Exporting Artwork from Illustrator Flash

You can also repurpose Adobe Illustrator artwork to use in Flash 5. If you use Adobe Illustrator 9, you can export your artwork for Flash as:

  1. EPS format (.EPS file)
  2. Adobe Illustrator format (.AI file)
  3. Flash format (.SWF file)

If you use Illustrator 8, then you can still export artwork as .SWF files if you download and install Macromedia’s free Flash Writer plug-in. Depending on the nature of your artwork, you may choose to use any of the three file formats listed previously. For most purposes, you will want to export directly to the .SWF format from Illustrator.

Using the Macromedia Flash Writer plug-in
Shortly after Flash 4 was released, Macromedia wrote a Flash Writer plug-in for Illustrator 8 that enabled the direct export of .SWF files. This free download from the Macromedia Web site bypasses many problems with using .EPS and .AI files in Flash 4 and 5. Notably, the Flash Writer plug-in can convert EPS blends into Flash gradients. After you download the plug-in from Macromedia, you’ll receive an e-mail with a serial number so that you can run the installation on your system. To export .SWF files in Illustrator 8, follow these steps:

  1. Run the Illustrator application and open your artwork file.
  2. Access the Export command in the File menu, and select Flash Player .SWF in the Format drop-down menu of the Export dialog. Select a folder or directory to store your .SWF file, and type a name for the file. Make sure you specify .SWF at the end of the filename. Click Save.
  3. In the Flash Writer dialog , select the options for your .SWF file. The dialog contains these options:
    • Image Settings: These options control the compression of any placed bitmaps in your Illustrator file. We recommend setting the compression type to JPEG (lossy) at Medium or Medium-High quality, and the dpi setting at 72 to reduce file size.
    • File and Objects: Use these options to set the Flash version (2, 3, or 4), and to control how the artwork structures are mapped to Flash gradients and frames. If you’re not planning to bring the .SWF back into Flash for further editing, you’ll want to enable the Export File as Protected option.You can also choose to export each layer of your Illustrator document as a unique .SWF file, using the Export Layers as Separate Files option. The remaining options determine how Illustrator artwork translates into Flash.If you are using Gradient Meshes, Patterns and Brushes, Text Objects or Chart Items, then enable them as needed.
    • Movie Size: Usually, you’ll want to export the .SWF to match the size of the artwork on the page. By default, the Match to Content option is selected. To output the .SWF with the dimensions of the page layout, select Preserve Artboard Bounds. If you want a border to appear around the edge of the Flash movie frame, then select Add Border to Content.
  4. The Flash Writer export settings

    The Flash Writer export settings

  5. Click OK, and you now have a new .SWF file. You can import the .SWF file into an existing Flash movie, or publish it on your Web site.Again, the Flash Writer plug-in is available only for Illustrator 8. If you want to export .SWF files from Illustrator 9, proceed to the next section.

Using .SWF Export from Illustrator 9
A new feature of Adobe Illustrator 9 is the capability to export .SWF files without the use of an additional plug-in. The options for the Flash Format are nearly identical to the Macromedia Flash Writer plug-in, with some important additions. To export a .SWF file from Illustrator 9, follow these steps:

  1. In Illustrator 9, open your Illustrator or EPS file.
  2. Select Export from the File menu, and choose Flash (.SWF) from the Format drop-down menu. Type a name for your new .SWF file, and choose a folder to store the file.
  3. In the Flash (.SWF) Format Options dialog , you can choose how you want your artwork to export. With the exception of choosing Baseline (Standard) or Baseline Optimized for JPEG compression, the Image Options are nearly identical to those of the Image Settings in the Flash Writer plug-in . The Export options have these settings:
  4. Flash Format Options in Illustrator 9

    Flash Format Options in Illustrator 9

    • Export As: The main addition to Illustrator 9’s .SWF export is the Export As drop-down menu options. If AI File to .SWF File is selected, all of your artwork will appear on one keyframe and one layer in the Flash movie.AI Layers to .SWF Frames will export each layer as separate sequential keyframes on the Flash movie timeline. If this option is selected, then you can enter a Frame Rate as well. AI Layers to .SWF Files exports a separate .SWF file for each Illustrator layer.
    • Frame Rate: As mentioned in the Export As section, you can specify a frame rate for your .SWF animation if you chose the AI Layers to .SWF Frames option. By default, this option is 12 fps. For faster animations, enter a higher frame rate.
    • Auto-create Symbols: This setting converts each piece (or group) of Illustrator artwork into a Flash symbol that can be accessed from the Flash Library. Use this setting if you want to import the .SWF file into Flash for further editing and for reuse in other Flash movies. This feature will add a duplicate keyframe for each symbol when imported into Flash.As odd as this may seem, it’s necessary for Flash to recognize the symbols on import. Make sure that you remove the second keyframe before you publish your final .SWF from Flash 5.
    • Read Only: To prevent your .SWF file from being imported into the Flash authoring environment, enable this check box.
    • Clip to Artboard Size: This option forces the .SWF’s movie dimensions to match the page size of your Illustrator document, even if your artwork doesn’t occupy the whole page.
    • Curve Quality: This setting enables you to specify the accuracy of paths exported from Illustrator. Higher settings (up to 10) result in better accuracy but larger file sizes. Lower settings produce smaller file sizes, at the expense of line quality. We recommend that you use the default setting of 7.
  5. Click OK, and Illustrator exports a new .SWF file. You can use the new file in another Flash movie or publish it to the Web


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