Flash Math Creativity: Second Edition
Forget school math class, Flash math is about fun. It’s what you do in your spare time – messing around with little ideas until the design takes over and you end up with something beautiful, bizarre, or just downright brilliant. It’s a book of iterative experiments, generative design; a book of inspiration, beautiful enough to leave on the coffee table, but addictive enough to keep by your computer and sneak out while no one’s looking so you can go back to that Flash movie that you were tinkering with ’til 3 o’clock this morning. In "New Masters of Flash" the designers told us about themselves and deconstructed their finest effects. This time we’ve gathered the best in one book and simply asked them to go away and do what they do best: play. We give you the code and explain the essence, then you take your inspiration and run with it.
Math and Flash combine to provide interesting animations, October 29, 2006
This book is stunning visually and is just overflowing with inspiration. This is a book intended to show us what the Flash community has been able to come up in terms of creation and allows us to tinker around with the code. If you like to take a basic principle and see it evolve given enough time and interest, then this is the book for you. If you enjoy seeing "how" things function rather than "why" they work, you have the opportunity to tinker and toy with the variables to see exactly "how" it changes the overall look of the final piece. To get the most from this book the reader is expected to understand the basics of ActionScript as well as the techniques common in most projects. This is not intended to deter the beginner, as you will surely learn much.
The book is laid out pretty straightforward. There are 15 chapters with each one dedicated to a certain individual who goes through each of his creations and iterations.Suggested reading by the people at "Friends of Ed" is to grab the source files, run them, and then read the chapters. Some of the source files are adequately commented so in some, the book isn’t even needed. That is not to say, however, that this book is not necessary to understand what’s going on. The book gives you quick insight to the authors’ mindset and thinking, and each chapter begins with an overview of where they are from, what they do, how they have come to do this, and interests.
There are actually two parts to the book. The second part consists of the last three chapters and has what you’d consider an "application" or an "engine" for viewing the creations and being able to manipulate them directly. The first part of the book is dedicated to finding a variable, which for the most part is explained in the book, changing it to your liking, viewing the results, and reviewing the code. At the end of the book there is a Tangents page which provides 54 links to explore.
In case you are wondering where the math fits in, it’s scattered throughout the book. However, sometimes, we are not presented with the reasons for using "128" for variable "p" to multiply by var "b" which has the value of "14". You may often be left scratching your head and asking why, but that isn’t the point. Sine and Cosine are presented quite clearly in the first chapter and there is a terrific example from Gabriel Mulzer, but if you are looking to the find the mysteries behind using atan2 to get an angle, then this book will not answer that question. It is up to you to play the part of explorer to find those answers. You are presented with a wealth of methods that people use, inspiration for them, and experiments that the reader is encouraged to break. You are given a chance to use these methods to have fun and use them as springboards to access that creativity that lurks in each and every one of us.
In conclusion, if you enjoy going through code with a fine toothed comb and if you want to pick up valuable techniques for doing certain things with Flash, as well as be dazzled by some of the innovators of our time, get the book. It is the perfect culmination of what Flash ActionScripting can do. I would show the table of contents at this point, but all of the chapters are named after the innovators themselves, and would provide little insight to the contents.