Learn Flash Tutorials: Delivering Your Final Movie

Flash CS5 book
Although Flash is commonly thought of as a web design and development program, it's also a full-featured multimedia authoring tool. With Flash CS5 Professional, you can publish content for distribution to the Web, CDs, DVDs, and even as full-featured desktop applications.
What you'll learn in this lesson:
  • Publishing to the Web and CD
  • Customizing Publish Settings
  • Creating a standalone, full-screen projector
  • Exporting to video

Using Export Movie in Flash CS5

You can extend your range of output formats by using the Export Movie command. In addition to creating SWF files, Export Movie can export the content of the main Timeline to still images for editing in applications like Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. In addition to the extended options you have for saving in different formats, the main difference between the Export command and the Publish command that you have worked with previously is that the Publish settings are stored in your FLA file when you save your document, while export options are not.

1 In the fl14lessons folder, open the file named fl1403.fla, which is a variation of the animated web site footer you worked with in the first exercise. The main difference is that here the animation takes place on the main Timeline instead of in a nested movie clip. This is a very important distinction when exporting Flash content to other formats, as the majority of the exportable formats lack interactivity and simply display the content of the main Timeline as it appears in Flash.

2 Choose File > Export > Export Movie.

  • Note
    This exercise covers exporting the entire movie from the Timeline. If you would rather export only a single frame, select that frame, and then choose File > Export > Export Image.

3 In the resulting dialog box, choose the fl14lessons folder in the Save As (Mac OS) or Save In (Windows) drop-down menu, if it is not already listed there.

4 Select QuickTime (.mov) in the Save as type drop-down menu. This creates a standalone QuickTime movie that can be played using the free QuickTime player, converted for display on such mobile devices as PSPs and iPods, or imported into video editing or motions graphics programs, such as Adobe Premiere or After Effects. Press Save. The QuickTime Export Settings dialog box appears.

5 Click the Quicktime Settings button in the lower-left corner; here you can fine-tune options for size, audio settings and other file-specific options. Press OK when you are done, to return to the QuickTime Export Settings dialog box.

6 In the QuickTime Export Settings dialog box, press Export to export your final Quicktime file.

  • Note
    Below the Render height field in the QuickTime Export Settings dialog box, you’ll see the Ignore Stage Color checkbox. This generates a QuickTime movie with an alpha channel that you can then import into a video editing or motion graphics program, such as Adobe Premiere or After Effects.

QuickTime Export Settings in Flash

Dial in additional settings in the Quicktime Settings box, or just click Export in the QuickTime Export
Settings dialog box to create your new file.

7 Minimize Flash and navigate to the fl14lessons folder. Double-click on your QuickTime movie to play it, and view the animation you have just exported.

8 Choose File > Save, then File > Close.

An overview of FTP in Flash CS5

FTP is an acronym for the phrase File Transfer Protocol. These are the set of rules that allow different computers to connect to each other over the Web. Once you have created and published your Flash movie, you need to upload it to a web server in order to allow people to view it online. Whether this web server is one that you maintain yourself, one set up for you by your company’s IT department, or space you rent from a web host, the publishing process is basically the same. While there are standalone FTP applications that allow you to connect to a web server, Adobe’s industry-leading web design application, Dreamweaver, comes complete with an internal FTP engine that integrates very well with Flash content. The basic steps to follow when uploading Flash content for the Internet are:

1 Create a Flash movie and publish it to your local hard drive.

2 Upload your Flash movie to your web server, along with any secondary content (HTML and JavaScript files) created by the publishing process. Your web hosting service or IT department can provide you with information on where to upload your files, as well as the login and password information you need to connect.

  • Note
    If you published a Flash movie with an accompanying HTML file, chances are that some additional JavaScript files were also created. It is essential that these files are copied with your .swf and .html files up to the web server in order for the Flash movie to appear properly.

3 If you want to make any changes to the movie, edit the file you published to your local hard drive, not the version on the web server.

4 Re-upload the edited version of your Flash movie to the web server, including any secondary content you may have modified.

Using Adobe Device Central in Flash

Adobe Device Central is a tool available within many of Adobe’s CS5 applications. It is a simulation platform that is useful for developing content for mobile devices. It allows you to preview how Flash content looks and functions on a variety of mobile devices. You can access Device Central when you start a project, or later in the development cycle. You use Device Central by targeting one of the Flash Lite players in the Publish Settings dialog box. Flash Lite is Adobe’s standalone application for playing Flash content on mobile devices. In this exercise, you’ll explore the steps used when creating content for mobile devices using Device Central.

1 Choose File > Open. Navigate to the fl14lessons folder and select the file named LampPost.fla. Press Open.

This Flash file was designed to play on the type of small screen found on a mobile phone or PDA. You must now direct the file to play in the Flash Lite player.

2 Choose File > Publish Settings to target the Flash Lite player as your publishing environment.

3 In the Publish Settings dialog box, click the Flash tab to make it active, then select Flash Lite 3.1 from the Version or Player drop-down menu. Leave all other settings unchanged. Press OK to close the Publish Settings dialog box.

publish settings dialog box

The Publish Settings dialog box controls the options for your published SWF files.

4 Choose Control > Test Movie > in Device Central to preview your Flash file. With Flash Lite set as your player, the movie opens in Adobe Device Central.

  • Note
    When you test the Flash movie, you may receive an error message in the Output panel that states, “WARNING: This movie uses features that are not supported in the Flash Lite 2.1 Player.” This message is caused by an image created in Adobe Illustrator that was embedded in this file using an older version of Flash. You can ignore this warning message; it does not prevent you from previewing the file using Adobe Device Central.

5 From the list of available devices on the top-left side of the window, double-click any of the Flash Lite samples to preview your Flash animation on a cellphone. The list of available devices is based on the version of the Flash Lite Player that you selected in step 3. Device names that are dimmed are not available using the selected version of the Flash Lite Player.

Adobe Device Central

Adobe Device Central previews your Flash movie on a variety of phones and mobile devices.

Using Device Central, you can choose the mobile device on which you want to preview your Flash file by choosing one from the list of available devices on the left side of the window. The device emulator is located in the center of your screen and it allows you to see your project. If your project uses ActionScript, you can also interact with it. On the right side of the interface, controls are available for evaluating the display and performance settings based upon the device you have selected.

6 Return to Flash CS5 Professional. You can continue to develop your Flash file and switch back to Device Central whenever you want to preview your changes.

  • Note
    Some ActionScript features are not supported by certain versions of Flash Lite. If you are using ActionScript in your Flash movie that is not supported by Flash Lite, you will be notified of this in the Output panel when you test your movie.

 

Self study

Open the LampPost.fla file in the fl14lessons folder and add the fscommand to the Actions layer so that the file can display full screen. Publish the file as a Flash projector.

Open the masthead.fla file in the fl14lessons folder, and publish it as a Flash movie embedded in an HTML document. Experiment with different JPEG quality settings to see the effects on the resulting SWF file’s size.

Review

Questions

1 What is the advantage of using the Publish command instead of the Test Movie command?

2 Why would you want to export a QuickTime Movie or AVI file?

3 What are the advantages of publishing an application as Adobe AIR rather than a standalone projector?

Answers

1 The Publish command can create a playable SWF file and automatically embed it into an HTML page. The Publish command also offers a wide range of exportable formats in addition to standard .swf creation.

2 To display your Flash animation on video devices such as iPods and PSPs, as well as to import into a video editing or motion graphics program.

3 Adobe AIR applications are able to interact with the user’s operating system and local files. Projectors have security restrictions which prevent this, and don’t feature the same ActionScript capabilities necessary to work with the operating system.

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Flash Tutorial

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