Before you can start digging into Flash, you need to know what you’re excavating what is the basic concept of the experience? Is this an all-Flash Web site? Is this a Flash animation that introduces some other type of content (HTML, Shockwave Director movies, and so on)? For the purposes of this, we create a Flash movie for a basic all-Flash Web site.
Creating a plan
Once you know what goals you want to achieve with your Flash content, you should map the ideas on paper (or with your preferred project planning or flowchart software). We create a basic site for a computer parts company that has four areas: main menu (and welcome page), products, services, and contact information. Our organizational chart for this site has four discrete areas, as shown below.
Our organizational chart will help us plan our Flash movie architecture.
Determining Flash movie properties
After you’ve made your organizational chart, you’ll want to determine the frame rate, size, and color of the Flash movie. We’ve skipped much of the “real-life” planning involved with Flash Web sites. For this example, we use a frame size of 640 × 400 (a cinematic aspect ratio), a relatively fast frame rate of 20 fps (for smoother animations), and a white background color. These are set in the Movie Properties dialog, which is accessed by Modify➪Movie (Ctrl+M or Command+M).
The Flash Movie Properties
Mapping site areas to keyframes
After you have set up your Flash movie properties, you can create a Main Timeline structure for the site. Because we have four areas in our site (main menu, products, services, and contact information), we’ll have keyframes on the timeline that indicate those sections.
Frame labels will be used to differentiate each section of the site.
Unlike labels, frame comments can not be used in ActionScript. Comments can provide quick visual references for ActionScript code.
Creating content for each area
For the purposes of this example, we add placeholder elements that would be filled in with actual content for live production.
The Acme Computer Parts logo should be placed at the top-left corner of the Stage.
Use the Text Tool to add a welcome heading to the movie.
Change the text block on frame 20 to indicate the current frame label section.
You should have six filled keyframes on the products layers of the productMovie timeline.
The productMovie instance will only be present in the product section of the movie.
Now we have some content in the Flash movie. The following Expert Tutorial provides an excellent overview of the design process for Flash user interfaces. If you want to continue with the demo site, then skip to the next section, “Adding Navigation Elements to the Main Timeline.”
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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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