Flash 4 Bible / Edition 1

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100% of what you need to learn Macromedia Flash - the world's standard for vector-based web graphics and animation.
  • Discover the only Flash book with complete coverage - introductory-advanced.
  • Expert tutorials" from guest authors throughout the book that dive into advanced uses of Flash.
  • Unleash the full potential of Flash with intermediate and advanced techniques.
  • Learn how to stream animations and create animated logos. Create pop-up menus and rollover buttons with ease.
  • Explore Flash drawing tools, animation controls, and file format support. Learn how to use Flash with Dreamweaver, Photoshop, FreeHand, Illustrator, Painter, Fireworks, Adobe Dimensions and Kinetix 3D Studio Max.
  • Discover cool techniques like in-betweening and onion-skinning.
  • Learn Javascript Interactivity with Flash movies.
  • Learn to use Flash with Generator for on-the-fly, dynamic Web graphics.
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What People Are Saying

Robert Reinhardt
From the Author:

The most comprehensive and exhaustive Flash 4 reference. About a year ago, when we started this project, we went to the bookstores looking for anything on Flash. Back then, Flash books weren't readily available. So we went online and ordered both books that were in print at the time. To our dismay, we found that neither of them afforded much of an alternative to the manual that ships with the program. We wrote this book because we couldn't find a book that does the program justice. We were encouraged to write it because so many Flash users informed us that they were 'desperate' to have this book. We believe that we have remedied the problem. We're confident that the Flash 4 Bible is the most comprehensive and exhaustive reference on Flash, as you'll see when you peruse the sample Table of Contents at the end of this statement.

This is a user-friendly, in-depth book that will serve both the web novice and the accomplished web master. The Flash 4 Bible will help you to get started on your first day with the program and will still be a valuable resource when you've attained mastery of the program. When you are looking for clues on how to integrate Flash with other programs so that you can deliver unique and compelling content in the Flash format, you'll know where to turn.

Flash isn't a simple program anymore. You can think of Flash as a multi-tasking application: it's an illustration program, an image and sound editor, an animation machine, and a scripting engine...all rolled into one. In the Flash 4 Bible, we dissect these components of Flash and explain how each component of the program works with the others.

But the Flash 4 Bible offers you somuch more than a documentation of the features of the program. It also delves into the many ways that Flash can be used in concert with other programs to create high-quality multimedia-everything from 3D animations to complex interactivity between Flash and Director movies. Since Flash is rarely used as the complete content creator for interactive presentations, we thought readers would be interested in how Flash fits into a workflow for interactive multimedia development. Furthermore, in the transition between versions 3 and 4, Flash has gone through some major changes. With the release of Flash 4, the feature set of Flash movies has been greatly expanded. Once the domain of Flash's dynamic server component, Generator, Flash movies can now communicate directly with server-side scripts and programs. Sounds can be encoded as MP3 audio, for high-quality music on the web at the smallest file sizes. Finally, the Flash interface looks and feels like other Macromedia products, with more tool options and docking windows. Third-party developers are creating applications that output to the Flash movie format, .SWF files. Flash is poised to be THE central application for generating hot, low-bandwidth, interactive content for delivery over the web. So, even if you already know Flash, we're pretty sure that this book will show you more that a thing or two about Flash and it's linkage to a broad array of other applications.

We've gone to great lengths to ensure that our lessons, examples, and explanations are based in reality (not that the web is real!). To accomplish this, we invited some of the top names in the Flash industry to lend us their tips and techniques so that you could benefit from their years of expertise. To ensure that the Flash Bible would be as technically accurate as possible, we enlisted the aid of Paul Mendigochea, Chrissy Rey , Colin Moock, Bill Turner, Justin Jamieson, and many others. Not only did these individuals double-check our work, but they also contributed tutorials to the book.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764533563
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/15/2000
  • Series: Bible Series , #237
  • Edition description: BK&CD ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 648
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Reinhardt (Los Angeles, California) has developed multimedia courses for educational facilities in Canada and the United States, delivered conference seminars on web design, and also served as technical editor for several Photoshop and web books. Robert is Senior Art Director & Program Developer for the award- winning Flash site, Rampt.com. Recently, he created installation and digital art for the Warner Bros. feature film Gossip.

Jon Warren Lentz (Carlsbad, California) is a freelance artist and author. He was the lead co-author of Deconstructing Web Graphics 2. Jon is a regular columnist and reviewer for EFX Art & Design (formerly, Mac Art & Design) Magazine. Jon's images have been featured in the 1997 Graphis Poster Annual, and are available from two European stock photo agencies: AGE Fotostock and Superbild. He's also an adjunct professor at Palomar College, where he teaches Flash, Photoshop and web design.

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Read an Excerpt

Simplify artwork

While Flash can do some pretty amazing things with vector shapes and animation, you don't want to overdo it-at least not if you want 28.8-modem users to see your work without too much waiting. Keep the following tips in mind while creating your Flash artwork or reviewing your final production:

  • Use tweens for animations wherever possible. If you need complicated paths for objects to follow, use a motion guide layer instead of using a series of keyframes: The fewer keyframes, the better.
  • Custom line types (such as dashed, dotted, ragged, and so on) take up more file space than regular solid lines. Strokes created with the Brush tool also use more memory than lines created with the Pencil tool.
  • Reduce the number of points and/or lines used to create a shape. In Flash, you can use the Modify - Curves - Optimize command, which will join line segments in an object. Note that you need to ungroup any grouped lines to use this command. The Use Multiple Passes option will optimize the selection to the fullest extent possible.
  • Group shapes and objects where applicable. Grouping objects enables Flash to refer to one item instead of many individual ones.
  • Gradients are more complex than a solid fill for a computer processor to handle. Try to minimize the number of simultaneous gradients shown in any given frame. Gradients add about 50 more bytes to an SWF's file size than a solid color does.
  • Don't use many different fonts (typefaces) or font styles (such as Oblique, Bold, Condensed, and so on) in your Flash movies. Most elegant designs use complementary typefaces that occur in the same typeface family, or use a balanced and restricted number of sans serif and serif fonts. Font characters can require a lot of file space, from 81 bytes to over 191 bytes per character. Generally, more elaborate serif fonts (such as Garamond) will take up more room per character than sans serif fonts (such as Arial). For text fields, make sure you embed only what is necessary from a font for the given field. For example, if a text field needs to use only lowercase characters of a font for a login or name field, then specify this in the Text Field Properties dialog box for that text field. Ultimately, use device fonts (sans, serif, and typewriter) whenever possible, as they do not need their outlines stored in the SWF file.
  • Keep bitmap or raster images to a minimum. Flash's strength is its vectorbased technology. Animated bitmap sequences inflate your Shockwave Flash file sizes. Unless the content you are creating needs to be photo-realistic (as in a photographer's portfolio), don't use 24-bit color bitmaps.
Use symbols Anything in Flash can be turned into a symbol. When the Flash movie is exported as a SWF file, the symbol's contents are stored on the first frame that uses that symbol. Symbol instances are similar to "A HREF" tags in HTML: they link data to a given frame, rather than copying or storing it there. Once a symbol's contents are downloaded to the Flash player, it is easily available for any subsequent re-use in the Flash movie. After you've completed a Flash movie, you want to review your Flash production and perform the following optimizations:
  • If any element is used in more than one keyframe or scene, consider making a symbol out of it. Just about every professional Flash designer uses nested symbols: An element is drawn, made a symbol, and then used in another symbol such as a button or movie clip. Just like groups, symbol instances reduce the resource overhead in SWF files. Unlike groups, symbols need only refer to the original resource in the SWF file rather than storing a new resource for every occurrence of it. You can, however, make a grouped shape or object into a symbol.
  • If you want to use the same shape in a variety of colors, make that shape a symbol and, for each instance of the symbol, use the Color Effects tab of the Instance Properties dialog box to change the color.
  • The contents of a symbol are downloaded when the Flash Player encounters the first frame that uses the symbol. Given this, preload any graphics or sound intensive symbol by placing it near the front end of the first scene of the movie. Simply create a symbol instance of the symbol in the first few frames and set its visibility (via Alpha) to 0. If you using this method to preload a movie clip, set the instance's behavior to Graphic instead of Movie Clip-that way, the processor isn't trying to play an invisible movie clip in the background.
Manage the Flash Library

Bitmaps and sound files that have been imported into Flash automatically become items stored in the Flash Library. As later sections of this chapter show you, you can specify the sound quality of audio events and streams in the Export Movie or Publish Settings dialog boxes. However, these settings control the audio quality for the entire movie unless a specific encoding scheme is specified to individual sound clips in the Flash Library. Use the Library to assign specific compression methods to all imported media. For audio, Flash 4's new MP3 encoding provides the best compression to quality ratio available. Specify MP3 compression on as many sounds in the Flash Library as possible...

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
Part I Mastering Flash Tools 1
Chapter 1 Defining the Flash Toolbar 3
Flash Tool Basics 3
The Flash Drawing Toolbar (a.k.a. The Toolbar) 7
Flash Selection Tools 11
The Arrow Tool 11
The Lasso Tool 17
The Flash Drawing and Painting Tools 19
The Pencil Tool 21
New Pencil Tool Functionality 28
The Line Tool 29
The Oval Tool 29
The Rectangle Tool 30
Using the (Paint) Brush Tool 31
The Dropper Tool 36
The Ink Bottle Tool 37
The Paint Bucket Tool 40
The Eraser Tool 44
The Text Tool 46
Chapter 2 Flash Color 55
Web Safe Color Issues 56
Hex Defined 56
ColorSafe and Other Solutions 57
Toolbar Color 61
Using the Flash Color Window 63
Chapter 3 Defining the Flash Framework 73
What's Flash Capable Of? 73
What Can a Flash Movie Be? 76
Components of the Flash Environment 77
Contrast: Flash Movie File versus a Shockwave File 79
Chapter 4 Menus, Palettes, Settings, and Preferences 81
Fundamental Flash Palettes 81
From the Menu Bar 92
The Edit Menu 99
The View Menu 101
The Insert Menu 103
The Modify Menu 104
The Control Menu 108
The Libraries Menu 110
The Window Menu 110
The Help Menu 112
Chapter 5 Getting Flash Help 113
Flash Help Topics 115
Online 117
Digging into Other Online Resources 120
Part II Creating Flash Graphics 129
Chapter 6 Drawing in Flash 131
Simple Shapes and Objects 131
Stacking Order 139
Grouping 140
Scale, Rotate, Skew, and Flip 141
The Inspectors 142
Stroke and Fill Effects 144
Creating Type and Text Effects 151
Chapter 7 Using Media with Flash Artwork 157
Vector versus Bitmap Images 157
Importing External Media 158
Chapter 8 Animating with Flash 167
Frame-by-Frame Animation 167
Tweening 169
Editing Animation 174
Guide Layers 177
Chapter 9 The Flash Library: Symbols and Instances 181
Symbol Types 181
Adding Symbols to Movies 187
Editing Symbols 188
Modifying Instance Properties 189
Part III Sound Planning 193
Chapter 10 Understanding Sound for Flash 195
Basics of Sampling and Quality 195
Sound File Import Formats 200
Sound Export Formats Used by Flash 200
Chapter 11 Controlling Sounds in Flash 203
Importing Sounds into Flash 203
Assigning a Sound to a Button 204
Synchronizing Audio with Animations 206
Incorporating Sound in the Timeline 207
Editing Audio in Flash 208
Chapter 12 Optimizing Flash Sound for Export 213
Sound Optimization Overview 213
Publish Settings for Audio 213
Fine-Tuning Sound Settings in the Library 217
Publish Settings for QuickTime 219
Part IV Flash Interactivity: Making Things Happen 221
Chapter 13 Understanding Basic Interactivity: Actions and Event Handlers 223
Actions and Event Handlers 223
Your First Six Actions 225
Making Actions Happen with Event Handlers 230
Chapter 14 Gaining Advanced Control Over Your Movies 237
Controlling Movie Clips with Tell Target 237
Drag'n'Drop in Flash 251
Managing Smooth Movie Download and Display 255
Chapter 15 Programming Flash with ActionScript 263
The Basic Context for Programming in Flash 263
The Parts of Its Sum: ActionScript's Components 264
Chapter 16 Revving Up Flash Generator 285
How this Chapter was Written 285
What is Generator? 286
Part V Using Flash with Other Programs 297
Chapter 17 Working with Raster Graphics 299
Preparing Bitmaps for Flash Movies 299
Using Photoshop to Create Images with Alpha Channels 303
Using Live Picture to Create Animations 312
Exporting Raster Images from Flash 319
Chapter 18 Working with Vector Graphics 327
Preparing Vector Graphics for Flash Movies 327
Converting Rasters to Vectors 345
Exporting Vector Graphics from Flash 349
Chapter 19 Working with Audio Applications 353
Preparing Audio for Use in Flash 353
Chapter 20 Working with 3D Graphics 367
Introduction to 3D Modeling 367
Simulating 3D with Flash 373
Using Adobe Dimensions to Create 3D Objects 382
Animating Figures with MetaCreations Poser 385
Exporting Animations from Kinetix 3D Studio Max 393
Chapter 21 Working with QuickTime 399
QuickTime versus Video for Windows 399
QuickTime Support in Flash 401
Importing QuickTime into Flash 402
Combining Flash and QT Movies 404
Using Digital Video in Shockwave Flash Movies 415
Chapter 22 Creating Full-Motion Video with Flash 431
High-Quality Video Output from Flash 431
A Quick Video Primer 432
Adjusting Flash Movies for Video Output 436
Creating Sequences from Flash Movies 441
Creating .AVI Files on the PC 446
Importing Sequences into Video Applications 448
Chapter 23 Creating Broadcast-Quality Cartoons 453
Caution! Large Files Ahead 453
The Storyboard 454
Backgrounds and Scenery 456
Some Cartoon Animation Basics 459
Animator's Keys and Inbetweening 463
Coloring the Art 465
Flash Tweening 467
Lip-Synching 469
Finishing Up 472
Chapter 24 Working with Authoring Applications 473
Integrating SWF Files into Dreamweaver 474
Using SWF Files in Macromedia Director 480
Part VI Distributing Flash Movies 497
Chapter 25 Exporting Shockwave Flash Movies 499
Optimizing Flash Movies 499
Testing Flash Movies 502
Publishing Your Flash Movies 508
Publish Settings 509
Publish Preview and Publish Commands 527
Chapter 26 Structuring Flash Content 529
Writing Markup for Flash Movies 529
Using Flash Movies with JavaScript and DHTML 538
Chapter 27 Using Players and Projectors 547
The Flash Standalone Player and Projector 547
Standalone Limitations and Solutions 553
Using the Flash Player Plug-In for Web Browsers 554
Alternative Flash-Content Players 558
Appendix A Using the CD-ROM 563
Appendix B Author and Contributor Contact Information 565
Index 569
End-User License Agreement 612
CD-ROM Installation Instructions 616
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2000

    It's the Bible.

    As a novice Flash user, this has been the perfect companion to the manual for me. The authors set out to make the book relevant to the widest audience, and with numerous tutorial examples and a whole chapter on 'other web sources', I think they've succeeded. I've purchased a couple of other Flash books while I'm learning, but this is by far the most understandable, and in my opinion the most comprehensive. A hearty Thanks to the authors for this worthwhile undertaking!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2000

    Flash 4 Bible is good, but not great.

    I bought this book without any prior knowledge of Flash. It did help me to grasp some of the basics of tweening and other types of animation from scratch. There are a lot of examples to work with in the book; however, in some of the ways that this book teaches, its leaves the learner stuck with a few 'what if' questions that leave the learner hanging. Don't get me wrong, this book is good. But labeled as a 'Bible' is not an accurate title for this book. It isn't '100% comprehensive' as it says on the book cover. For those wanting to learn advanced techniques required to make dynamic flash sites (such as 100% flash sites), this book won't cover aspects of that in detail. The chapters of tell targets and loading movies is very vague. It gives you an 'expert tutorial' on those concepts, but doesn't really explain the foundations of how tell targets and loading/unloading movies works. For those looking into Flash as beginners, this book is a good start. It will help you get your foot in the door. However, don't expect this book to be a long-term reference manual for more advanced techniques. Flash 4 Bible is good, but not great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2000

    Really 'the Bible', Really!

    The Flash 4 Bible bills it's self as '100% comprehensive, authoritative, what you need'. Well, 100% is a lofty goal, the book is more like 99% comprehensive! Every Flash developer from beginner to advanced will find this book a must have. Have you ever used the manual included with the Flash software and found yourself scratching you're head? Well not with this book, the writing and lessons are clear and concise. As a professional Flash developer this book is permanently on my bookshelf and is my first 'go to' reference. Thank you, Robert Reinhart and Jon Warren Lentz for writing The Flash 4 Bible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    Let there be light with Flash Bible

    I was pleasantly suprised by the expertise put into the Flash Bible. It has taken a tremendous amount of mystery out of Flash. Though I had read the Flash User Guide (a big joke), I forced myself to read the Flash Bible from the very beginning (rather than skip around) and was amazed at how many little things I had missed. The authors' inclusion of various alternate sources makes this a very dedicated and unselfish piece of educational material--a true 'Bible'. I am currently laying the ground works for my own website where I plan to post my movies and resume (yes, I do hope to make some money at this some day). This book helped me a great deal was money well spent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2000

    The Flash 4 Bible, the holiest of the holy.

    The flash bible is by far the most informative, and well written manual in the arena of flash self-help books today (and i should know having read four of them to date). personally i wish i had read this one first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    Flash 4 Bible is the most comprehensive book to date

    Flash 4 Bible is the most complete of all the Flash books in print. It covers everything, and it covers features in more depth than the other books. I have read them all. If your looking for a reference book for Flash. BUY THIS ONE. Its encyclopedic approach gets you the information you need at a glance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2000


    The ULTIMATE REFERENCE to Flash 4 Reviewer: Chriss Hoffman from San Diego, CA USA March 13, 2000 I bought this book and must say I am impressed with the depth of it. I find it much more intuitive than the manual which comes with Flash4. There are not ton's of 'neato' examples but Bibles aren't supposed to have them, what you get is straight forward clear and concise explanations of every one of the numerous Flash tools and actions. Jon and Robert have a winner in this book! For the 'neato' tutorial check out Flash Magic by D.J. Emberton and J.S. Hamlin, but for a complete reference to the power of Flash4 this is the ONLY book to have!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2000

    A Must Have Book For Any Flash User

    Flash Bible is not just a book about Flash 4, but IS the book on Flash 4. Keeping pace with internet industry is tough enough if your a web designer, but if your a writer for software then your job is even tougher. The Great thing about the Flash Bible 4 is that it explains the things quickstart guides and internet help sites leave off (which are usually some important details). For the Beginner, you can walk away after reading the material knowing that you can work Flash 4 the way you want to. For the more advanced user, not only is it a worthy reference material, but you won't find more information on action scripting and advanced ideas anywhere else (including the web). A must have for any user level.

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