Creating menu buttons
Video: Creating menu buttonsOne of the fundamental things you'll want to do in Flash is create a button and eventually add interactivity to it, and that's what I want to do with this project. I want to have each one of these items a button, as well as this John Doe be a button. This is going to be my home button and this is the one I'm going to start with. What I want to happen is I'm first going to give everything a Drop Shadow, just to set it off from the background. Then I want it to highlight red when you move your cursor over that particular item.
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Flash and ActionScript are ideal for creating flexible, easily updatable web sites that are both unique in design and small in file size. In Creating a Portfolio Web Site Using Flash CS4 Professional, Adobe Certified Instructor Paul Trani shows how to exploit Flash to create a web site that showcases work to clients and prospective employers. Find out how to add dynamic navigation, animation, and video to a page, and how to load, sort and display XML that enables portfolio content to be updated without opening Flash. This course is designed to take your existing tweening skills and gotoAndPlay code and walk away with a fully functional Flash site. Exercise files accompany the course.
- Optimizing and publishing a Flash web site
- Designing a professional photo or video portfolio
- Adding button interactivity
- Adding functionality to portfolio thumbnails
- Displaying content with XML
- Adding audio to portfolio presentations
Creating menu buttons
One of the fundamental things you'll want to do in Flash is create a button and eventually add interactivity to it, and that's what I want to do with this project. I want to have each one of these items a button, as well as this John Doe be a button. This is going to be my home button and this is the one I'm going to start with. What I want to happen is I'm first going to give everything a Drop Shadow, just to set it off from the background. Then I want it to highlight red when you move your cursor over that particular item.
Next, the down state when you click down on it, I want it to highlight white, give it this white glow as well. So that's what I want to do for the buttons is add a Drop Shadow, a roll over red color, and a click white color to each one of these, but the first thing I need to do is make it a button. So that's what I want to do. In my Timeline, in the content movie clip, I'm just going to double-click. What I want to do is I want to take this text and convert it to a button.
Currently, it's about three different things all grouped together, and that's what you might need to do in some cases is break something apart in order to control it a little more. So Modify, go down to Break Apart and you can break apart that cross from the text, because I just want this text here to be the home button. All right. With these two items selected, what I can do is just click and drag it right into the Library and then I get the Convert to Symbol dialog box.
I can go ahead and give it a Name. I will call this home button. I'm going to make sure the Type is a Button and then select OK. Notice in the Library panel, here is my home button and sure enough, it has an icon that looks like a button as well. All right. I want to edit this button now. So I'm going to double-click on it and now I'm in Symbol Editing mode for this button. Notice the Timeline. I have an Up, Over, Down and Hit state, and what I want to do is I want to modify this text for each state.
So I'm going to start with the Up state. I'm going to select that text. In the Properties panel, I'm going to show how you can give something a glow. So down here, near the bottom, I'm going to click this Add Filter button and I'm going to give this a Glow. By default, it gives it a fairly nice red glow but again, I just want to make this black just to kind of set it off from the background. All right. So that's the initial state, the Up state, sort of the untouched state. The next it is the Over state.
This is going to be the touched state. For the Over state, what I want to do is I want to Insert a KeyFrame. So when I Insert a KeyFrame, it actually gives me a keyframe and allows me to modify the contents in here at this point in time, or at this state, in this case. So John Doe, instead of it having this black glow, I can go ahead and change the Color to red and change the Strength to, say, 200%. I can adjust the Blur radius and different things as well, but I really want it to pop when you rollover or when your cursor touches this item.
So typical state, Over state turns red. I'm going to insert another KeyFrame and instead of this being red, I'm going to change it to white. So it's going to have this white pop when you click on it, so the Down state. Lastly, I'm going to Insert a KeyFrame for the Hit area and what the Hit area is is just a larger area and I'm going to select just pink, for instance, this hot pink. I'm going to draw a box. I picked hot pink because you're never going to see what's in this Hit frame.
All it does is it extends out the size of this button. So if you have small text, or you just need a bigger Hit area, you can draw whatever you want in here and that will be your active area for your button. All right. So far, so good! Let's just do a Control > Test Movie. There we are, and when I roll over it, it turns red. If I click on it, it gives it that white glow and it's working pretty well. Notice that when I will roll over even close to it, I'm going to hit that Hit area.
So out here, this is my Hit area. It activates the button. So that's looking pretty good. It even has that nice black glow as well. So I want to apply this same method, I want to convert all three of these into buttons and I want to give each one these same settings, so the same effects. Okay. Since these effects are working out so well for me, I actually want to save them. So with John Doe selected in the Properties panel, down here in Filters, what I can do is Save Presets.
Notice I already have some saved here, but I could just do a Save As and I'll call this one, say, 'Black Glow.' The Over state is nice red. I'd say it looks pretty good. Properties panel, Save As 'Red Glow.' Down state, there is my white. Save As 'White Glow,' just like that. So you can have as many as you want and really, you can build up a nice library of effects to use anytime you start a project.
In this case, I'd want to do the same thing for the About button. Currently, it's not a button. So don't forget that you have to drag it into the Library to make it a button. I'll call this about button, select OK. Double-click that button to enter symbol editing mode and what I can do is start inserting keyframes and I can start giving this effects. So you can see the process is going to go much faster now that I have Filters Presets. So for this Up state, I can select the Black Glow, Over it's going to be a Red, Down is going to be the White.
You don't have to put anything in the Hit area, so you can always skip that step, if you'd like. But really, for each button that you need to create, you do have to drag it into the Library, 'video button.' It's a Button Type, double-click it and, again, it's just the matter of inserting keyframes and then adding those effects. So Black Glow, the Red is the Over state.
Now, note that if I ever change this White Glow, it's not going to change it across the board. They're not really linked together. So just keep that in mind for the Down state that it is going to be that White Glow, just like that. So again, this is probably the fastest way to make buttons too is just by dragging it right into your Library and then calling it. Of course, it helps to have some consistency. Each one's named, say, portfolio button, video button.
So double-click it and Insert KeyFrames. Again, anytime you have a keyframe, you can change that content and it won't affect it in other places. So for the Up state, Black Glow, Over, Red and the Down state is going to have the White. So I really just used one effect and I kept modifying it and then I just saved it as Presets, but I encourage you to really explore this list because there is Drop Shadows, Blurs, some Gradient Glows you can add.
You can even adjust the color of items. It's really helpful when you need to modify the look of an item, just like I did here with my buttons. It works out great. So with all four of these set up, let's do a Control > Test Movie, roll over the About, turns red, turns red, turns red. Everything is looking really good. When I select them, they turn White as well. So now my site set up. I have my buttons created, and now I can go ahead and add functionality to them.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Creating a Portfolio Web Site Using Flash CS4 Professional .
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- Q: While following along with the course, I encountered the following error in Flash CS4:
1120: Access of undefined property content_mc.What is causing this error?
- A: Flash is looking for something (the content movieclip) with the instance name “content_mc” but it is not finding it. Select the content movieclip on the stage. In the Properties panel give it an instance name of “content_mc”. Make sure there are no spaces before or after. That should resolve the error.
- Q: What is the best strategy for integrating 720/60P HD video into a website? Would creating a blank page that opens in full HD resolution be the best way to view the full quality of the HD video file?
- A: A video file that large would just be unreasonable for most users to open. These settings are a good place to start: 600x400is
Bitrate level: 1,000kbps
Bitrate Encoding: VBR These are just recommendations, and can be modified to preference. Also keep in mind that in Flash, one of the buttons that can be added is a full screen button, which is part of the skins.
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