Welcome to the world of Flash Catalyst! In the course of this tutorial, beyond creating a four-state Flash button, you've been introduced to the process of dropping artwork into Catalyst (or creating it there), assigning actions, assigning states, and generating Flash objects.
Our four-step button project was relatively simple: We created the button itself using the limited drawing tools in Flash Catalyst, assigned an action (opening a URL), defined the four button states using simple filters to alter the appearance of the button in each state, and embedded the button in a blank Dreamweaver page. But all these steps can be expanded, tripped out, and used as the basis for a complex and attractive interactive button.
As I noted in the beginning of this article, the normal workflow would be to design the button in Illustrator. Why? Because Illustrator does the best job of generating web-compatible vector effects and content. In other articles, I've introduced you to some of these features of Illustrator, such as working with type in the new Perspective Grid introduced in CS5 (see "Working with Type in the Adobe Illustrator CS5 Perspective Grid"). Of course, I go into details on all of these features in Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques. If you're more comfortable working in Photoshop, and the best possible online presentation of your images isn't essential, you can use Photoshop to design button artwork that's adequate for many web pages.
The Flash Catalyst filters I introduced briefly in this article have a range of settings that allow you to tweak the display of each button state in some detail, creating subtle effects when the button is hovered over or clicked.
In addition to going to a URL, other actions are available in Flash Catalyst. Most of those actions involve defining player controls for a video player, and I'll explore those possibilities in another Peachpit.com article.