Replacing Blends with Flash Gradients Flash

If you’re using a drawing application that doesn’t support .SWF export, then you can still work around EPS blends in Flash 5. Replacing externally rendered “blends” with Flash gradients, an old trick among 3D Flash designers, drastically cuts down on Flash movie (.SWF) file sizes. Unless you’re using a program that supports Flash gradients in .SWF export, gradients or blends created in drawing, illustration, or 3D programs will not be converted to Flash gradients when the graphic(s) are imported into Flash.

Because the vast majority of applications do not render Flash-style gradients, it’s up to you to decide to accept the file size “weight gains” of shaded blends or to recreate the blends with Flash gradients after the artwork has been imported into the Flash authoring environment. Here’s the general process for replacing externally created blends in Flash:

  1. After the artwork has been rendered as an EPS or AI file, open Flash 5. Create a new graphic symbol and open this symbol in the Symbol Editing stage. Import the EPS graphic into the first frame of the symbol.
  2. Break apart (Command+B or Ctrl+B) or ungroup the imported vector artwork to the point where you isolate the blend separately from the rest of the graphic. If you break apart the imported vector graphic, then it should be reduced to “symbol” parts and groups in one step as seen below. Note that Flash will convert EPS blends to symbols (accessible from the Flash Library). These symbols will contain a mask layer and a blend layer.
  3. When the Break Apart command is applied to the imported graphic, you can access the individual groups within the graphic.

    When the Break Apart command is applied to the imported graphic, you can access the individual groups within the graphic.

  4. Access the timeline of each symbol that contains a blend, and erase the “blend” graphics. Keep the original Mask Layer intact, but replace the Blend Layer contents with a Flash gradient. You may need to make a three- or fourcolor gradient, and use the Transform Fill modifier of the Paint Bucket Tool to modify the direction and size of the gradient.
  5. Double-click a selected symbol to enter Symbol Editing Mode. Replace the blend in the lower layer of the symbol with a Flash gradient.

    Double-click a selected symbol to enter Symbol Editing Mode. Replace the blend in the lower layer of the symbol with a Flash gradient.

    The Flash version of the blended EPS graphic

    The Flash version of the blended EPS graphic

    When you are done replacing each blend’s symbol with a Flash gradient, you’ll have a better looking (and slightly smaller) Flash movie. If you are working with multiple imported vector graphics that have blends, you’ll end up with much smaller Shockwave Flash movies which means Web visitors will spend less time waiting to see your movies.


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