Flash 8: Thoughts and Experiments

I’m sure everyone has heard the news about the official announcement of Flash 8. It looks like it’s going to be an awesome release, with a real focus on expressiveness (aka designer features), but still lots of goodies for developers. I’m really happy about the visual boost it will give to both my personal experiments and professional work, as well as the performance increases, and even just the name change (Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Professional was a little lengthy). I haven’t had this much fun with Flash since about Flash 5 (when they finally added the ability to type in AS code).

We’re planning on making gBlog the place to come for Flash 8 content, with articles and tutorials on many of the new features planned for shortly after release. I’ll also be giving a talk on all of the new features at MAX in October, and running a workshops on it shortly thereafter (currently planned for Edmonton, Toronto and possible New York and LA). I’ll also be releasing some of the experiments and code that I’ve been playing around with in Flash Player 8 over the next few weeks, starting with flowerGarden today.

flowerGarden utilizes some of the filters (namely ColorMatrixFilter and DropShadowFilter), and bitmap capabilities of Flash Player 8 to randomly assemble flowers from 6 petals and 3 centers, and place them in a “garden”. It uses a custom bitmap caching routine; has individual shadows for each petal, center and flower; uses some bitmap logic to ensure new flowers aren’t placed directly on top of one another; and a bunch of other stuff. One of the neat things is that I could leave it to run forever (figuratively) – constantly placing new flowers – and it wouldn’t slow down or increase in RAM or CPU usage, because it is only ever managing a single flower at a time, then blitting it back to a bitmap.

Have a look… (Flash Player 8 required, 120kb)

I also created a version to generate big desktop pictures, which you can download below:

1920 x 1200 (1.4MB)

1600 x 1200 (1.2MB)

1280 x 1024 (800kb)

1024 x 768 (500kb)

800 x 600 (300kb)

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Damn cool!!, I knew you would have some cool things hidden away. After hearing about how you put some time aside for these sorts of things I have tried to do the same. Man its hard. Looking forward to the upcoming content.

    Good work dude!

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  3. Looks good. But when I zoom in it doubles the memory used and slows down the computer to the point where right click takes about a minute to respond. Zoom back out and it all clears itself. Have you seen this? (player


  4. Adrian,

    That’s really strange – it tests fine for me in the r50 Mac player when zoomed in. It might be worth submitting this to MM as a bug with your computer configuration (OS, CPU, RAM, etc).

  5. I have to say I am glad that Imaging functions have finally made it to Flash. I have been suing them in Director for years.

    About your flowers… why are you fading them out? Are you trying to keep the MC count down? Why not render out your flower then copyPixel() the whole MC image to the backgroud MC and destroy the original flower MC. Thus you only ever have two MCs on stage at once. I have no idea what the actual Flash code is for copyPixels() as it is a Director function, but I imagine it is going to be similar as the same guy wrote the API for both.

  6. Charles,

    Actually I’m fading them back purely for aesthetic reasons, I could have the flowers layer over each other continually with no performance hit, I just like the grass showing. The flowers are mapped to a bitmap immediately after being drawn, then I am using ColorMatrixFilter to fade down the bitmap pixels over time.

    As you suggested, it is only using two clips – one to draw the flower in, and one to hold the “garden” bitmap.

  7. Ahh, then ignore me. 🙂 Still good stuff! look forward to seeing what else comes out of the new Flash.

  8. Great to see your flowerGarden, we did a flash visualization tool, also called flowerGarden, you may be curious:


    Good luck with future projects!

  9. i want to know how to make this garden, can help me?

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