll have to go at the bottom of my to-do list ;)


2008-10-03 20:36:47

Is there an affordable version of this software? They're selling it for $600 here :O

chluaid responds:

you can get student versions for a fraction of the cost.. aside from that, try ebay for an early version of Flash. A friend of mine got MX2004 (version 7) on eBay for about $60. Flash 8 was the first one to have Blur though.


2008-10-03 23:52:01

LOL i came here to critize that you havent made anything xD but now i know that you are pretty busy on your chapters, i really really need to read them, but i dont have enough time! i mean, with school , videogames and my own original stye drawings there is no time to learn flash and I really need it, btw, could you please please PLEASE if you have time and all, check my drawings out, and tell me where I can improve, or if they are okay, or just comment on them, please i will thank you a lot, like if i had your msn or yahoo i would send you 100 pages filled of the word "Thanks" or "you are my idol" , because in a way you are, i wanna be like you seriously man, who doesnt? well at least not me! xD
PS: I made this comment big enough for someone to watch it, i hope it works!!!

chluaid responds:

It worked!
Good luck with your own stuff and I hope you like the rest of the BCA book.
(ps. I don't use IMs except for work, sorry man)


2008-10-06 21:07:22

You're my hero


2008-10-07 02:56:18

I love the layout of the chapters so far, man.

chluaid responds:

thanks! Trying to keep things uncluttered but packed with good info :)


2008-10-08 21:30:41

ur an excellent teacher! i kno how to do all of the stuff u highlighted so far, but i must say i didn't mind 'relearning' it. if u ever publish that book i will buy it! the exercises are really great if i were a beginner i would have been freaking out at the fun i'd be having, i'm anxiously awaiting the next chapter, i just can't wait til u r at thing i don't know so that i really be learning!

chluaid responds:

glad you like it so far. Chapter 3 is a couple of days away now.


2008-10-09 06:58:46

Hey I'm an extremely big fan of your work. I'm doing a picture of Bitey for the NG Print Calendar '09 competition, and I was wondering if you could give me some tips regarding the Brackenwood world. I'd like to know how to capture the beauty in the way that you do. I've already drawn the basic Bitey sketch, it's just a matter of inking and colouring. If you could help me, maybe even give me a reference I would be extremely greatful. If you could reply ASAP that would be great, as I only have 6 days to complete it.

P.S. I'll post the Bitey sketch in my Art thread <a href="http://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/9 74116">here</a>
I couldn't send you a PM.

chluaid responds:

sorry I saw this message too late.


2008-10-09 19:26:23



2008-10-10 15:15:24

Scrolling through the comments, I said to myself "OH EMM GEE HE PLAYS WoW!".


I bet you're a Horde player...seeing that, on the majority of realms, they don't suck as much as most Alliance players do personality wise. I'm an Alliance paladin...and I see trade chat filled with Chuck Norris and erotic stories A LOT lol.

I'd love to learn flash! I'm terribad with drawing...but everyone starts somewhere I guess! lol

I'd definitely take your lessons into consideration when I have the $ for them though....=)

chluaid responds:

Yep, Horde ftw!
I'm on an Oceanic server called Khaz'goroth.. character name ├čitey (with the Alt 0223 special B)


2008-10-10 23:22:38

You're a great person! I really admire you!


2008-10-12 06:21:55

Napolean, you ever heard of the barrens chat? more chuck norris spam there than anywhere


2008-10-13 01:12:14

Has flash cs4 been released yet?


2008-10-14 07:44:34

Hey thanks this is rly helpful


2008-10-14 14:33:34

hey, i was browsing Newgrounds and i saw your excellent animations, thought i'd comment you to say that they are awesome :)


2008-10-17 21:45:24

Hey, a few bucks does actually seem good for a tut, especially from you, and it's nice that you give em to us for free, well, for now at least. But, might I propose somethin? I'd say if you're gonna sell the tuts, people should gat a couple of free tuts if they buy a shirt. More of a coupon or somethin if they buy shirts, or you can do it the other way around, which is letting them buy the tuts and getting a coupon for shirts. Iunno, just figured I'd drop a line here for my opinion. Nice stuff, keep it all up.

chluaid responds:

Thanks, that's a nice idea.. I'll seriously consider it!


2008-10-19 01:24:58

I seriously doubt I have the patience to use flash for animation, but I suppose it's worth a try....


2008-10-19 16:01:33

Pretty nice. But wow, I've never even noticed the Subselection tool, it never seemed needed or anything. I've read the 2 free parts, that was good for those who begin flash. I wish you'd release a part (free one) where you explain your skeleton and skinning techniques. That'd be awesome.

Btw, what kind of a tablet do you use?

chluaid responds:

Wacom Intuos 3
9 x 12


2008-10-24 07:38:39

This is very neat!

I'm sorry about your shitty publisher, anyone would get uber-upset after being put into a situation like that. But it's great that you have returned to positive spirits and decided to rewrite it for us all! Hope the revenue feeds you well.

Despite my best wishes for you and this, though, it's generally my advice for people not to buy books on topics relating to technology or media. The internet is so huge these days that there are many great, free and easy-to-find tutorials and e-books for almost everything you can think of, especially technological and media ones, including Flash. And most of the sold books regarding tech/media that are out there are often pirated a lot. Piracy cannot be stopped, so I'd worry about that a little. But you have your a big loyal fanbase, you're constantly in the top 50 of Newgrounds, the chapters only cost $2-$5 each and it looks like you're paying special attention to the non-tech-savvy and book-buying traditional artists moving onto digital art, so you shouldn't worry about all of this as much as most people, I think. But in my opinion making tech instructional books and software is a pretty risky business in this day and age, since not only do they have to worry about usual piracy issues, but sold instructions and software are most prone to having awesome free alternatives.

My personal advice to -anyone- looking to contribute anything to the world that can be downloaded via the internet (software, music, games, movies, books) is to embrace and flow of the exponentially speeding up river of piracy instead of trying to build a dam it to stop it. Instead of selling your products and possibly implementing anti-consumer DRM systems that can be broken by a smart cow in them, look for other (and better) ways to generate revenue. Along with the huge rises of piracy, flying right along with it has been the profits generated from advertising. If more big companies stopped selling their games and instead made it free and focused on implementing ingame ads to generate profits (which EA is already trying to do), game piracy would most likely become a thing of the past. The same thing goes for music, books, software and movies. Piracy is nothing more than the human soul wishing to be free. You can also just profit from merchandise and donations instead of advertising, like quite a many webcomics do.

Nonetheless, I don't think you have too much to worry about in particular. I wish you the best of luck with this! I'll probably buy one of the more specialized books as I already know the basic ropes. Flash special FX advice from one of the most talented and hardworking Flash animators sounds nice.

chluaid responds:

all good points. I plan on selling the chapters individually but I'll give buyers the option of paying $30 then all subsequent chapters for them are downloadable as they're released. I'm not a fan of DRM either but I'm more concerned that other authors would try to sell or publish parts of my ebook, just like other Flash "artists" have tried to use parts of my animation. For that reason I am looking into some non-irritating security measures.


2008-10-27 22:59:36

id pay for one if it were on your water effect and/or ambient lighting (that can be a real pain)

chluaid responds:

the effects chapter will be ch5.


2008-11-01 23:13:18

I'd love to buy your entire series. Would you accept direct cash payments instead of paypal and whatnot?

chluaid responds:

that could be done by special arrangement, but I don't have the online store facilities to handle that. Maybe one day when the store is bigger.


2008-11-02 04:16:23

how long have you been working with flash Adam? cause i looked into it at 11 (didn't know what the hell to then), now i'm 13, and only my graphic need improvements then i become top notch! whoops, started rambling. you must've been working with it for 6 years at least.

chluaid responds:

about 7-8 years.. a friend gave me their copy of Flash 5 in about 2000-2001. Good luck with the graphics improvements :D


2008-11-04 06:21:53

Flash CS4 is out!
Can I pay for your chapters in gold? although my pally is a bit poor atm, maybe he'll get some gold from mining in the wotlk
Got an albino drake today on my pink-haired gnome today, too

chluaid responds:

oO0oh albino drake! I have nowhere near the required mounts to get that one :O


2008-11-04 15:33:36

Would you happen to know of a good free program? I checked out flash CS3, but I can't afford it.

chluaid responds:

try eBay for an earlier version (MX, MX2004, 8 or CS3).
Now that CS4 is out you'll see some CS3 being sold for bargain prices here and there. I friend of mine bought Flash 8 for something like $60 a while back.


2008-11-05 08:49:42

Oh geez wow, how thoughtful of you! From a disney animator himself. I'll go check it out right away.


2008-11-07 09:57:24

that was absolutely amazing! U make ulit so easy for n00bs, intermediates (like me) and even advances to learn about flash! U have to publish the book; maybe sell it for like 40-60 bucks each book


2008-11-08 00:08:47

Hey, I checked out your site and I have to say, wow. No...let me repeat. WOW. *Drools on keyboard*

Oh my god, I want to make this stuff like you!

But...one eensy problem for me. I don't have flash. This sucks so bad for me, and I feel a tinge of envy.

I have to say, you are one of the major inspirations of me going into creative working.

Although it's all still up in the air since I haven't even finished High School! I do want to focus on something and I find Flash a much funner alternative than just typing all my stories down on a computer.

Also, a suggestion. It would be cool for you to...say...branch out from Bitey onto something related to 'Taken'? I have to say, that 30 second flash made me jump more than 3:33am! I think a major factor would have been the overall lighting of the scenery in the kitchen.

You were able to see...whatever it was...more clearly and I think it would be just nice to see it on Newgrounds rather than hunting your flashes all down in BiteyCastle.com.

I've read some of your stories, and the one about the boy and the Yuyu was actually a very believeable story even though you mentioned it as fiction.

*Yawn* I think I'd better stop here...it's around 12:00 and I'd better get to bed. I just wish you luck on whatever you do and I hope that I get Flash soon so I can start up on those tutorials of yours!


chluaid responds:

thanks for the suggestion.. I have a number of non-Brackenwood projects so one day I'll try to get them up on NG. Glad you liked the site, Taken and the Yuyu story too. Hope you like the tutorials, but if you want a good Flash-like program that doesn't expire, try the personal learning edition of ToonBoom's new program called Animate. It's a lot like Flash but a more complete animation tool. I'll be posting Animate tutorials on my blog soonish.


2008-11-08 13:37:51

These chapters are well laid out, easy to follow and great for people who were intimidated by flash because they didn't know where to begin. I loved the suggestion from a user down in the comments about finding sponsors to be able to offer successive chapters for free. Personally, I'd love to dip my first born in gold and send it to you gift wrapped, but I am the poorest sort of person... a full time student married to another full time student! Thank you for putting your time and effort into helping the masses learn.

chluaid responds:

no problem! I hope you get something out of the upcoming chapters. I'm still in two minds as to whether or not they'll be paid, or free but a sponsor is a great solution. Chapter 3 will be finished today so I have to make a decision pretty quick.


2008-11-09 13:06:51



2008-11-09 21:50:43

you should make more cartoons! yer my favorite cartoonist!! your cartoons are reeeally really good! and i know you probably get that alot, and it won't mean alot comming from a nobody like me but seriously! waterlollies is the best cartoon on this site!! and aaalll your cartoons are really really good!! and i think you should hop back in the scene with another great movie!! but ya know. . . that's just me. . . i downloaded yer book by the way, like the first 2 chapters, i have it stapled together all neatly, on my desk to refer back to when i'm animating, anyway. . . sorry to bother you!! i'm just a big fan of your work and would like to see more!!

(Updated ) chluaid responds:

It always means a lot to get great feedback, even small bits :)
Thanks for taking the time to leave yours and I'm glad you like the book (so far).


2008-11-13 18:59:01

I'm glad that you're offering to teach others how to animate in flash and all, but what I'm really looking forward to is another Brackenwood flash. I can't wait for you to make something remarkable that will blow away everything on the top 50 (like Waterlollies did) even Fallen Angel.

chluaid responds:

Fallen Angel's pretty awesome.. I have a new Brackenwood in the works but I'm not sure it'll be ready before year's end. We'll have to see :D


2008-11-13 21:42:02

I love your work, can't wait to see what you come out with next! Never stop animating! Your flashes are pure gold!

chluaid responds:



2008-11-14 01:06:20

I have learned more in the first two chapters for free than I have learned watching most the tuturials on youtube. Thanks Adam. You also have tthe best water effects I have ever seen in Flash, and Im constantly searching.

chluaid responds:

Chapter 5 will be the effects chapter so you might want to save $5 - $8 for that - - price depends on how huge the chapter turns out to be.. then again I may spread effects over several $3 - $4 chapters, i.e. lighting FX, water, fire, smoke, etc.


2008-11-14 04:58:59

Woah that must of been quite an ordeal, I can imagine your fustration.
Bu knowing what a great animator you are, it's really great news to hear your giving tutorials on flash, I will definatly buy them all, even if its just to brush up on my skills.
I've been looking for ways to better myself in flash and I couldn't think of any possible better way than to have your help! =)


2008-11-14 05:17:14

Wait sorry has the final, full version been made yet?
I see all these comments of people purchasing the full version but I can only see the two free downloads on your site.
I would seriously purchase all the chapters right now if you point me in the right direction?

chluaid responds:

The original unpublished book is done but it's the rewriting that is taking up a lot of time.. although Chapter 3 will be up later today - perhaps tomorrow (Sunday 16th Nov) cos my girlfriend will read through the chapter and do all the tutorials to get a beginner's perspective.

Thanks in advance for your support and I'll make a new NG blog post for each chapter release.


2008-11-16 20:25:30

Yay chapter 3! I gotta go to an exam so I'll probably buy it when I get back. Sorry I have visited you on khaz, its just that the queues are so freakishly long - 1337 people in the queue when i tried to get to my gnome yesterday