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Using guide layers in Flash can save you a lot on file size, particularly when you're using bitmap images as a Guide. In Flash, a guide layer is basically implied in its name. For example, I have this bitmap image on the Stage, which I'll explain how to import into Flash in another movie. Let's say I'm tracing the bitmap image to create vector artwork. So I have this flower that I've created by using the Pen tool in tracing that bitmap image. So really what I want is this vector flower that I created, but I have a guide layer in the background that I used as a guide.
So when I publish this content, if I have the Guide layer as a regular layer in Flash. For one, that will show in the Flash Player. Two, that will greatly increase the file size of my SWF file that I publish. So if I convert this layer to a Guide layer, the layer will be thrown out when the file is published. I won't get the file size bloating that I would normally have, and the layer will be hidden. So let's take a look at how to do that. To set a layer as a guide layer, double-click the Layer icon to open up the Layer Properties dialog box.
So here you'll see we can set the layers Type. One of the types is Guide. So let's select Guide and then click OK. Notice the Layers icon updates to show the Guide icon. To find out the information of the file size of my SWF file with and without using any Guide, look at the SWF History section of the Properties panel. So what I'm going to do is actually deselect everything on the Stage. I'll show my vector flower that I created in flower layer. So I'll create my SWF file by choosing Control > Test Movie > Test.
So this creates the published version of my SWF file. I'll close that window and look in the SWF History panel. Noticed the file size is 1.2 Kilobytes. Let's say I turned off that guide layer. I'll double-click the Layer icon, set the layer type to Normal, and click OK. I'll deselect everything on the Stage, so I can see the SWF History panel and test the movie one more time. So you notice the bitmap image shows and my file size goes up to 43.9 Kilobytes. So I have more file size any artwork shows, but by using a Guide, I can simply have a Guide to work with only when I'm in Flash and that content will not be published in my final SWF file.
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