Adobe MAX 2016 Resources

With Adobe MAX 2016 concluded, I’ve pulled together a number of resources from my own sessions on Animate CC and the SWF file format and also some important information from Adobe around Flash Player and AIR.


I had a great time at MAX this year and it seems most everyone else did too. Great to be able to share Animate CC workflows with lab attendees, connect with the greater education and professional communities, and have fabulous conversations with new attendees as well!

Incidentally, Adobe MAX 2017 will be held October 16–20, 2017 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada!

Adobe Animate CC: Introduction to Animation and Interactivity

Adobe Animate CC is a professional tool used to create a diverse variety of project types including rich animations, compelling interactives, award-winning games, popular mobile apps, and more. Learn how to get started creating your own engaging animated and interactive content across multiple platforms using Animate CC in this lab.

I taught this lab each day of the conference and it was completely booked each time. Those on the wait list were able to come in and observe if they desired – though there were no more lab machines available for them to use. I hope those who were not able to get on a lab computer (or even those not present at MAX) will benefit from these resources.

The workbook, project files, and slides are below – please share!


Adobe Animate CC: Introduction to Animation and Interactivity Workbook (81 page PDF)


Asset Files

FLA and PNG files in a ZIP archive.

Download ZIP


And… here are the (really short) intro slides:

Don’t Fear the SWF (Adobe MAX Community Summit)

A quick overview of some of the cool stuff that is possible with the SWF file format that DOESN’T involve the F-word.

The day before MAX, I attended the Community Summit for Adobe Community Professionals and User Group Managers. We had the opportunity for a number of in-depth conversations with various Adobe project managers, Adobe community people, and one another.

Toward the end of the summit was a chance to talk about certain tips, techniques, or workflows with Adobe products that we wanted to share. I gave a talk on the SWF file format and some of the cools things you could do with it even if not targeting Flash Player.

Here is the Connect recording for the entire event – and below you will find slides.

(These are the revised slides that include additional NDA information I could not present that day.)

Don’t Fear the SWF (Adobe MAX Live!)

I also provided a live demonstration based upon the Community Summit talk as part of the Live from Adobe MAX 2016 series. It was hosted by Michael Chaize from the MAX Live streaming booth on the Community Pavilion show floor.

Check out the recording below!

Thanks to Michael and Tricia for getting this together – it was a blast!

Flash Player and AIR – Updated Stats!!!

During the MAX sessions given by Animate CC product manager Ajay Shukla (recording here) gave an update on the Adobe Runtimes, Flash Player and AIR.

Clearly stating that Adobe is committed to these platforms – he also reinforced that the platform is doing “very well” despite historical difficulties. In fact, AIR application installs and unique mobile apps built with AIR have more than DOUBLED since MAX 2015.


Very well, indeed!

Adobe MAX 2016 in San Diego

Another Adobe MAX will soon be upon us and I am thrilled with what is coming up in the next few days! I’m writing this account of major event activities the day before my departure so everything is pretty well set in stone at this point.

Also – Happy Hallowe’en ;)

Having MAX in a city other than Los Angeles is very welcome. I’ve never visited San Diego before but am very much looking forward to spending a few days in what I’ve heard is a lovely city.

Adobe Animate CC: Introduction to Animation and Interactivity

Completely sold out for months now – I’m giving a 90 minute lab each day of the conference on Adobe Animate CC. It’s an introduction to some of the basic things people need to do when approaching Animate CC and we may even get into some upcoming features! (Just kidding. We will totally get into new features)

Adobe Animate CC is going to have a huge presence at MAX this year… so if you weren’t able to get into any of my labs – there are many other sessions, labs, and workshops to check out during the conference.

Adobe Animate CC is a professional tool used to create a diverse variety of project types including rich animations, compelling interactives, award-winning games, popular mobile apps, and more. Learn how to get started creating your own engaging animated and interactive content across multiple platforms using Animate CC in this lab.

Joseph Labrecque, interactive content designer and developer, will guide you through the following topics:

  • Capabilities of Animate CC to create a multitude of project types targeting a variety of platforms
  • Latest new features in Animate CC that you can use to really push the creative envelope
  • Time-tested tips and techniques that let you work fast and produce compelling content for your projects

Just as with last year, after the conference has ended, I will publish the (80+ page!) workbook for others to benefit from.

MAX Live Streams

There will be a live stream of the MAX keynotes and also a number of special guests during the conference that can be accessed over at

On Wednesday the 2nd from 6:00pm – 7:30pm, myself and a group of other experts will be demonstrating tips and techniques (and maybe even new features) live from the floor. I’ll be talking up some of the great things about the SWF file format. Really!

Read more details about the full live stream schedule in this post!

Adobe Community

On November the 1st from 5:00-6:30 Pacific will be a live stream of some great tips and tricks from a set of Adobe Community Professionals during the Community Summit.


Just go to the above address and log in as a guest to attend.

Adobe Education

There is also an event being put on by the Adobe Education team Tuesday morning. This half-day event is a special opportunity for educators to hear from great speakers on topics impacting education such as: virtual and 3D reality, the creative canvas, and preparing students for the creative economy.

If you’re an educator in San Diego on Tuesday morning, check it out!

See you there!

I look forward to seeing a bunch of people from both the Adobe Community Professional and Adobe Education Leader communities during MAX this year! I know a ton of fellow authors from / LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, Peachpit, and more will be on site as well. It will be wonderful to reconnect.

Also – if you see me around during the conference please do say hi. I love meeting people from the wider community as well!


Adobe MAX 2015 – Flash Professional Resources

Giving Flash Professional Another Look (via @clockmaker_bot)

Had a really productive MAX this year with one session and a lab given twice – meaning that I presented across all three days of the conference. I was positive going into MAX about where Adobe is taking the application… but after talking with attendees and discussing the product with Adobe employees and community members I am absolutely convinced that the next year will be AMAZING for Flash Professional no matter what platforms you are targeting today.


The main drive of this post though, is to bring a bunch of resources together regarding my speaking experience at MAX this year, and around Flash Professional in general. So without further ado…

Slides for Giving Flash Professional Another Look:

You can also view the full recording of my session, Giving Flash Professional Another Look!

As promised to all of my lab attendees… the full, color PDF of the lab workbook: Unleashing the Creative Power of Flash Professional CC!

max15workbookI want to thank you all so much – my Tuesday lab was a full session and the Wednesday lab was great fun. Thanks to all those who attended these labs!

All Adobe MAX 2015 Flash Professional Recordings:

[the 4 lab sessions, including Unleashing the Creative Power of Flash Professional CC, were not recorded, as is MAX standard practice.]

Speaking at Adobe MAX 2015

Adobe MAX October 3-7, 2015, Los Angeles, CA

Adobe has announced the initial set of speakers for MAX 2015 and I am happily involved with both a session and a lab! While I have spoken at a number of past MAX sessions, I have never done a lab before – so this is something I am very excited about.

So what are my sessions about? ADOBE FLASH PROFESSIONAL CC is what!


Last year I took a break from MAX… having been present at every MAX since 2008, I was okay with this. This year I return refreshed and energized – I’m pumped on Flash! The amount of enhancements in creative tooling and extended platform support in Flash Professional really has me positive around the tool and associated platforms. I have been saying this since late last year and 2015 continues to be a great year for Flash!

Have a look at all the MAX sessions for 2015… be sure to register for mine… and by all means – say hello :)


S4556 – Giving Flash Professional Another Look
Joseph Labrecque – Senior Interactive Software Engineer, University of Denver

See how Flash Professional CC lets you create assets and animations for virtually any use case, device, browser or platform. Too often, users confuse the Flash Professional application with the Flash runtimes and believe they can target only certain browsers and devices with their content. Not so! Adobe has been enhancing the creative toolset within Flash Professional while building support for custom platforms. Get current with the modern, creative capabilities of this amazing tool.

This session will explore:

  • An overview of the latest features
  • Hidden techniques for creating assets and animations
  • How to easily apply your creativity across any screen

L4555 – Unleashing the Creative Power of Flash Professional CC
Joseph Labrecque – Senior Interactive Software Engineer, University of Denver

Need to get up to speed on the tooling in Flash Professional CC for your client and creative work? Maybe you need to target the web, iOS and Android devices, HD video and print. Great news: Flash Professional CC has been enhanced to expand upon the traditional Flash runtime targets and reach the native web through HTML5 Canvas and WebGL (and more) to help all types of use cases for desktop, mobile and beyond.

During this lab, you’ll learn:

  • The new creative Flash Professional CC tooling
  • How that tooling fits in the workflow industry professionals have come to rely upon when creating assets and animation for television, games, the web and more
  • How to generate assets in Flash Professional and reuse them across a variety of creative projects and platforms

Adobe MAX 2013: Miscellaneous Schizophrenia

I’m back from an interesting five days of Adobe MAX in Los Angeles and have a few thoughts I’d like to share. A quick reminder: this is the first MAX since the disastrous events of November 9th, 2011 occurred. It was definitely a different experience this year… but many elements of the conference were quite familiar as well. Overall, it was a great event and I’m happy to have been a part of it. I’ll try and break things down in the way with which I’ve categorized them in my mind the past few days.


The Unfamiliar

Adobe MAX is now branded as “The Creativity Conference”. As such – Adobe has gone way out of the way to make that known. The entire second day keynote, normally set aside do do product deep dives, was reduced to hours of people getting up on stage and talking about themselves… I’m not going to sugar-coat my reaction here… it was boring, uninspiring, and in the case of one segment- felt as though I was being lectured at by one of those horrid TED speakers.

It wasn’t all bad though. The image composition artist, Erik Johansson, demonstrating his Photoshop compositions was immensely interesting and exploring the work of film-maker, Rob Legato, was also intriguing (though I am unfamiliar with his works). In the end though… I want to see more of what ADOBE is doing to enable creativity, to push the web forward, to make all of this possible. Individualized outpourings of self-exaltation is better suited to some other venue… not the Adobe MAX stage.


The constant Behance hammering is something else that was completely unnecessary for me. Even as someone in a predominantly developer role… I know what Behance is – I understand it and even think it’s interesting. If I understand the purpose and function of a service like Behance – I would wager that most of the designers in the audience were on-board as well. We didn’t need a 30 minute lecture about how great it is on top of everything else.

With that said though… seeing material being displayed from Behance on the huge presentation surface was quite a sight! I really did enjoy seeing the work that was on display. THIS was much more inspiring than what I saw in the Day 2 general session. I loved it and absolutely welcome more of this.

Here are some pretty dead ladies:

The Familiar

Despite the focus on creatives (and for the record: developers ARE immensely creative people) – there was a lot of familiarity at MAX this year. Most all of the sessions I attended had to do with either Flash tooling, Flash platform technologies, or other developer-centric content! There was definitely a lot of it and the sessions and labs I attended were PACKED. The community was present, as always, though some people who would normally be at MAX were not and were definitely missed!

The big community boards are still there to draw your logo on – here is FVM!

The Day 1 keynote was an expected array of news and changes from Adobe. The biggest news is that the “Creative Suite” brand is being retired since everything is now handled via Creative Cloud – imparting a new “CC” branding to the products: Photoshop CC, Flash Professional CC, Edge Animate CC, et cetera. I’ve been using everything through Creative Cloud for a year now and absolutely love it. In an unexpected turn, Adobe is looking into the feasibility of producing creative hardware such as a cloud-enabled stylus and slide rule. An interesting and totally unexpected development!

Sneaks was weird this year. In place of the MAX Awards – was the host coming out and doing a 30 minute promotion for his personal brand. Much like a lot of the Day 2 keynote… this rubbed me wrong.

The Sneaks themselves were pretty awesome though! A lot of neat stuff with Photoshop, Audition, Edge tools, “Adobe Magic APIs”, and more… too bad the aforementioned host and co-host (why was she even there?!?) completely ruined a bunch of the demos by being entirely rude and eating into the engineer’s time. Again – this big ego problem is rampant across these sessions and is a real pity. Ben Forta did his best to reel those two in and provide time for the demos but they were totally out of control. Real pity.


The MAX Bash is still wild and amazing. We also had a really splendid Community Summit this year. I absolutely adored having AELs alongside ACPs and UGMs! Good call, community team! Honestly, the community is what makes events like MAX worthwhile. You can view the sessions after the fact since Adobe makes them all available a few days afterwards (I still love this aspect of MAX) – but the community events and personal interactions are entirely irreplaceable!

Some Little “Extras”

A lot of press has been given to Adobe’s foray into hardware with the “Mighty” and “Napoleon” projects. I was one of the lucky few to get some hands-on experience with the devices during an event Monday evening. These are, again, the times which make going out to MAX so worthwhile.

Fellow AEL Jynse Cremers was kind enough to demonstrate for this photo:

Having always had some trouble in forming straight lines on my tablet in drawing applications like Photoshop Touch or Ideas… I really enjoyed seeing both of these projects revealed during the Day 1 keynote. I’m happy to say that using them in person is just as simple, direct, and tactile as was presented during that general session. They are an amazingly familiar set of devices and I do hope that they move on from project status into a full, retail project. Just too cool. And so very useful!

The Adobe Flash Platform

WHAT ABOUT FLASH?!? Right? Well, while everything Flash was quite subdued during the keynotes and Sneaks… there were actually a whole slew of sessions and labs based around this most controversial of Adobe technologies.


Some things to keep in mind: at the current time, Adobe is focusing upon it’s Creative Cloud technologies, developments in creative applications, and contributions in tooling and standards in the realm of general web stack technologies. Even as a traditional “Flash guy” – I get it. It makes sense to do so given the capabilities we now have with the standard web stack and the absolute hammering Adobe continues to receive around their Flash-based efforts.

I remember during MAX 2011 that Tom Green and I were in the Westin bar having a pre-conference beverage or two – he said something that struck me and I feel it’s important to share this thought here. Seeing how Flash (as a platform) is quite mature in all its capabilities… “where else is there for it to go?” …where, indeed?

Honestly, just about anything you envision today can be accomplished by targeting Flash Player or AIR – when a platform reaches that sort of maturity level, excitement around it has to plateau. There is effectively no where else for it to go. That is, I believe, one of the reasons for Adobe to remove resources and public focus from the platform to apply these resources to other areas in which they can be put to the most good and are most desperately needed: the general web platform.

Does this mean that Flash Player and AIR are dying technologies? Not at all. It means that they exist in a mature state and that Adobe will continue to support them through enhancements and updates which continue to stabilize and augment an already-mature set of technologies while putting their best foot forward in working to drastically push forward in the general web stack.

A perfect example of this is the new Flash Professional CC. The tool has been rewritten from the ground up to be the premiere rich content creation for a variety of target platforms; Flash Player and AIR, but also video workflows, and HTML5 Canvas via CreateJS. Flash Professional CC is on the way to realizing the vision of becoming the premiere rich interactive content authoring tool!


Interestingly enough (despite Flash being *ahem* “dead”) – there were all sorts of Flash platform sessions and labs around gaming, animation, Flash Professional CC, and so on at Adobe MAX this year. The ones I attended were totally sold out. You would never know any of this occurred looking in from the outside! Lots of the sessions that did focus on Flash took a light-hearted approach toward the state of things. Just look at this, for one example: Adobe Flash Recap.

Also announced during Adobe MAX 2013 were Flash Player 11.8 and AIR 3.8 beta, the Away3D 4.1.1 beta, Away Builder 0.9.0 alpha, and the Adobe Gaming SDK 1.1 – which now includes DragonBones and OUYA controller support! That’s a lot of Flash goodness right there!

Additionally, it was revealed that all three major components of the Gaming SDK; Starling, Feathers, and Away3D – are all exploring canvas/WebGL support via TypeScript. That is pretty awesome because it means we have even greater choice when developing content using these technologies. TypeScript looks to be really nice language when dealing with web stack technologies until ES6 is finalized and implemented by browsers.

Remember: this was the core of the Apple vs. Adobe argument from a few years back… the freedom and choice to use whichever technologies we wanted. Great progress, all!

A Word on Flash Player “Next”

Sadly, all of the efforts over the past year or two to “ensure that the platform stays viable over the next decade” are stillborn. Adobe has abandoned Flash Player “Next” and ActionScript “Next” in favor of contributions to general web technologies.

When I first signed up and registered for a number of sessions – there were sessions on everything to do with this great work; runtimes roadmaps, AS4, Flash Builder 5, et cetera. This was all pulled, of course… leaving Flash developers again with nothing but dust… further decimating a once strong core community.

I want to be very clear about this: I am all for Adobe working to improve web standards through tooling, VM, and W3C contributions. ABSOLUTELY! But it is a DAMN shame that they feel the need to sacrifice their own platform in order to do this. I share in the general sense of frustration and anger around this – there is just no way around it.

A recap of very valid community concerns around Adobe and Flash can be found here: Where is Adobe going with flash – “After-Max” conclusions. I recommend reading it.

My Session(s)

I contributed to Adobe MAX 2013 with two sessions of my own. One was a normal 60-minute session on Edge Animate, and the second was a short community presentation revolving around a PhoneGap application I maintain. Thanks to everyone who showed up to hear me talk about these things – a full house in all regards (thank you!).


Using Edge Animate to Create a Reusable Component Set

This session will examine the Adobe Edge Animate Symbol structure and demonstrate a number of ways to achieve functional results similar to ActionScript using jQuery and JavaScript APIs. Learn these valuable techniques from Joseph Labrecque, senior interactive software engineer at the University of Denver.
Read the full post here…

Edge Code, PhoneGap Build, and lots of Absinthe!

We’ll be having at look at the Absinthe Dilution Faerie mobile app and how it was created with Adobe Creative Cloud tooling and services. You might even learn a thing of two about Absinthe…
Read the full post here…



All in all – despite my bitching, above – it was a great MAX and I am sure that 2014 (in Chicago) will be even better. If Adobe can balance things out a bit to be more inclusive of developers as creatives this next round [and weed out the design-ego]… we’ll have a real winner!

You may have noticed I didn’t devote much of this write-up to the fact that Creative Suite is no more… yes, the Adobe Creative Cloud is the only way for someone to access all of the applications and services going forward. I am 100% behind Adobe on this call.

This is a new model – an entirely new way of thinking about the distribution of software and services. The amount of versatility, flexibility, and creativity it enables goes far beyond what may be initially visible – and the implications of such a shift will only become more apparent as time goes on. I have no problem criticizing Adobe when I believe they are in the wrong. I think this is the right move for continued, accelerated innovation in digital and creative media.

People can either get angry and become frustrated, or embrace these changes for all of the good things they bring today and promise for the future. As for myself – I’ll see you in the future :)