Sites in "site of the week"

ok, I have been using Flash MX for three weeks, I just started. Got a little book and been playin around with some stuff in the tutorial section. However, I was looking at the sites in the “site of the week” feature and I was blown away. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I came to the realization that I am extremely fascinated with what Flash can do.

My problem is, I dont know where to start. How do these sites get such clean graphics with the shadowing, special FX, etc.? How do the images they use look so clean? WHen you import stuff, it is messy if it is not a vector file…So is all of this done in Flash? Or Adobe Illustrator? Something like those programs!!!

On that note, where can I go to learn these in more depth? Are there courses to take? Online courses? SOmething? It seems like some of the people doing those sites know a lot more than something a book can teach you, I just want to know where I can learn my way around the software and have the computer do the drawing of straight lines for you combined with effects that make it look like it is coming out of your screen.

And lastly, how to integrate it all togethr in flash. Does anyone have any suggestions? Tell me your stories…Thanks!