Adobe Flash Animation

Today’s’ article covers a few key points to remember when working on Flash animations. There are obviously many factors to take into consideration when working in Flash. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. By following some simple guidelines however, you will find that the process can be made much simpler. No matter if you are working on a small project or on a much larger scale; consistency in workflow is a key.

Let us take a look at some key elements improving your workflow and the overall end results they achieve. One of the largest problems in Flash development can be related to bulky file sizes. This can be caused by many things, yet we will discuss the use of symbols. Symbols can be composed of many parts, so the opportunity to build them incorrectly arises very often. You must ensure that the graphics and other elements you use when creating your symbols are appropriate for that specific use. So what exactly are the appropriate ways to create symbols you ask?

First of all you should be ensuring that the graphics used are either vector for scaling or bitmap for space saving. You must also beware of multiple symbols that perform the same duties. This is why there is power in the use of instances; you can reuse multiple copies of the same symbol by utilizing different instance names. For example, you can build many different things within Flash in space saving ways…if you know how.

Let’s say you create an animation on your timeline. You can then convert those layers of animation into a Movie Clip. Now you can place an instance of this Movie Clip on the main timeline, thus only requiring one frame to contain a Movie Clip symbol. Now if you need a button to activate this Movie Clip to play, you can simply use a rollover actionscript that would initiate the clip to play at a selected frame. This would allow you to have a functional button based off of your Movie Clip without even creating a button; how’s that for space saving! You can of course create animated buttons by using separate or multiple copies of a Movie Clip, or Graphic instance nested inside each other.

Remember also that at any time you wish to change any of the elements on your timeline, you simply use the Scene panel for navigation. This will allow you to easily inspect the nesting structure of your symbols. When you double click a Movie Clip, Button, or Graphic symbol you are entering into its timeline to edit it. To exit out you simply click on the name of an element in the Scene panel dialogue to backtrack to the root of that elements’ timeline.

So far we’ve quickly called out a few workflow and creation key points:

  • The basic ways to save space by using correct graphic formats and utilizing symbols as instances.
  • How to utilize a Movie Clip that takes only one frame on your main timeline.
  • The ability to use that same Movie Clip as a button by use of action script.
  • What steps to take to view symbols when nested, as well as edit them.

Now we will look at an example of a complex Flash animation shown below in Figure 1. There is a lot going on in the animation in terms of complex mechanics. There are many repeated elements, animated graphic symbols, movie clip symbols, file sizes optimized, assorted, reusable animations, and so on.)

Fig. 1

Image

The above element consists of multiple Movie Symbols nested within Movie Symbols to create various effects. In essence, a slideshow, scroller, rollover animations, tweened animation, links and multiple text effects are all controlled with proper use of Movie Clips and instances. Bitmap graphics were utilized as necessary to save file sizes. Minimal frames were added to the main timeline to prevent clutter and maintain organization.

In conclusion, it is true there are many factors to take into consideration for Flash animation. The ways in which we create these complex projects plays an integral part however. The proper use of symbols and their instances are a key to creating effective complex Flash. By minimizing clutter and file sizes you enhance load times, appearance, function and overall…enjoyment.

Until next time, peace. -RJR-

Publishing in Flash: Simplicity, Size and Graphic Formats

Adobe Flash W.I.P.
“Water Temple” Adobe Flash

Hello again everyone, this article is just covering a few principles on the Adobe Flash platform and publishing methods. This is by no means an in depth review, but provides some pointers.So here we go!

The choices you make when preparing to publish a flash movie can make or break the end product. You can either present the viewer with something enjoyable to interact with, or something appalling.  Successful publishing of flash is dependent on several factors. The major factors being file size, graphic formats, and simplicity. It is the mastery of these factors that ultimately draws the line between amateur and professional.

Before selecting any publishing preferences, you need to know your audience to determine presentation method. Once you can choose your media platform, you are on your way. You must determine what type of quality, aspect ratio, and screen size your media is to be viewed on. Knowing these things early on also allows for more creative freedoms in flash.

The overall concept of simplicity is a key factor as well. To achieve this you must always keep watchful eye on the way you create your flash. Rather than slowing down your performance; you must utilize correct formats, symbol types, and graphics. You can select smaller items in your flash work for conversion to bitmaps. You can also make use of instances to re-use material over and over. These are things that work well for cutting down clutter and simplifying your flash.

Maintaining simplicity in structure and file size utilization is even more important for mobile device publishing. This is when you really need to watch the use of large graphic files, complex tweens, and alpha transparencies as well. In order to reduce the amount of re-drawing on screen, you must take note of these factors. With the new advancements in CS5.5 however, there are great ways to reconfigure and debug your flash for any output as well as mobile.

In conclusion, there are many ways to improve the quality of your publishing with flash. Among the most important are retaining simplicity, and maintaining small file sizes. The best ways to do this will always be to build smart inside of flash. Use the right graphic formats for smaller files; watch out on heavy effect use, transparencies and tweens. If you follow these rules, publishing will be that much more efficient. Until next time..take care & Peace!