Three-dimensional manipulation of Flash assets is not new, but 3D has never been an integrated part of any version of the application until now.
Historically, 3D effects have been accessible to Flash developers in a variety of ways. The most basic approach to adding a 3D appearance to your projects has always been to import sequential images rendered by external 3D applications. Interactive 3D simulations became possible early on as coders began writing basic ActionScript solutions that approximated 3D with dynamic drawing techniques. Today, much more advanced 3D ActionScript packages are available from third-party developers. Several of these 3D engines contain an impressive array of 3D features, including the ability to load 3D models, control textures, lighting, and more. For your exploration, a short list of additional 3D resources is available in the upcoming 3D Outside the Box sidebar.
Unfortunately, from a beginner’s standpoint, these options are a step or two away, because their use requires intermediate to advanced ActionScript coding skills. Now the good news: for the first time, Flash CS4 Professional introduces simple 3D support available directly in the Flash interface, so even Flash neophytes can add a little 3D to their projects. When you need interactivity, you can use ActionScript, which includes the same 3D features, as well as a few more.
None of this means that Flash is now a full-fledged 3D animation or modeling application. Flash CS4’s ...