Tips & Tricks: Flash Catalyst, Game Changer

Tips & Tricks: Flash Catalyst, Game Changer

So far our Adobe tips have all come from that wonderland Adobe TV. If you haven't been over there yet, do some clicking and make your worklife much better.

Today, though, this isn't really a tip we're sharing: it's a game-changer. Adobe is beta testing Flash Catalyst, which lets you, the designer, create interactive content (websites, apps, everything you need to have in your professional creative portfolio these days) without writing code. Create it, and set it live. Without writing code. Your eyes aren't fooling you: you can do this yourself. Come with us after the jump and get ready to download the beta software.

A few weeks ago we talked about the way CS4 InDesign allows you to add some interactivity to your files, but there are still steps there you need someone else to help you complete. With Flash Catalyst, you can do even more, just on your own. The inspiring intro video from Adobe isn't embeddable, so be sure to watch the Design Demo on their site here, and then sign-up below for the free beta-test download--they're asking for feedback before they add this version to the Creative Suite, from the people who are best suited to steer them the right direction, and letting you use it in the meantime. Win-win-win.

In a nutshell, what you'll be able to do is create interactive content with your designs, without writing code. Just use Photoshop and Illustrator like you always do, and then USE FLASH CATALYST to add interactivity.

That's right: turn artwork, your design work, into interactive components like buttons, scrollbars or other controls, producing a final Flash file for your website or app.


Here are the basics of how your creativity goes live, without relying on anyone other than you to make it happen:
FlashCatGrab_3.pngConvert artwork to component with a command or a drop-down menu, not code.
Assign tasks to buttons and arrows with more commands, not code.
Build transitions from screen to screen (pages of your website, screens of your iPhone app), without writing code.
And when you're happy with the design, Flash Catalyst does the coding work:
At the end of the project, you've created an interactive site without creating the code for it, and without waiting for someone else to get in the middle for you.

You really should sign-up for the beta test here, and get a head start on 2010 with the video support for Flash Catalyst on Adobe TV. Be sure to let us know how it's going; we'll definitely have more follow-up tk.

This is part of our Tuesday Tips & Tricks series usually curated from Adobe TV. If you can't wait for more, head over to Adobe TV and learn more.... you can never get too much of the good stuff. If you have a fave you think we should highlight, or your own experiences you'd like to share, send us a link at and we'll feature it.

And SPD members: Don't forget! Your membership means discounts on Adobe software. Get the details here.

PREVIOUSLY: Create a Flash Web Gallery In Adobe Bridge
: Creating Interactivity in InDesign
PREVIOUSLY: Using Photoshop & Lightroom to Lighten Your Workload
PREVIOUSLY: Bridge: Get There Sooner
PREVIOUSLY: Illustrator Timesavers

For the full archive of Adobe tips on Grids, click here.

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