I like Flash CS4

Sep 23 2008 Published by under Flash

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[Just thought I should add a disclaimer here. I don't work for Adobe. Nothing I say here or in the comments is official information about what will or will not be in Flash CS4. I do not have the final, final release version, so things may have changed from the version I have been using, though I doubt much has.]

Actually, I might even say I love Flash CS4.

CS4 was announced today, and now I can talk about it. Yes, yes, I have OK from the mothership.

I’ve been working with Flash since Flash 4. From Flash 5 to Flash MX 2004, the Flash IDE was a major part of my daily life. Towards the end there, I started looking into other code editors – SEPY, PrimalScript, FlashDevelop, Eclipse, but the IDE was always a Control-Tab away.

Then came MTASC and SWFMill and it became cool to create an entire Flash workflow without touching Flash. I went in and out of this school. Compilation was surely a lot faster, but the time spent setting up, integrating, and debugging all those disrelated tools ofen wasted more time for me than what is was worth. FDT was the first high quality tool that pulled it all together and made it less of  task to have a Flashless Flash setup. Overall, though I still had Flash 8 open most work days, it was much less a part of my life than previous versions of Flash.

Then by the time Flash 9 / Flash CS3 came out, we had Flex Builder allowing us to create AS3 SWFs with code alone. And with Embed metadata to inject graphics, the last bit of pain of the Flashless workflow was gone. I’m sure I used Flash CS3 less than any version of Flash yet. It was like an ex-girlfriend who worked in the same building. You bump into each other here and there, you’re cordial, you smile, but if given a choice, you stay off the floor where her office is. However, I did wind up spending a few months working heavily in CS3 while building some Flash components earlier this year. It was honestly not a pleasant experience. If you search this blog, you can see many of my complaints about various bugs in the Flash CS3 authoring environment I encountered along the way.

Flash 10 seems different somehow. I’ve been using it for several months on the beta program, and I actually find myself enjoying it. I think it’s actually possible that I spent more time using the Flash 10 beta than I did using Flash CS3 over the previous year and a half. There’s a lot that’s changed.

New look.

First of all, CS4 has a fresh new look. The new vertical properties panel is offputting at first, but you get used to it. It seems like there is a bit more flexibility in how you can configure all your panels. Most importantly, on the Mac, the whole app is contained in a single window. So half your app dosn’t disappear on you when you tab to another program. Yay!!! If you want to see more screenshots, this post by Jen DeHaan has a ton of images. And FlashMagazine has a bunch too. Of course, this is my favorite screenshot:

The ActionScript editor has been perfected!

OK, not really. It’s still a pretty poor editor and I wouldn’t want to code a large application with it. But it does have at least one improvement that makes me not want to beat my keyboard with my coffee mug every time I use it – code completion is now case-INsensitive. In other words, if you have myMC typed as a MovieClip and you type “myMC.gotoa”, you will still get a hint for “gotoAndPlay”. In all previous versions of Flash, you would have to type a capital A to get the code hint there. That just drove me batty. I complained to Adobe incessantly over that and the only response I got was, “Well, ActionScript IS case sensitive.” But finally, they got it, and it makes coding in Flash tolerable in small doses, rather than infurating. At least for me.

MetaData

The Flash CS4 compiler now supports most of the same metadata commands that Flex Builder / MXMLC does. This means that if you have an AS3 class that uses Embed to pull in graphics or other assets, or uses SWF metadata to set stage size, color, frame rate, you can use that class to compile in Flash and it will actually work. Furthermore, you can type the following right on the timeline:

[SWF(width=800, height=800, backgroundColor=0xff0000, frameRate=120)]

And it will actually size the movie, set the background color and frame rate! Woot!

External Libraries and SWCs

In previous versions of Flash, if you had a folder containing AS3 source code, you could add that to your class path and compile against it. If you wanted to include a SWC in your project, that was a much different story and a very confusing workflow. In CS4, the AS3 Settings panel is very much like the Build properties panel in Flex Builder. You can add links to source folders containing AS3 class files, individual SWCs, folders containing SWCs, and SWCs to be used as Runtime Shared Libraries.

Just add the SWC containing a library and you can compile against it. You can do all this on a per-document or on a global level. Also, SWCs created by Flash and MXMLC are now supposedly much more, if not totally, compatible. So you can pretty much use them interchangeably. Unfortunately, the whole “code-hinting based on some stupid xml file of file types and properties” still exists, rather than actually parsing the classes and providing real code hinting. So you won’t get code hints on SWC-based classes. We’ll bug them for that in CS5. :)

There’s also the Config Constants tab you can see there. This lets you set constants and have conditional compilation based on their values.

Little Details

There are a bunch of tiny little changes you’ll barely notice other than that fact that they don’t bug you. Like, the default frame rate of a movie has finally graduated from 12 fps all the way up to 24! Default grid size is now 10 instead of 18. I complained about things like that in every version of Flash. They finally fixed a bunch of them.

Others

There’s also the 3D, IK, motion editor, etc. All the stuff that they show off in the previews. I don’t actually uses a lot of that stuff in the IDE, but it’s neat that it’s there.

For me, the great thing about Flash is the ability to open it up, Command-N new document, type some code, and hit Command-Enter to see what it does. You can have a SWF up and running within 60 seconds of getting an idea in your head. No need to set up a workspace, project, class. No need to save anything or decide where to save it and worry about deleting it later. So many projects I’ve done have started out that way and eventually become FLA projects and eventually migrated into Flex Builder based AS3 projects.

For me, that’s one of Flash’s best uses, as a rapid application prototyping environment. The problem was that it really became almost too painful to do that stuff in other versions of Flash. They’ve improved it to the point where I enjoy working in it in that capacity again. Of course, that means my desktop is now littered with FLAs waiting to be turned into something bigger. But that’s all cool. :)

Now, I know at least two of you (you know who you are) are going to want come on here and continue to use words like “bloated”, etc. If you really, really, really feel the need to do so, I’m not going to censor you, but hopefully you say something you didn’t say in the other threads and give some specifics of what you don’t like. And I’ll be able to either agree with you or disagree on specifics.

Is Flash CS4 perfect? No, of course not. What program is? But I honestly feel it is miles ahead of CS3. I see massive improvements and motion in the right direction, and I applaud that and encourage Adobe to keep going in that direction.

OK, I’ll throw one bone to the detractors. One thing that I think was a really poor design decision. There’s this new feature you may have seen mentioned in various presentations. I don’t totally understand it but it’s some kind of thing where the stage can show live previews of things, including video. But to implement that, as I understand it there is basically a Flash player instance running on or in the stage itself. A side effect of this is that Flash runs a bit hot now. Just sitting there in the background with an empty FLA open, nothing in it, nothing on stage, nothing running, Flash is using around 10% of my CPU. Ouch! Same situation in Flash CS3: 0.3%. That kind of freaked me out when I first realized it, but I’ve learned to live with it and don’t notice it anymore. It’s not like it’s using enough to bog down the whole computer or anything. But if you’re running on battery power, you might want to make sure Flash is shut down if you’re not using it. Or you can just close all your Flash documents. If the start page is the only thing showing, it’s fine. No stage, no CPU use. Big mistake not to make that something you can’t switch on or off. Hopefully that will be addressed.

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64 responses so far. Comments will be closed after post is one year old.

  • Quentin says:

    Damn, this splash screen is RED!
    Nice article, though.

  • Ed says:

    Great! I love the new features:)

  • marc thiele says:

    I have to agree, Keith. I have been working with it for month now. Recording dozens of video tutorials for it and it feel much much MUCH better than CS3. The overall behaviour is much faster, much more comfotable and better to understand. All this transparency crap in CS3 was p**sing me off.

  • Benny says:

    I like many things Flash CS4 will bring (except – again *sigh* – the outrages EURO pricing compared to the US pricing *grrr*).

    Before today there was a lot of talk about the new text capabilities that Flash CS4 would bring. So today I watch with great expectations the CS4 launch broadcast but they didn’t mention anything in the Flash Rich text department. On the new product info pages I couldn’t find anything about this either.

    Do you have details about any new rich text components that will ship with Flash CS4? Or didn’t they make it into the release at all?

  • Yogesh says:

    Nice to have these all features… However the much awaited Actionscript editor is still far away than Flex’s editor, FDT or FlashDevelop :D

  • Ash says:

    This is the only post on cs4 I’m reading today :D *closes axna*

  • Hector says:

    I really like what I’ve seen so far, it has some things I wasn’t expecting at all…

    I hope they’ll add an option to disable the live preview as well.

  • kp says:

    Yogesh, I don’t know about “much awaited” in terms of an ActionScript editor. I certainly didn’t expect to see much improvement there. All along Adobe has said or at least implied that if you want a professional editor, use Flex Builder. Still though, it would be nice to have some decent code hinting, not xml definition file based stuff like is still in there.

  • Hector says:

    @Benny:

    I read the rich text components would be available after Flash CS4 release… I don’t know if this will be the case tho.

  • John says:

    this update sounds nice. I still haven’t seen all the previews though..
    that live preview thing is disturbing.. they should have an option to turn it off.

  • Iain says:

    I asked this the other day, but you weren’t allowed to talk about it, but now that you can…

    What’s the deal with bones? Are they backwards compatible with Flash 9, or are they part of FP10? Can you rig a face with it, or only arms and legs? What ActionScript control do you have?

  • wonderwhy-er says:

    I am in process of planing one project for my firm on Flex which will have banner creation. And well time line. Planed a lot of features how to make my timeline and improve many things that frustrate my in current Flash timeline. Like I cant grab keyframes group and make it winder(slower playing) or smaller(faster playing) Why I can’t copy keyframes from say text animation line to picture animation line. Those keypoints are not actually connected to text but rather to display object and should have been copy/paste able to transfer animations presets between objects making the reusable. Then also wanted to add editing to separate property tweens and add some additional masking effects etc. Now yesterday I see collection of CS4 feature videos and DAMN!!! They like realized 80% of what I wanted. From one point damn I want CS4 now and here :D From other point of view. Damn my project become a lot less innovative :D OR rather they did it on level little bit higher then I was planing in and some places even higher then I think I can make…
    Ah still have few aces in my pocket :D Though with some features CS4 has they look bleak now…

    Considering CS3 built in code editor… Yeah it 100% shore sucks now and it seemed it didn’t become much better. Considering they have Flex sister project they could have at least added custom libraries and classes scanning/parsing so that code hints were showing for them… Ah really miss that from other high end IDE’s like .Net and Flex.
    BTW got some interest in question of “Extending Flash IDE” trough JSFL in same way Gaia Framework is built as additional panel. Would be cool to make some parser of AS3 code and something like reflection to make third party AS3 code editor with those features. May be taking some open source code from exiting open source as3 IDE’s.

  • kp says:

    Iain, from a quick test, it looks like you can do a tween with bones and export it to Flash 9. However, it seems you can’t make a runtime interactive IK structure. In other words, one that you can drag around with the mouse at runtime. If you try, you’ll get an error on publishing.

  • kp says:

    You could rig a face with bones I guess…

    And there is minimal ActionScript control. There’s some, but it’s 90% an IDE feature. You can only create bones in the IDE. Once they are made, you can read a lot of properties, and write a few of those properties.

  • Keith -

    thanks for the info — I don’t have much time today to see the CS4 stuff so I knew to go straight to your info. Great!

    Two things:

    1. Did they announce a release date?

    2. Did they fix the custom UI bug you blogged about months ago?

    Thanks!

  • [...] reviews are starting to be posted: Flash CS4 screenshots, new Flash features, more impressions. No Comments, Comment or [...]

  • Iain says:

    Thanks Keith! Wonder if this will be one of those features that never really gets used in the real world? (like “copy motion as ActionScript”)

  • kp says:

    Jonathan, I don’t see a release date, though Amazon has one. :)

    I believe you can now use external interface for communicating in and out of custom UIs. Haven’t tried it though.

  • Yes, this version has me loving Flash CS4, the amount of changes, fixes and overall improvements is astounding.

    .. I also like that About box, towards the bottom.. hehe

  • [...] CS4. It just feels like the Flash team nailed it this time around (Keith Peters has similar sentiments). You can find more information on Flash CS4 [...]

  • Julian says:

    So are you saying you ended up sleeping with your ex from the other floor for a few months?

  • pk says:

    @ Jonathan: I pre-ordered as a download and my US date was Oct. 14, in the past Adobe has been pretty good about being on time with promised dates.

    @ the author: any news on when (if ever) Adobe will bring the typography of InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop into Flash? I’m a bit tired of doing all type in Illustrator, outlining it, then importing it.

  • Keith,

    I just pre-ordered my copy via adobe.com and it says scheduled release is Oct 14th. Glad to hear it will be soon!

  • jeanphilippe says:

    Hi Keith,
    Thanks for this article and for the splash screen :)

  • Zarate says:

    Hi there,

    Did the new xfl format made it or we still stuck with fla files? I’m talking about this:

    http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/03/flash_moving_to.html

    Cheers!

    Juan

  • kp says:

    There is XFL import only in Flash for this release. Some of the other CS4 tools will export XFL. So you can import XFL graphics into Flash.

    As I understand it, full XFL will be rolled out over multiple releases. Perhaps in Flash 11 you’ll be able to save and load an entire FLA in XFL format. But yeah, I was sad to see that it was not fully implemented yet. It’s going to open up some cool stuff I think.

  • Brian Deitte says:

    Thanks for all the details Keith. Having watching someone (Crystal) spend a lot of time trying to use a Flex SWC in Authoring, I’m really happy to see this has been cleaned up.

  • Josh Tynjala says:

    As with the others, Adobe gave me that Oct. 14th date when I ordered my CS4 upgrades.

  • [...] Keith Peters – I like Flash CS4 Keith does a great job going over some features as it applies to developers, and describes how some minor changes (aka the not-hyped ones) have really solved some of his pain points while working in the IDE. Keith has also posted some screenshots of the new interface. [...]

  • amoslanka says:

    one of the most annoying things in my opinion about the flash cs3 is that when pixel snapping is turned on and a symbol instance is either “distributed to layer” or similar actions, its position is offset by .5 pixels. annoying. did they fix that?

  • [...] some of the other components of the suites. If you can’t wait until the meeting, then go read Keith Peter’s blog to grab a non-Adobe POV on Flash [...]

  • Steven Sacks says:

    Alright, KP. I’ll admit that CS4′s feature set (not just Flash, but Photoshop, as well) looks quite promising. My experience with the new Adobe UI was during an early build and it was really slow at that time.

    I’ll give the new UI a month or two to see how I like it on a daily basis. I will say that it *looks* like the Mac versions of CS4 applications will benefit greatly from the new UI being a single window. That remains to be seen in person.

    Here’s to the future, whatever it may hold.

  • kp says:

    Steven, in my experience, early builds are always horribly slow and inefficient. Optimization is done in the final stages.

  • tomsamson says:


    Now, I know at least two of you (you know who you are) are going to want come on here and continue to use words like “bloated”, etc. If you really, really, really feel the need to do so, I’m not going to censor you, but hopefully you say something you didn’t say in the other threads and give some specifics of what you don’t like. And I’ll be able to either agree with you or disagree on specifics.

    I guess i was one of the two you meant ;)
    I won´t go deeply into all of the new features, as i said i want to try em for a bit longer before giving a final verdict.

    I´ll just write what i think so far on some of the stuff:

    New animation/timeline system:
    Seems like it will take a while to get used to but ultimately is way more flexible and powerful: I´d give it a clear thumbs up (unless i try it for a few weeks and find many bugs ;) ).

    3D features:
    What i can say so far is that i like the addition of the 3D features although its still way too few, way too late, but yeah, finally there´s a start at least.

    Bones stuff:
    Regarding the IK stuff i´d like it if one could control it better via code, too.

    Reagrding the deco tool:
    Nice idea, terrible, really awful implementation right now:
    When one thinks about what it is made for: placing lots of animated movieclips on the stage quickly, actually in a way in which one doesn´t even think much about the amount one places.
    Just about one of the worst things one can do in flash regarding performance.

    I also dislike it that while its meant to be a mostly designer targetted focus update still many features introduced with flash 8/9 are not implemented in the ide in designer friendly way, pretty much none of them in a way that also leads to performance savey implementations.
    Also, and I already ranted about this one before: Its at least weird that something like filter creation which should be accessible to designers, too, is made in a way that it can´t even be done with simple AS coding. As you said in another post others are working on AS wrapper classes, would be great and NEEDED that adobe adds the functionality to make filters with AS code or ideally in graphical workflow both in the IDE.

    Now i also want to post constructive things on how i think the graphical features added with flash 8 (mostly speaking about bitmapdata related functionality) could be added to a future version of the IDE so its user friendly for designers (and could also be handy for coders who otherwise usually write wrapper classes for themselves to get such things going) :

    -Have a new graphic object type, let´s say its called the BitmapdataMovieclip:
    When one creates it one could set canvas dimensions for it, then one could go into the library and select it to edit it (like with usual movieclips) and there see a timeline, again just like for movieclips.
    But the “stage” canvas size when editing them would be what one set for em in moment of creation. Then one could drop bitmaps into the frames.
    The result should act and allow controlling the timeline like for movieclip but on codeside it would automatcally generate a bitmapdata and array of content per frame and code to iterate through the array and play that back as if it was a spritesheet based copypixels driven animation. One could also press a button to spit out the code output for the case one wants to use that.

    Then one could take that idea a step further and have a new feature to be able to set a layer in a movieclip to be a bitmapdata canvas layer. (essentially in the background it should create a stage size bitmapdata). When one would then drag any bitmapdata movieclips onto such a canvas all contents of the current frame in those bitmapdata movieclips would get drawn into that same bitmapdata canvas.
    So one would get as endresult many objects (way more than possible with usual movieclips) get animated at nice performance.
    Again there should be a button to generate the code output for that,too for the case one wants to use that.

    With something like that a tool like the deco tool would also make sense performancewise: One would choose a BitmapdataMovieclip as “brush” of the deco tool and then draw with the tool onto a bitmapdata canvas and get as endresult many particles running at nice performance.

    Well, this is my suggestion for how to make the bitmapdata functionality, the deco tool and graphical things running at nice performance in general accesible to designers right in the ide, after brainstorming for a few minutes.

    Let me know if it sucks.

  • kp says:

    tom, I agree with a lot of that…

    “3D features:
    …way too few, way too late…”

    That kind of sentiment I don’t get. I understand a lot of people think that way, but when I hear stuff like that, I think “why bother trying?” You introduce a great new feature, and people say it should be better and should have been done before.

    “Reagrding the deco tool:
    Nice idea, terrible, really awful implementation right now:”

    Agree 100%. This one scares me. What were they thinking? Spray paint 10,000 movie clips on stage??? ugh.

    As far as creating filters in AS or the IDE, I assume you mean PixelBender shader filters. Yeah. All I can say is you have to ship a product some day. They added a lot of stuff. I’m sure it was a lot of work. They could have delayed the release another six months to integrate it better. Which would have meant delaying all of CS4. Whenever you’re making large scale software, there comes a point when you have to start cutting / pushing off features.

    The BitmapdataMovieclip is an interesting idea, but seems a bit dangerous, memory consumption wise. I agree BitmapData should be used for the artdeco and spraybrush tools.

  • tomsamson says:

    Regarding the 3d features:
    Yeah, you´re right, maybe when one says something on them like what i said one should also point out its not meant as in “why bother trying” but rather as: good start, but people want this and this more so please don´t settle down and add as many of those things as possible in the next update so people have less reasoned reason to moan. Again, i think its a good start.

    Reagrding what you said on the pixelbender stuff:
    Personally, i´d prefer it if they shipped it 6 months later rather than shipping it in a version in which a feature which could be essential to designers is essentially not usable for them.
    I understand though that there are other (money) considerations going on regarding how long a product cycle can/should take.
    So yeah, its ok they ship it now but then see it as constructive criticism for what would be good and needed to be added to the next version instead of seeing it as pointless moaning about something that is shipping and won´t be changed anymore :)

    Regarding your worries regarding memory consumption with something like a BitmapData canvas layer or a BitmapData movieclip:
    I think when one clearly conveys the message one should use few or ideally just one BitmapDataCanvas for the whole project that would be fine.
    Also: They added cacheAsBitmap which is much more prone to performance-/memory consumptionwise negative usage and to my experience when talking/working with designers way more often used in ways in which it is ineffective/bad for performance and leads to bloated memory usage (like turning it on for movieclips/shapes that change often).

    So yeah, i think something like a BitmapDataMovieClip would be way more memory savey and lead to much better performance than cacheAsBitmap on graphical objects or using usual movieclips.
    Everything can be abused/used in bad way but if there´s an option to add something that is better than existing options and which in usual sensmaking usage will lead to way better performing content and having features accessible to way more of the designer base (while also coming in handy for developers who would just press the genrate code output button to use that then), why not add it? :)

  • Steven Sacks says:

    I sincerely hope that this new version of Flash will actually tell you if you’re running an updated version after you update. Flash CS3 never shows that you’re running 9.0.1, 9.0.2 or 9.0.3. Also, you can’t get the publish profile setting to show that you’re publishing to Air 1.1. It only shows 1.0, even after you update to 9.0.3.

    Every previous version of Flash, AND EVERY OTHER CS3 APP, show if you’re running a minor version update, and which one it is. Only Flash CS3 does not.

  • [...] as some of the other components of the suites. If you can’t wait until the meeting, then go read Keith Peter’s blog to grab a non-Adobe POV on Flash [...]

  • Jen deHaan says:

    “New animation/timeline system:
    Seems like it will take a while to get used to but ultimately is way more flexible and powerful: I´d give it a clear thumbs up (unless i try it for a few weeks and find many bugs ;) ).”

    Hopefully you won’t! But if you do notice anything, please make sure we hear about it through the wishlist or our Motion blog comments (linked above, and in the blog post too – comments go right to the motion team). It will take a bit to get used to before it feels “natural” again, but it might come sooner than you think (it did for me, and the feature was far from done at that point). If you have any questions too, let us know there. Flash always has 3 ways to do something, and sometime one way is quicker than the other so in those cases we want to share those kinds of tips to help people out :)

    Jen
    Adobe, Flash QE, Motion.

  • tomsamson says:

    Thanks for the feedback and heads up, appreciate it :)
    I´ll post there once i played around with it some :)

  • Wassim says:

    This update is designer-oriented, I know of AS3 new API but they don’t seem to shine like 3D and the all new motion editor.

  • Brian Balkwill says:

    Hi

    I restore lots of old drawings in Flash but the stage size restriction drives me nuts – has this been increased?

    Brian

  • [...] cha­ng­e ev­erything­. A­nd­ then, there’s­ F­la­s­h. An­d wait­, A­la­n­ wil­l­ get an­gry­ at m­e if [...]

  • JLM says:

    I am really annoyed at the properties panel it is just too darned big it takes up too much screen space on a mac pro 15″, I prefer the old one can I have it back or atleast be able to reduce excessive spacing font size, might be great for newbies but for regulars it just looks and it take too much space.

  • Steven Sacks says:

    CS4 is a winner, KP. I’ll working an in-depth review right now, and with the exception of them breaking the info panel on Windows (the only serious gripe I have) and a minor bug with the dragging values and locked ratios, we’re looking at the most solid release of Flash since 8, and the ONLY solid version of Flash for Mac ever made by a long shot.

  • kp says:

    Well, Steven, I have to say that now I’m noticing some gripes here and there. Still miles above CS3 though, which drove me batty.

  • [...] to give equal air time to my apparently scandalous post proclaiming how much I liked Flash CS4, let me say that it is not perfect and there are some things [...]

  • Julian says:

    I agree with your review entirely. Unfortunately, I particularly agree with you closing paragraph about CPU usage. I’m using a dual-core Macbook Pro. 10% CPU is at the low end. This number then slowly creeps up to 33% for no apparent reason, even if the app is idle. If I shut down Flash CS4 and re-open it with exactly the same files and workspace, it goes back down to the low-end number… for a while.

    It’s not just the stage that causes heavy CPU usage in the CS4 suite. Some of the panels use the new ‘Flash Panels’ feature, so Flash is running in the background regardless of the stage. And it’s not just Flash CS4 either. Most, or all of the Creative Suite apps use Flash Panels and with multiple apps open, the combined CPU requirements for C4, compared with CS3, are off the charts.

    This could have been a non-issue if Adobe hadn’t taken a short-cut. If they had written all their panels natively, then the user-extensible Flash Panels feature could still be there for those who want to install custom Flash Panels. And absent for those who don’t want the CPU overhead. How difficult would that have been for Adobe? …a few interface bits and pieces that call existing back-end code?

    > One thing that I think was a really poor design decision

    An extraordinarily poor design decision. So much for CS4 being all about workflow! It’s killing my workflow. I can no longer leave multiple CPU hogging apps open and I can’t keep certain panels open either. Even with those preventative steps taken, battery life has now become an issue, as it has for various colleagues who use laptops. Just four CS4 apps open at the same time can consume 50% CPU, before I start doing anything.

    Creative Suite 4 is so obviously a great release and a significant milestone. This one issue is a significant fly in the ointment and a much bigger problem than it first seems.

    I contacted John Nack of Adobe about this and he said he hadn’t heard it mentioned, so I was interested to find that you’ve also noticed it and we’re not the only ones. John Nack is a great guy and I felt bad about contacting him especially since his product – Photoshop – is one of the best behaved in this respect, but it’s a huge problem for us.

  • Anthony Pace says:

    The major problem I have with CS4 is that whilst Adobe finally gave animators Bones and 3d rotation, they neglected to give us the ability to import 3D Objects to the stage directly, and edit their textures.

    Imagine how easy 3d flash animation and game programming would be if we had the ability to drag and drop our 3d assets to the stage and manipulate them directly; add the ability to tie in IK between two assets and I drool at the thought.

    The RAD for a game in flash would be insane.

  • Anthony Pace says:

    Oh yeah, and the editor is horrible.

    The reason I started using flash in 2000 was that it was the best an all in one tool for creating animations and games on the web; yet, now I have to rely on 3rd party editors.

    If they don’t want to include a decent editor in flash, why not give us the code editing capabilities in dreamweaver. Flash develop, an open source program, is miles ahead.

    Adobe could be making serious coinage by using this as a selling point, if they just pulled their pants up and got to working on it.

  • derrickito says:

    where the hell is my telltarget?? :)

  • dave says:

    I know you guys are all developers, but has anyone noticed the eye-dropper no longer sucks up color from the stage or other windows. And the ‘sliders’ in the Filters section of the Properties window suck big time. Is Adobe just phasing out the hands-on designer functionality of Flash altogether because it sure seems like it. It’s either that or that Adobe doesn’t even bother to use their apps for a few days before shipping.

  • Matthew Simmons says:

    I agree that overall CS4 is awesome, but I’ve been very frustrated at some basic tweening issues. It seems that if I create a tween with a rotation, and then add an ease, as soon as I add the ease, the anchor point moves. I did this several times to one object. The anchor point began in the middle of the object and once I was finished, the anchor point was outside of the object. I haven’t figured out any way around it. There are also a few other small glitches in the interface. Very frustrating!!!

  • ButtercupSaiyan says:

    The Inverse Kinematics or Bone/Skeleton system in Flash CS4 is AWFUL!!

    Aside from some workflow-crippling bugs, it lacks almost everything: Spring-based bones; a visual cone for joint rotation constraints; a dedicated tool for reconnecting, readjusting, and transforming bones; strength and weight zones for the influence of joints; a real hierarchy without everything on one layer (hello, errors that just ruined an hour’s worth of work!); and the ability to bind multiple symbols to the same bone.

    On top of that, if you use it in a prolonged animation, the limbs will slowly shrink over the course of time. The arm will go from 100% to 92% in size. And if you try to readjust a bone in the middle of an animation, everything else will “itch” or “squirm” around even if it’s not really connected. I’ll have to stick to CS3 for everything that I want to do.

    It’s unusable. Avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid …

  • The bigger problem today is to know when Adobe will launch their update for Flash CS4!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Flash still a beta version, not finished, with so many bugs…Flash CS4 is very unstable, crash all the time and sometime just with one click. I did some research, and it’s not my system but the software, who’s using too much resources from your system and crashing for the most stupid thing…GO BACK TO CS3!!!! I already spent weeks/month on it and saw many aberration, I dream to be able to work only on CS3 now.

    Yes! avoid….

  • Yane says:

    Few things I noticed about the Bones tool:

    1.when using the free transform tool to move an ik node, the bone registration/pivot point gets displaced each time you move the node, especially when you work with high zoom.

    2.when inserting/copying-pasting a pose in the armature layer the bone registration/pivot point gets displaced.

    Flash CS4 Inverse Kinematics – Armature – Bones, Avoid! Unusable!

  • green says:

    Flash cs4 is the worst program on the world maybe some Afganistan programs are better than this shit. I just dont understand how can a big company like the Adobe do this, how can they sell it, how can they be praud on it (sory for english ) i use cs3 every day and was sooooo hapy when the new cs4 was made i want it soo much i dont try it and buy it. And now I cant run it, i cant work on it but some adobe PR have new car.

  • James Allen says:

    Yup, unfortunately I’ve had to revert to CS3. I’m using Vista x64 and it crashes constantly, like every 10 minutes, usually when working with motion tweens on objects with filters.

    Another glitch I found today was when I created a new document, put a class in the DocumentClass definition box, and did my usual setup. ctrl-enter to publish, and it wasn’t running my document class! I was like…. did I make a mistake somewhere? Double-checked, and it was all good. Then I put something on the stage and gave it an instance name, and set the “automatically declare stage instances” to off. If unhandled, it should throw an error, but when I published, it displayed the object on the stage with no errors or traces of any kind. Then, after closing flash and restarting, loading the fla up again, I published, and got the appropriate errors. This wasted about 15 minutes of my day. Thanks Adobe.

  • Autodev says:

    Its dire!
    It must be time for microsoft or borland to introduce an editor that is it for purpose(To edit actionscript3/4).I had to use a nearly free editor Flash develop to get anything half decent, FDT looks ok but there is no mention of CS4 in the fine print. It is nothing short of lunacy that adobe master suite 3 has a flash editor which can nearly be rivaled by a copy of ms notepad.
    I have not mentioned the irritating features where to use a flash componant in code, the componant is required to be present on the ‘stage’. This feature is only required as licensing protection yet totally ignored in flex builder 3.
    Am I the only person in the world ‘waiting’ for the promised(adobe) new world?
    Some one should pick up a very large stick and beat 5 bells out of the morons that are determined to throw adobe into the trash can.
    So job1
    Introduce an editor in line with the requirements of flash coders.
    2 Fire the idiots tht think that coding is not a high priority or make them available at the next roadshow to defend their pathetic offering.
    John

  • Thank you for comparing these. I’ve heard such negative press re: CS3, it’s refreshing to know that the upgrade from Flash 8 to CS4 may be well worth it (and long overdue!).

    Thanks!

  • cyianite says:

    I hate CS4,.. why they can’t make it a Flash App that’s Developer friendly like Flex Builder that’s used too.. One simple stupid thing that Flash CS4 changed is the zoom key… for all the application standards.. ‘Z’ is the norm key for zoom,.. too stupid they have changed it.
    Learning CS4 is like learning your Flash in your first year..
    Sorry for the CS4 fanatic, if you find it too cool and friendly , well I don’t. I’d still like using my Flex Builder for AS3 scripting, CS3 for flash design/development and CS4 for garbage recycle bin.

  • Dan says:

    I’m using the trial version right now and am absolutely floored. I’ve been a C developer for years, preferring the more rudimentary text-editor-and-console type environment. I was actually quite amazed at how UN-bloated CS4 seems. It’s not hogging up too much memory, it’s kinda big on the Hard Drive but I notice the flash files I’m producing are SURPRISINGLY deploy-able. I’m running some stuff at 50fps I thought was sure to bring a 500mhz AMD to it’s knees and I’ve had no such problem. I love everything about CS4 except of coarse the code editor. I have high hopes that Adobe will be updating these things soon. In conclusion, I’ve always wanted a RAD for video game development and I finally got one for Christmas this year. Yay!

  • Chetan says:

    I am trying to use external swc files with Flash CS3, you mentioned it was a different workflow. Could you please share some links to do that. Although Flash CS5 is released but I still have to do that for compatibility.