A vector graphics animation software program developed by Macromedia (based on an earlier program by Macromedia purchase [=FutureWave=]) and later added to Adobe's series of professional graphic applications under their merger. Initially called Shockwave Flash, it was designed to create smooth line-art animations and interactivity for web-based projects (basically, Illustrator, but with the 4th dimension added). It introduced its own coding language, Actionscript, and has its own standalone player software as well.

The "Shockwave" brand was something of an ArtifactTitle even from the beginning. See, Macromedia had an existing product called "Director" that was more mature and did some of the same things, and they had developed a browser plugin called "Shockwave" to let people view Director movies directly in their browser. After Macromedia bought [=FutureWave=], they positioned Flash as something of a "Director Lite", most likely to protect Director sales. Flash proved popular, however, and eventually they dropped the Shockwave branding.

Since its introduction, Flash has gained more and more features. Due to the shortcuts that it offers that aren't available in normal animation, combined with steady improvement in computer performance and decreasing budgets from cable networks, it's started to branch from animations made for the Web into television and even movie animation (this article mainly covers these titles). [[SturgeonsLaw Not everything made in it is good]], but the standouts tend to be excellent. Also, Flash has been a key component in the rise of [[WebOriginal Web-based TV]], owing to its installed base and features that make playback easy to implement.

Flash has not been without its competitors, or critics.
* From the start Flash has been a CPU and memory hog, but with increase of computer speeds and memory volumes, it's become less of a problem. Still, it's not unknown for browsers to freeze for minutes while processing a poorly written flash game.
* Flash browser plugin is a popular target for viruses, being no better than other common plugins.
* Flash started on x86 Windows and support of other platforms is poor to non-existent.
** It took Adobe years to port it to very similar x86_64 processors.
** Plugins for Linux and Mac OS X habitually lag behind. Adobe was happy to start phasing out old GNU/Linux plugin and offload developing its replacement on Google (as part of Chrome/Chromium browser).
** Despite being the major target for other Adobe software, Apple has a turbulent relationship with Flash due to its rudimentary video performance -- their iPad originally could not play Flash Player videos, and Flash games are nowhere to be found in the games that are available for their hardware.
** In November 2011 Adobe promised to drop mobile Flash in favor of HTML 5. That includes mobile Chrome.
* From the start Flash's been competing with Java in browsers. Flash won thanks to its browser plugin actually being ''less'' resource-hungry and having tools more convenient for novice developers. {{Microsoft}} developing incompatible Java[[note]]which they were forced to rename to J++ after a court decision and later abandoned entirely[[/note]] also helped.
* ToonBoom has been competing against Flash in the entertainment industry for years now, and has actually been used in big-scale feature films. Both programs have developed to the point where it is nearly impossible to determine which show was made with which program just by watching them.
* Silverlight is a direct competitor to Flash on the Web, developed by {{Microsoft}} and based on .NET classes. The technology isn't as mature yet, shares all major problems of Flash (being an unstable resource hog and a security hole, with poor support outside Windows) and is already being phased out.
* HTML 5 adds video capability to the HTML standard and some nifty features specifically added for browser games. Though all new browsers support it (or so they claim), it may not work in older versions people are likely to keep around for the next few years. And again, Flash had better development tools until Adobe Edge appeared (see below).

On a related note, Flash's player is now commonly used by web designers for tasks it wasn't originally intended to perform well, such as banner ads, [[WebVideo bitmapped video]], [[WebGames games]], complex interactive applications and, as of Flash 11, full on 3D rendered games. Its adoption for those uses can be traced to the Microsoft vs. Netscape wars of the late 1990s, which kept equivalent functionality from being standardized in HTML while the two sides duked it out. Now that the browser landscape has improved and most browsers at least try to follow the relevant standards, complex forms and applications using “AJAX” have gained in popularity; this also makes them attractive for use on smartphones, which often don't have the CPU power to run a full-featured Flash plugin.

In November 2011, Adobe announced it will no longer develop Flash software for iOS games past the most current version. In September 2012, Adobe released a software application called Adobe Edge, which is basically Adobe Flash for HTML5, with the aim of making this technology more accessible to designers, artists and people without a technical background. It is predicted to finally spell the end of Adobe Flash, but Adobe hasn't stopped development of Flash and Air, new features are still being added.

Not to be confused with the brick-walled [[ComicBook/TheFlash superhero of the same name.]]

See also WebAnimation and ThicklineAnimation.
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!!Series/Films that used this program:
* ''WesternAnimation/AlmostNakedAnimals''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'': The two-dimensional characters are animated in Flash, the [=3D=] characters are Autodesk Maya, the backgrounds and a few characters are live-action, and everything is put together with Adobe After Effects.
* ''WesternAnimation/AngelsFriends''
* ''WesternAnimtion/{{Archer}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/AtomicBetty''
* The non-Steve/Joe characters in ''WesternAnimation/BluesClues'' (becoming probably the first show to use this), until switching to puppets in 2004.
** In the very early episodes, they were paper.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bobinogs}}'' (Although the first couple of seasons complex animations were done on paper, then scanned and traced into Flash.)
* ''WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers'' (for the 1st season; switched to traditional animation after that)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Brickleberry}}'' (same as the former for the 1st season)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBuzzOnMaggie''
* ''CarlSquared''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheCatInTheHatKnowsALotAboutThat''
* ''{{Chaotic}}'' (season 1 only; ''M'arillian Invasion'' and on used normal animation)
* ''WesternAnimation/ChinaIL''
* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs''
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Has used it on a few occasions, such as the animated serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWho2007TDWASTheInfiniteQuest The Infinite Quest]]'', the reconstruction of the lost episodes of ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS6E3TheInvasion The Invasion]]'', the web serial ''WebAnimation/ScreamOfTheShalka'', and a Flash game.
* ''WesternAnimation/ElTigre''
* Esurance's insurance commercials pre-2010, starring Erin Esurance.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'''s talkshow-style special on {{Fox}}, promoting Ricky Blitt's ill-fated live-action sitcom, ''The Winner''. It is the only instance of ''Family Guy'' done in Flash, in order to save time.
* The animated segments of ''FetchWithRuffRuffman''
* ''WesternAnimation/FishHooks''
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends''
* ''WesternAnimation/FreaknikTheMusical''
* ''The Goddamn George Liquor Program'': A cartoon series by Creator/JohnKricfalusi, notable for being the ''very'' first cartoon series to be made entirely using flash.
* ''WebAnimation/GothamGirls''
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' - [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X1KxUl2Pxo the pilot]] was animated in Flash before switching to a tradigital style (combination of traditional & digital animation methods) for the series.
* ''WebAnimation/GuestFromTheFuture2''
* ''LightNovel/HaiyoreNyarkoSan'' - A rare {{Anime}} example, the ''Nyaruani'' shorts were made with Flash (except for the ending credits), while the subsequent TV series uses traditional animation. They also gleefully lampshade the LimitedAnimation on the title cards.
* ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' was broadcast on G4 for a while.
* ''WesternAnimation/HiHiPuffyAmiYumi''
* ''WesternAnimation/HuntikSecretsAndSeekers'' - The first season was all done in traditional animation. The second season, however, alternated between traditional and flash, with over half of the episodes being in flash.
* ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'' - in combination with Toon Boom Harmony
* Henry and June on ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam!'', one of the earliest shows to use this.
* ''WesternAnimation/KappaMikey''
* ''WesternAnimation/KickButtowski''
* ''WesternAnimation/LilBush''
* ''WesternAnimation/MakingFiends''
* ''WesternAnimation/MarthaSpeaks''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}''. Notable in that it has impressive animation in comparison to [[WesternAnimation/HomeMovies its predecessor,]] [[ArtEvolution especially in its third season]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyB''
* ''WesternAnimation/MotorCity'' From the same animation studio as ''Metalocalypse'' and the creator of ''MegasXLR'', at first look you would swear it is traditional animation.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMrMenShow''
* ''WesternAnimation/MuchaLucha'' (outsourced to Korea, though)
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeMe''
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''. Notable for its high quality, yet hilariously error-filled, nature of the animation. The creator of the show, LaurenFaust, specifically picked an [[Creator/TopDraw animation studio]] that could make the animation look like traditional, and was adept at animating four-legged animals. The movements look surprisingly natural, as opposed to the less natural movement that often plagues flash animated shows.
* ''WesternAnimation/NeighborsFromHell''
* ''Series/OutOfJimmysHead'', and the television movie it was based on: ''Re-Animated''. The cartoon characters were made in Flash in both cases, but the TV show was done by another studio.
* ''Manga/PetitIdolmaster''
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' had several scenes done in this style; its first appearance is in the Yodel-Odel-Obey Me sequence in "Bubble Boys". The rest of the show is mostly animated with the similar ToonBoom[[note]] albeit in [[Creator/SynergyAnimation Chi]][[Creator/HongYing na]], [[Creator/WangFilmProductions Taiwan]] and [[Creator/RoughDraftStudios South Korea]][[/note]].
** Also, its used as the primary animation tool for Phineas and Ferb's one-minute talk show they host with celebrities on the Creator/DisneyChannel.
* ''WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies2010''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheProblemSolverz''
* ''Animation/{{Pucca}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty''
* ''Ricky Sprocket: Showbiz Boy''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfKells'' - Only about 5-10% of the film was made in Flash, mostly dream sequences or the story of Colmicille. The 18-second animation of the woodland spirit Aisling for the Academy Awards nomination was made in Flash.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretShow''
* ''Shorties Watching Shorties''
* ''Manga/ShugoChara'' - (''Pucchi Puchi'' only)
* ''WesternAnimation/ShurikenSchool''
* ''WesternAnimation/SitaSingsTheBlues''
* ''WesternAnimation/SkunkFu''
* ''WesternAnimation/SlackerCats''
* ''WesternAnimation/SonsOfButcher''
* ''Anime/SpaceDandy'' - Used during the worm fight in episode 1 and for episode 16. Not that many people would notice of course, as it was done in a similar fashion as ''Superjail'' below.
* ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}: The Animated Series'' (and boy, does it ever look it)
* ''WesternAnimation/SpeedRacerTheNextGeneration''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Superjail}}'' - Praised by animation fans as using an extremely early version of the program (Flash MX) to get very fine lines to make the whole thing look like it's animated on paper, with ''literally'' a new drawing every frame! However, season 2 onwards (switching from producers Augenblick Studios to Titmouse, Inc.) use the more recent versions of Flash. The introduction sequences and some special effects are put together in After Effects.
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperNews''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Spliced}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Stoked}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo''
* ''WesternAnimation/ThreeDelivery''
* ''WesternAnimation/TimeWarpTrio''
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland The Total Drama]]'' series
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersRescueBots'' (season 2; season 1 was animated in ToonBoom)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Turbo}}'' F.A.S.T.
* ''WesternAnimation/UglyAmericans''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Unsupervised}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' - The pilot was done in Flash. The rest of the show is not.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' - Notable for certain episodes that are ludicrously well-animated, even as the quality of animation [[ArtEvolution continues to improve]].
* ''WebAnimation/WeekendPussyHunt'': Another early Flash cartoon made by Creator/JohnKricfalusi.
* ''Where Ma' Dogs At''
* ''Series/{{Wilbur}}'' - The main program features puppets, but Flash is used for the book-reading segments.
* ''WesternAnimation/WildAnimalBabyExplorers'' - the main program is high-definition "3-D" CGI (with nature footage presented as live-action), but the characters' {{Imagine Spot}}s are presented in Flash.
* ''WesternAnimation/WildGrinders''
* ''WesternAnimation/WordGirl''
* ''WesternAnimation/WowWowWubbzy''
* ''Yakkity Yak''
* ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo''

!! Shows That Switched To Flash

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' - Season 16 switched to this due to being given a new studio. Likely because it's PBS, it was to save money.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Caillou}}'' - Later episodes switched to Flash competitor ''Toon Boom'' due to being sublet out to a new studio.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cyberchase}}'' - Season 6 switched to it.
* ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' - For it's DirectToVideo GrandFinale movie, due to the fact that ''ComedyCentral'' refused to fund it and this was the only option the creators had.
* ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw'' - The first nine episodes were traditionally animated, until they promptly moved to Flash to have more fluidity and to save production time.
* ''WesternAnimation/HomeMovies'' - Season one was done in Squigglevision (a style where the outlines on the characters were constantly moving) but it limited movement on the characters. Thus when the show moved to ''AdultSwim'', they switched to this to avoid this problem.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'' - Season two and beyond were made in Flash due to moving to a new studio (the former CookieJar) after Warner Bros shut down their animation department.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' used it for the final episode, ''The Powerpuff Girls Rule!'', which was also a 10th anniversary special. Mostly a decision by the [[Creator/CraigMcCracken series creator]] since he had switched to flash by that point for his animations. This episode was noticeably different from the entire rest of the series, partly because of the animation, and partly because of the [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment fast-paced, random gags.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wayside}}'' - like ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'', the later episodes were made in Flash.
* ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' - Started at Season 5 and been using it since in conjunction with its CGI animated segments (A rather odd contrast really).

!!Webcomics drawn in Flash:
* ''Webcomic/CatNine'' is all drawn in Flash.
* ''Webcomic/AwkwardZombie''
* ''[[http://as.crowdedstreet.net/Something/ Burning Stickman Presents...Something!]]'' was a SpriteComic made in Flash, with animated comics occasionally, typically on 100 comic milestones.
* Most of the ''Dumm Comics''
* ''Webcomic/GastroPhobia''
* ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation''
* ''Webcomic/{{Knite}}''
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', which releases Flash animations every 50 comics or so. (Originally the writer planned for every panel to be a Flash comic, but it was deemed to be too time consuming.)
* ''Webcomic/VGCats'' used Flash to smooth its line art earlier in its run.
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'' occasionally incorporated Flash segments.
* ''Webcomic/{{Newheimburg}}'' has made the transition from hand-drawn to fully Flash-based drawing recently.
* ''Webcomic/{{Morphe}}'' is presented as a Visual Novel with interactive elements and is programmed in Flash. The artwork is drawn in Sai and edited in Photoshop.
* ''Webcomic/{{Prequel}}'' has several flash animations and minigames.
* ''Webcomic/SacredPie'': Some pages are flash animation; some chapters are ''entirely'' flash animation. Usually they are action-packed, with little to no dialogs. However, flash pages only amount to several percent of the comic.

!!Web Series made in Flash:
* ''Arj and Poopy'', by former Disney Australia animator Bernard Derriman
* ''AngryBirds'': Initially when it started its toon series. It then switched over to traditional animation though occasionally goes back to this for a few episodes.
* ''Bitey of Brackenwood'', by former Disney effects animator Adam Phillips.
* ''WebAnimation/{{Blamimation}}''
* ''BrainPOP'' (The first season of the show was done with cut-out animation, however)
* ''WebAnimation/BrokenSaints''
* ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness''
* ''{{Eddsworld}}''
* ''Videogame/FernGameSeries''
* ''WebAnimation/GothamGirls''
* ''Happy Harry'', by HarryPartridge.
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''
* ''LeoAndSatan''
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' web series exclusively on the Warner Bros. website during the Nineties. They're now buried in its archives.
* ''WebAnimation/TheMaskedGirl''
* ''MindMyGap''
* Many shows by the studio ''Mondo Media''
* ''Thomas Timberwolf'', Creator/ChuckJones' last animated project ever.
* ''WeeblAndBob'' and the other series on their site
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