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In Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training, author Todd Perkins explains the fundamentals of Flash Professional CS5, the industry standard for creating animations and interactive applications for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. This course starts with the basics, such as using the drawing tools to create simple animations, and progresses to automating animation with tweens and adding interactivity with ActionScript. This course also covers how to add sound and video to projects, enhance realism with effects like easing, and publish a project to a variety of platforms. Exercise files are included.
One of the great things about Flash and bitmap images is that you can adjust the compression without messing with the original image file. Once the file is imported into Flash, that original file's information is saved in Flash, and however you change the compression of the file, it is never affected and you can always undo any changes that you make without losing image quality. Let's take a look at how to modify bitmap image compression in Flash. So, if I test my movie, I'll go to Properties and I'll test the movie in Flash, publish to SWF file and take a look at its file size in the SWF History panel.
To publish the movie, I'll go to Control > Test Movie > Test. I'll close the file. Then look in the SWF History section in the Properties panel. Note the file size is 69 kilobytes. By adjusting compression, I can lower that file size a little bit while still retaining the quality of the image. So let's go to the Library. I'll double-click the icon for flower.jpg to open up the Bitmap Properties window. In the Bitmap Properties window, you'll see a preview of your image that you can click-and-drag to pan around.
Then you'll see some settings that you can update. Many of these settings deal with the compression of your image. You can check Allow smoothing to have Flash smooth out the image to reduce its file size. Now sometimes, this will make your image look a little bit better. But if you compress it a lot, then maybe it won't look so good. So just know that you might want to toggle this, and see how it looks when you're compressing your images. After that you'll see the Compression drop-down menu. You can choose whether to use JPEG Compression or Lossless Compression. Basically, JPEG Compression compresses the image by reducing its quality.
So the file size goes down with the quality. Lossless Compression doesn't have any compression settings and maintains the original image. So if you want to compress the image, you can go to JPEG Compression. Then you can either use the imported JPEG data or choose Custom to set your own compression. So with Custom, I have it set to 50. I'm going to change this to 25, so that the difference is very obvious between the original and the compressed version. Then I'll click Test to watch the image update.
Before you click Test, make sure you're looking at the image preview in the left side of this window. So I'll click Test, and there is the compressed image. So that's an enormous reduction in quality. So we don't want that. So I'll go a little bit higher. I'll go to 50 and click Test. That looks a little bit better. Now you may want to do a higher than this or this may be okay. It's really your call. I'll go to 60 and click Test, and that looks good to me. So I'll click OK. Then I'm going to go to the Properties panel, deselect everything, test the movie one more time.
There is the image. I'll close the window. Notice that my file size is about half the size that it was before. So by adjusting the settings for this bitmap image, I was able to bring down the file size of my SWF file. When you're working with many bitmap images in Flash, I recommend going to them one by one, so that you can optimize your file to get the lowest file size possible.
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