Adobe Flash CS3 Professional


$699; $199 upgrade. Educational price $249.
Upgrade requires serial number and previous version of product on same platform as current purchase.

Adobe Flash CS3 Professional – the newest heir to the world’s most famous vector-based animation program legacy – has arrived. With a price tag of $699, Flash CS3 is not a purchase to be idly made. However, for true art and animation aficionados, as well as anyone working with interactive media, it is more than worth the cost. Those who already own an older version of Flash can upgrade to CS3 Professional for a fraction of the regular purchase price.

The familiar Adobe workspace, with its customizable windows and its well-stocked left side toolbar, is implemented (albeit much streamlined) in this latest edition of Flash. This makes it easier for those who are familiar with other Adobe to dive right in. People who are new to the world of Flash, however, at first may be boggled by the sheer number of options and commands, not to mention the complexities of adding everything from loading bars to buttons to sound. Luckily for all the newbies out there, Flash CS 3 Professional comes with the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Training Workshop DVD which features excellent instruction in Flash and other CS3 applications from

If you’re hankering for more, the internet is full of free Flash tutorials, tips and tricks to get you started, not to mention the vast catalogue of professional guides on the subject (May I personally recommend O’Reilly’s Dynamic Learning: Flash 3 Professional by Fred Gerantabee? It’s intensely comprehensive and comes with a DVD of video tutorials).

Once the basics of Flash CS3 have been mastered, the options are truly limitless. The integration with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications makes it possible to import and export files seamlessly with Photoshop and Illustrator. Flash CS3 can be used for everything from creating still illustrations to animations to interactive website menus. And, with the improvements in CS3, the animations can be smoother and more complex than ever. Tablet users will find Flash CS3 to be fully compatible with the pressure-sensitive pen, while mouse users still retain full functionality.

Among Flash CS3’s new features is the ActionScript 3.0 code. An advancement from ActionScript 2.0, animations can now be copied from object to object, as well as being easily read by professional development software. The scripting language is also much easier to use. Still, for those who prefer ActionScript 2.0, Flash CS3 can create 2.0 documents just as easily as it can create 3.0 documents.

ActionScript 3.0 also includes a new debugger which is both easier to use and more flexible than the old version, to maximize coding accuracy. There are also new coding tools, which include jumping directly to errors within your code.

For people who are creating mobile device content, there is a simulator called Flash Lite, which allows designers to create interactive applications and then test them on simulated portable devices of different designs (for example, multiple variations on the Nokia cell phone) to test for functionality before exporting.

In addition to new smart shape-drawing tools, the Pen Tool from Adobe Illustrator has been added to Flash’s arsenal, enabling designers to do tasks within Flash that previously would have needed to be imported from Illustrator. If you prefer to use Illustrator for your drawings, importing to Flash is simple.

Last but not least, the video tools in Flash CS3 have been greatly expanded. Advanced QuickTime export, nested MovieClips, embedded cue points, video import and export support, and closed captioning all make an appearance. Making videos has never been this simple!

All in all, I would say that Flash CS3 Professional is a credit to its legacy and a very useful tool for everything from drawing to animation to web design. However, don’t take it from me! Adobe offers a trial on their website: Try it out for yourself.

–Emily Travisano

Adobe Flash CS3 Professional
System Requirements: 1 GHz Power PC G4 processor or faster; Mac OS X v10.4.8-10.5 (Leopard); 512 MB of available RAM, minimum, 1 GB of available RAM, highly recommended; 2.5 GB of available hard drive space (additional space required during installation); 1024x768 or greater monitor resolution, with a 16 bit video card; DVD-ROM drive. QuickTime 7.1.2 required for multimedia features. Internet or phone connection required for product activation.

Copyright ©2008 by Emily Travisano. This review appeared in the May 2008 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE, the Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.