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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.
Adding video or sound is just one way to create a more immersive interactive experience for your viewers. However, you can also add advanced animation effects into your Flash Catalyst projects as well. For example, with Flash Professional, there is really no limit to what you can create as far as interactivity goes. However, you as a designer don't always have to actually create those animations. For example, you can integrate a Flash file that was created in Flash Professional by somebody else directly into your project.
For example, in this project, I am going to switch here to the Extracting page, and maybe I want to create some kind of an animation that shows how the centrifuge works. I can either create an animation myself inside of Flash Professional or I can ask a colleague or hire a professional to create that animation for me. All they need to do is create a regular plain SWF file and I can then import that directly into my project. Let's see how that works. First, I am going to go to my Layers panel.
I'll open up the Panels folder, because I want this element to be placed in the right part of the stacking order inside of this project. In fact, if I look at the contents inside of the Extracting group, I can see I have a file here called End. This is actually going to serve as a placeholder for the Flash file that I'm going to put now in its place. So I will go now to the File menu and I will choose Import and this time, I am going to choose to import a SWF file. In Chapter 07 of my Exercise Files folder, I have this file called centrifuge.
I will click Open to bring it now into my project. Using my Selection tool, I am just going to drop it now into the right position and I am going to turn off the End layer, because I don't need the placeholder anymore. So I have this SWF file in place, but I haven't told Flash Catalyst when to start playing that Flash animation. So let's see how we do that. If I look at my Timelines panel, I am going to focus on the transition that goes from my MainView to the Extracting page. You can see that both my Screen layer and my Extracting layer both fade in over time.
I would like to make it so that the SWF file first actually appears after that fade is complete. So I'll click on the Fade option right here for the SWF asset and I'm going to drag that over here so that it now appears after the fade is complete. I can preview this to see what it looks like. Next, I want to specify an action that will trigger that animation to start playing. So I'm going to click on the Add Action button, I'm going to choose SWF Control, and then I'll choose Play.
By the way, if this were a complex Flash animation, I could choose this option here, Go to Frame and Play, which will actually allow me to navigate to a specific portion of that animation and play from that point, but this example is a simple looping animation. So I am going to choose here Play and again I want that action to start happening when that SWF asset appears in my project. So I am going to drag it from here to right about over here. Now you can't preview the SWF here on the artboard. So to see what I just created, let's actually go to the File menu, choose Run Project to test this in our browser.
What I really like about working with Flash content is that I don't need to force Flash Catalyst to do everything. More importantly, I can split a project into different parts. I can have one designer work on one aspect of it and I can have a Flash developer work on different part of it. Now I am here inside of my browser, I can click on the third button to go directly to the Extracting page and I can now see the Flash animation playing inside of my browser.
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