Flash CS4 features a radically revised animation environment.

The stage - Adobe Flash CS4's central workspace - has been moved to the top of the workspace, while the previously dominant timeline is tucked away beneath.

This rearrangement symbolises and facilitates the real radical change in Flash CS4: a fundamental reconceptualisation of the animation process.

Transcended (although still accessible) are timelines and keyframes. Instead, as motion and shape transformation are applied, objects automatically convert to and are managed as movie clips.

Within these movie clips, the motion paths that control animation now function as Illustrator-style vector paths, editable with Illustrator style Pen tools. (The dynamic synergy between Illustrator and Flash has been further enhanced with Flash CS4's ability to import Illustrator's multiple artboards.)

The new, impressive, and almost overwhelming Motion Editor panel feels (and functions) like a video editor. Users of After Effects will find familiar looking features for controlling motion, rotation, skewing, and effects.

See also: Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) review


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Between the restructuring of animation paths and Motion Editor-centered animation controls, Flash CS4 is whole new world for animators, with features that are both more intuitively cohered to the whole CS4 logic, and more powerful. Other animation enhancements include the Bone tool that applies Inverse Kinetics for powerful control over cartoon-style motion, and limited 3-D simulation.