Flash has always been a compromise when it comes to 3D. Importing three-dimensional objects was always a matter of faking it with image sequences rendered from 3D programs. But with the arrival of Papervision3D that's all changed - real-time 3D in Flash CS3 is finally possible to achieve.
Papervision's workflow is pretty straightforward. You start by creating a low poly-count model in 3ds Max, Maya or Blender. You then use the Collada plug-in to create a file that contains information on your 3D model's set-up, textures and animation. Finally, you can use the Papervision component to import your 3D model into Flash CS3.
In the first part of this tutorial I'll introduce you to the basics of the Papervision component and how to set up and manipulate a basic model. In the second part, next issue, I'll show you how to use your new-found skills to create a textured 3D scene and bring it into Flash, as well as how to add interaction using ActionScript.