Exporting Vector Graphics from Flash Flash

In the previous chapter, you learned to export raster image formats from Flash. If you’ve created artwork in Flash that you want to share with other drawing applications, then you can export any frame (or series of frames) from Flash in any of the popular vector file formats.

Why would you want to export vector-based images from Flash? If you’re a design or graphics professional, then you probably need to reuse your artwork in a number of different media for print, multimedia, or broadcast delivery. As such, you don’t like wasting valuable time recreating the same artwork twice. Most Flash artwork exports flawlessly to the file formats listed below. If you are unsure of the format to use in your graphics program, then refer to Table below. Afterward, we show you how to export a Flash frame’s artwork as a static vector image.

Vector image formats for flash export

Vector image formats for flash export

To export artwork as a vector file format from Flash 5, follow these steps:

  1. Move the Current Frame Indicator in the Flash timeline to the frame that contains the artwork you wish to export.
  2. Choose the File➪Export Image command.
  3. Select a destination folder and enter a file name. Select your preferred raster image format in the Save as Type drop-down menu.
  4. Click Save, and use the new vector file in your drawing or illustration program.

A word of caution: Using vector formats from Flash
Generally, the quality of exported vector files from Flash is less than desirable. Although it would seem that Flash’s vector exports would be better than its raster exports, this simply isn’t the case. Because RGB color space (as the “end” product) is relatively new to the world of print-based production, most vector file formats need to encode color information as CMYK. This presents a couple of problems, as you’ll see in the following sections.

Color consistency
Flash works within an RGB color model, which means that all color is defined by three numbers, one assigned to each color channel of the image (for example, red, green, and blue). Most standard vector file formats do not encode the color information in this manner. Rather, they use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) colors that have a much more restricted color gamut (range) than RGB.

As such, most, if not all, of your Flash artwork will display quite differently when exported as a vector file format such as .EPS or .AI. Is this yet another reason to start projects intended for multiple media in Macromedia FreeHand? Yes and no. While starting projects in FreeHand lends itself to greater flexibility for the reuse or repurposing of artwork, you have an alternative to exporting vector files from Flash: good old copy and paste. If you select Flash artwork, choose Edit➪Copy, switch to your illustration program and choose Edit➪Paste; the newly pasted artwork should match your original Flash artwork. Why is this so? Most likely because Flash’s export file formats (or the versions of these formats) don’t seem to support RGB colors. However, the clipboard can support a multitude of data types, and Adobe Illustrator and FreeHand can recognize RGB colors. Therefore, the copied-and-pasted colors show up as RGB colors in these programs.

Flash gradients
Another troublesome spot for exported vector files from Flash is the re-rendering of Flash gradients as CMYK “blends.” Depending on the vibrancy of the original gradient in Flash, the exported vector equivalents might end up very muddy or brownish especially in the middle range of the gradient. Again, you can avoid this color shifting by copying and pasting the Flash gradients directly between applications. Note that this still converts Flash gradients to blends, but it will retain the RGB color values of the original Flash gradient

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