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In Flash Catalyst CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding demonstrates how to create and publish fully interactive Flash (SWF) micro sites, widgets, portfolios, and applications from static Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks artwork—all without writing code. The course covers planning a project, importing and organizing assets, creating interactive components, defining repeating data lists, and publishing final projects. Exercise files are included with the course.
Once you get a feel for how interactions and transitions work inside of Flash Catalyst, and once you're familiar with the Timelines panel, it can be really easy to add some cool animation effects to your project. For example, for this project called olive_tour_action, I'm going to go the File menu and choose to run this project so I can preview it in my browser. You'll see that when this actually loads into my browser, I'll see a static page. It's my main map of the entire interactive tour and a user can click on any button to go to a specific part of that tour.
But maybe, when this application even first loads inside of a web browser, I might want some animation to happen. For example, maybe I want the logo to slide in from the top and I want the buttons to start appearing one after another. So let's go back to Flash Catalyst and see how we might do that. I'm going to go back to the application here and remember that when we think about interactions, normally inside of Flash Catalyst, I can only add an interaction that will be triggered by a person clicking on something. For example, when you click on one button, go to this page. However, there is one exception.
I can create something called an Application Interaction. That's an Interaction that starts automatically as soon as my Application loads in a web browser. But remember that any transition inside of Flash Catalyst needs to have a start and an end point. Right now, at least on my MainView page, all of my elements are in place where they should appear when that animation is complete. What I need to do is create a separate page that will represent the start point of that animation. So in order to do that, I'm going to create an additional page in my project.
I want it to be very similar to this actual page right here, the MainView page. So with the MainView page inside of my Pages and States panel selected, I'm going to click on the Duplicate State Button. Notice that right now if I slide all the way to the right, I'll see now that I created something here called Page1. I'm actually going to rename that to say Start, because that's going to be the page that my animation is going to start from. I'll click Enter to accept that name and you might think I actually need to drag or move that Start page all the way to the beginning of my project.
Well remember, inside of Flash Catalyst, there is no specific order to any of these pages. In any kind of Interactive Application, I can move between different pages in no specific order. However, there is a concept of a default page. That's the first page that loads into your browser. Because I'll be starting the animation from this Start page, I'll actually want to make the Start page my default page. To do that, I'm just going to right- click on this page right here and choose Set as Default State. Notice now the little dot appears on top of that page, letting me know right now it is the default page and, in fact, if I scroll back over here to the left, you can see that dot no longer appears on the MainView page.
This means that when I run this application and I launch it in my browser, the first page that's going to appear is the Start page. So let's change some of the settings now on the Start page itself. First, I'm going to click on the map and then in the Properties panel, I'm going to change the Opacity value to zero. I'll hit Enter to accept it, because in this way, I want the map to fade in from 0% opacity, all the way to full strength. Next, I'm going to want this logo to kind of slide in from the top of the page. So, let's go ahead now and kind of scroll over here.
I'm going to take this logo and just simply reposition it up over here. I'm holding down the Shift key as I drag it, so this way I'm dragging it straight upwards. Next, let's come over here to the left side where I have the buttons. I'm going to click on the first Button to select it and now I'll hold down the Shift key and select the remaining buttons as well. I'm now going to move these, again holding the Shift key down, just off the left side of the artboard. Just so we can get a better idea of what we just did, I'm going to collapse the Timelines panel for a minute here, change my view so I could see this right now centered on my screen.
When my application first loads in a web browser, it's going to look just like this. I'm then going to define a transition, which will actually now turn it into the MainView page, which will look like this. So the first thing I need to do is to add that interaction. I have to create an interaction that will go from my Start page, which is my default page, to my MainView page. In order to define an Application Interaction to do this, I have to make sure that I have nothing selected right now. With nothing selected, you can see that in my Interactions panel it says Application.
So I'm now going to add an interaction that on application start I want to play a transition to state. Which state? To my MainView state. I don't have to choose which state I'm starting in, because my Start page is going to be my default page, and obviously, this interaction is going to begin as soon as my application loads in a browser. But I know it's now going to go from my Start page here to my MainView page and I'll click OK. Now let's go to the Timelines panel, turn on our Smooth Transitions and create an action sequence that will have everything come into place just as we want it.
So I'll start by double-clicking on the Timelines panel and I want to specifically view the transition that takes me from the Start page to the MainView page. So I'll click on the pop- up here and choose Start. This filters my result, so I don't need to scroll through a million different settings here. I'll highlight the Start to MainView transition. Now I'll click on the Smooth Transition button and I can preview it by clicking on the Play button right here. As you can see, the map fades in from 0% Opacity to full strength. The Two Trees logo drops in from the top and the buttons come in from the left.
But if I preview it again, you'll see they all happen simultaneously. I'd like to adjust the timing so that I can add a little bit more of a dramatic element to my animation. Let me expand the Timelines panel just a bit so we can see all the settings here. We want the map to Fade In right from the beginning. So we'll leave the Fade In effect right over here. However, we want the Two Trees logo to only slide in after that map has faded in. So I'll click-and-drag on the Move over here so that it only happens after the map has faded in. Now I want the buttons to come in really quickly.
So they don't need a full second for a transition. I'm actually going to specify half a second durations for each of those button moves. So I'll click over here and make that adjustment for each of them. Then once I've done that, I'm going to reposition these and maybe even stagger them so that they each come in one at a time. With all these moves selected, I'm now going to drag them so they don't come in until after the logo first appears. I'm then going to hold down the Shift key and click on the top one. I'm then going to click over here to deselect them and I'll select just the bottom four buttons here and move them out over here.
Once again, I'll deselect them, and then I'll move these three over here to stagger them. Unfortunately, there's no way to really scroll to see the rest of this area here. So I'll use this slider in the bottom to change the scale. This will let me see more of the Timeline at any one time. Now I can take the remaining two buttons here and stagger them as well. So a quick look at the Timeline tells me that the map is going to Start to Fade In. Once it's completely faded in, the logo will actually slide in from the top and then each button will quickly come in, in succession.
Let's resize the Timeline panel a little bit and preview this to see what's going to happen. The map fades in, the logo slides in on the top and then each of the buttons slide in from the left. That looks perfect and now we want to make sure that we've done it correctly. Remember, we set this as an Application Interaction, meaning, this should all start happening as soon as the application loads in a browser. So I'll press Ctrl+Enter or Command+ Return on my keyboard to actually run this project in a browser and make sure that it all works correctly. Once it loads, I'll see the animation happening, the map fades in, the logo slides in.
Then each of the buttons slide in on the left. Of course, you can adjust the timing to your liking, but using an Application Interaction to define an action sequence allows you to add some kind of move into your application as it's loading in a web browser. Once the action sequence is complete, a user can interact with and use your application.
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