I’m looking forward to Flash CS5. Let me rephrase that. I’m hopeful for what CS5 could be. On the other hand, that’s been true of every release of Flash since MX 2004. They promise these great new features, but rarely do they address the real nagging problems.
CS4 introduced quite a few bugs and annoyances, though the UI rewrite also fixed a bunch of issues that have bugged me ever since I started using Flash. You should see the list of bugs and feature requests I’ve assembled. I’ve submitted them all to Adobe’s bug report / feature request web form, but I have real doubts about how much they pay attention to that.
There was a feature that I used fairly often when I worked on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends that disappeared in version 8: copying vector art from Flash to Illustrator. I have no idea why they would have taken that out, since it was so useful to us on Foster’s. The most common thing we would use it for would be to take some art that we had in Flash, bring it into illustrator, and either create an art brush out of it or apply an art brush to it. This would make things like animating a complex striped tiger tail as easy as animating a standard Flash line. Translation: very easy. It was even used once (before I came onto the show) to animate an entire character – a particularly gangly and clumsy one.
Here’s my dream, though: make it so I don’t even need Illustrator. Add art brushes to Flash. Wouldn’t that rock? It would potentially create very high vertex counts but it would be amazing in terms of versatility. And, having my foundation firmly in TV animation, what do I care about vertex counts? As long as the renderer can handle it without crashing I’m good.
And while you’re at it, add trapezoidal transformation of symbols, smarter shape tweens, and any number of other things that Illustrator does so much better but belong in an animation program like Flash. Make my wish come true, Adobe: make Flash rock for animators!