Before you create a .SWF file from your Flash movie (.FLA file), you should read through this section to determine whether you can optimize your Flash movie. Optimizing can mean finding anything redundant in the final movie extra points in a line, repeated artwork, and so on to breaking apart your large .FLA file into several smaller .FLA files that will be loaded into a primary Flash movie. As you should see, symbols are the key to eliminating unnecessary repetition with Flash artwork. Optimizing can also entail the restricted use of bandwidth- heavy items, such as bitmapped artwork or lengthy sound tracks.
Although 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 Kbps 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:
Generally, more elaborate serif fonts (such as Garamond) take up more room per character than sans serif fonts (such as Arial). For text fields, make sure that 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 Options Panel 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.
Effects of gradient colors on .SWF file size
Although some of these optimization tips may not seem to have a drastic effect on file size, realize that most Flash movies on the Web don’t just use one or two elements, or one or two Motion Tweens. When you start to compound the file size reductions over several Movie Clips or .SWF files, you’ll find that you can cut many kilobytes from your Flash .SWF files.
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. After a symbol’s contents are downloaded to the Flash player, it is easily available for any subsequent reuse in the Flash movie. After you’ve completed a Flash movie, you want to review your Flash production and perform the following optimizations:
Manage assets in the Flash Library
Bitmaps and sound files that have been imported into Flash automatically become items stored in the Flash Library. As later sections show you, you can specify the sound quality of audio events and streams in the Export Movie or Publish Settings dialog. However, these settings control the audio quality for the entire movie unless a specific encoding scheme is specified for individual sound clips in the Flash Library. Use the Library to assign specific compression methods to any given media element. For audio, Flash’s 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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Understanding The Flash Framework
Exploring The Interface: Panels, Settings, And More
Using Tools For Navigation And Viewing
Working With Selections And The Pen Tool
Working With The Drawing And Painting Tools
Working With Text
Exploring The Timeline
Checking Out The Library: Symbols And Instances
Drawing In Flash
Animating In Flash
Using Bitmaps And Other Media With Flash
Designing Interfaces And Interface Elements
Understanding Sound For Flash
Importing And Editing Sounds In Flash
Optimizing Flash Sound For Export
Understanding Actions And Event Handlers
Navigating Flash Timelines
Controlling Movie Clips
Sharing And Loading Assets
Planning Code Structures
Creating Subroutines And Manipulating Data
Understanding Movie Clips As Complex Objects
Sending Data In And Out Of Flash
Understanding Html And Text Field Functions In Flash
What Is Generator?
Revving Up Generator
Working With Third-party, Server-side Applications
Working With Raster Graphics
Working With Vector Graphics
Working With Audio Applications
Working With 3d Graphics
Working With Quicktime
Working With Realplayer
Creating Full-motion Video With Flash
Creating Cartoon Animation With Flash
Planning Flash Production With Flowcharting Software
Working With Authoring Applications
Publishing Flash Movies
Integrating Flash Content With Html
Using Players, Projectors, And Screensaver Utilities
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