You have three ways to test your Flash movies: in the authoring environment of Flash 5 using the Test Movie and Scene commands, in a browser using the Publish Preview command, or in the standalone Flash Player using Flash files (.SWF) made with the Export Movie command. There are several reasons why you should test your Flash movie before you transfer Flash movies to your Web server (or to the intended delivery medium):
Using the Test Scene or Movie command
You can test your Flash movies directly within the Flash 5 interface by using the Control➪Test Movie or Test Scene command. When you choose one of these commands, Flash opens your Flash movie in a new window as a Flash .SWF movie. Even though you are only “testing” a Flash movie, a new .SWF file is actually created and stored in the same location as the Flash .FLA file. For this reason, it is a good idea to always save your Flash file before you begin testing it.
Before you use the Test Scene or Movie command, you need to specify the settings of the resulting Flash .SWF movie. The Test Scene or Movie command uses the specifications outlined in the Publish Settings dialog to generate .SWF files. The Publish Settings dialog is discussed later. For the time being, we can use the Flash 5 default settings to explore the Test Scene and Movie commands.
When you choose Control➪Test Movie (Command+Enter or Ctrl+Enter), Flash 5 generates a .SWF file of the entire Flash .FLA file that is currently open. If you have more than one Flash movie open, Flash creates a .SWF file for the one that is currently in the foreground and that has “focus.”
If you are working on a lengthy Flash movie with multiple scenes, you want to test your scenes individually. You can do this by using Control➪Test Scene (Option+ Command+Enter or Ctrl+Alt+Enter). The process of exporting entire movies via Test Movie may require many minutes to complete, whereas exporting one scene will require a significantly smaller amount of time. As is shown in the next section, you can analyze each tested scene (or movie) with the Bandwidth Profiler.
How to use the Bandwidth Profiler
Do you want to know how long it will take for a 28.8 Kbps modem to download your Flash movie or scene? How about a 36.6 Kbps modem? Or a 56 Kbps modem? Or a cable modem? The Bandwidth Profiler enables you to simulate any download speed. To use the Bandwidth Profiler, you first need to create a test movie or scene. When you create a .SWF file with the Control➪Test Movie or Scene commands, Flash opens the .SWF file in its own Player window.
The Test Movie or Scene viewing environment changes the View and Control menus. The first four commands in the View menu are the same as those of the Flash Player plug-in viewing controls:
For example, if the movie size is 500 × 300 pixels, it takes up 500 × 300 pixels on your monitor. If you change the size of the viewing window, the movie may be cropped. The lower section of this submenu enables you to change the viewable area of the Flash movie. Show Frame (Ctrl+2 or Command+2) will show only the frame boundary area in the Player window. Show All (Ctrl+3 or Command+3) shrinks or enlarges the Flash movie so that you can view all the artwork in the Flash movie, including elements off stage.
The Streaming Graph indicates how a movie will download over a given modem connection.
The Frame-By-Frame Graph shows you the byte demand of each frame in the Flash movie.
Use the Control menu to play (Return) or rewind (Option+Command+R or Ctrl+Alt+R) the test movie. Rewinding pauses the bandwidth.swf movie on the first frame. Use the Step Forward (>) and Step Backward (<) commands to view the Flash movie frame by frame. If a Flash movie doesn’t have a stop() action on the last frame, the Loop command forces the player to infinitely repeat the Flash movie.
The Debug menu also features commands that work in tandem with the Streaming and Frame-By-Frame Graphs:
Using the size report
Flash also lets you view a text-file summary of movie elements, frames, and fonts called a size report. In addition to viewing Frame-By-Frame Graphs of a Flash movie with the Bandwidth Profiler, you can inspect this size report for other “hidden” byte additions such as font character outlines. This report can only be generated when using the Export Movie or Publish commands.
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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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