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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.
One of the great things about Flash is that you can import content in from other programs that you might be more familiar with. So if you are familiar with Illustrator or Fireworks, even Photoshop, you can import that content and still maintain the integrity of the design. For instance, I have Photoshop open, and I want to import all of this content from this Photoshop file into Flash, but I first want to explore some of this content. In the Layers panel, you can see that there's this image layer and I can turn that off. You can see that's the large image in the background.
There's a content folder. I can twirl that down and you can see that it contains text layers in here. And if I turn those on and off, you can see that this is the navigation. I then have this Logo folder that holds the logo, and then I have this background folder, and I will turn that on and off. That provides the texture and some additional text for this file. So if I zoom out, you can see there's some additional text out here. If I just select this content folder, so what I want to happen for this design is I want this content to rotate around and then display, say, the Portfolio section or the About section or the Video section.
It's all going to be like twirling and rotating to reveal the appropriate section. So that's what I want it to do, and those extra items are all in the background folder. All right. I am not going to do anything tricky. All I am going to do is Save, and I am going to make sure it's saved in the Exercise Files folder/Assets/design, and that's the Design.psd. That's where this file is being saved, so I know where to get it from when I go into Flash.
So with my index.fla opened, what I want to do is I want to go to File > Import > Import to Stage. From there, I can dig into the Exercise Files folder/Assets/design, and select that PSD, and click Import. I love how Flash gives me this wizard for importing files, so I can click on all of these various layers and I can decide what I want to import.
Say, for instance, I don't need to import this black background, so I will just uncheck that. For the image layer, I can make sure that gets imported. And then I have this content folder. Well, I can import that content folder, but I can import it as a movie clip, so I am given multiple options over here on the right-hand side. I am going to create a movie clip for this layer. So when in doubt, make it a movie clip, because it's going to give you more flexibility. But what a movie clip is, it's just a container for any content you want.
So I can animate movie clips. I can add interactivity to them. I can do lots of things with them. So when in doubt, just make it a movie clip and it will give you lots of flexibility. And within this content movie clip, there's going to be additional items. So I can select this Portfolio layer, which is a text layer, and I can make it Editable text. And I might want to make this a movie clip as well. So that's what I want to do for each one of these text items, make it a text layer, and then make it a movie clip. In general, there's going to be a text field that exists inside of this movie clip.
The Logo folder, if I twirl that down, you can see that it contains many different items as well, but for this Logo folder, I want to create a movie clip for it, and I want to make sure this text is Editable as well, just in case I misspelled something or whatever the case may be. I could even import Vector objects, so I am going to select this Cross, so these are the different crossbars that make up the Cross. I can import it as Editable paths and layer styles.
So in general, if it says import is Editable, you probably want to do that. Our last area is this background. Again, I am inside of this content movie clip. Here are some additional text items, and I want to import as Editable text. Again, if I misspelled something or if I decide I need to change it, I can go ahead and do that. Here's my gradient, so this is the big gradient. I can just go ahead and leave that as is, but be aware that it is in the background folder. All right.
Everything is looking great and it's ready to be imported. Last thing I want to do is to review this bottom area. I want to Convert all the layers to Flash layers, and place those layers at their original position. I am not going to worry about the stage size, because I already have that set up. Go ahead and select OK, and it will import the design. Now, I can use this Navigator to change my viewable area, say down to 25%, and I can see that here's all of my content.
Quite frankly, I do need to move this into position. I can select this content and I can move it around. In general, everything has been placed at its original position. And instead of using this Navigator, I can go ahead and use Command+Plus to zoom in and Minus to zoom out, but in general, I want to start to align this up in my stage area. Now, I can kind of eyeball it and see if I can get it close, or I can go to Window, down to the Align panel, and I can go ahead and align it to the stage.
So Align panel, I am going to make sure this is depressed. I pressed that down and it's going to Align Vertical to the stage and then I want to go ahead and Align Horizontal to the stage. So you see it shift a little bit, and in general, that's what the Align panel does. So it's looking good. I have that stuff positioned appropriately. Take a look at the Timeline panel. Sure enough, it imported those layers appropriately. Turn off that content layer and you can see the image layer, there it is. I can turn that on and off.
If I select this content layer and I look at my Properties panel, you can see that it is a movie clip, it came in as a movie clip, and it's an instance of the content. And I can double-click on it and start to take a look at all the different items within this movie clip. I can see that this About button is an instance of the movie clip, and if I double-click on it, I can see that there's the text and I can go ahead and edit it. All right. Notice how deep I am, and I want you to be aware of these breadcrumbs, because I am actually inside of the About movie clip.
Well, to get back out, to edit anything else in the previous movie clip, I would click content. Now I can adjust anything else I may need to adjust. And then I can go out, again, to Scene 1, otherwise known as your stage, to work on the stage. But in general, that's how it works. If I want to edit a movie clip, it's just a matter of double-clicking on it and then you will be inside of that movie clip. In this case, I am inside of content_mc. All right. There's another way to do that as well.
There's all this content that I have imported. If I open up my Library panel, you can see, here's my Library folder and here's all of my content that I have imported. So again, I can just double-click on this movie clip and then edit content in here as well. And again, just be aware of where you are. Always click on Scene 1 to go back, but in general, you can see that you can easily import any design from other programs, such as Illustrator or Fireworks or Photoshop.
You can import them. It maintains the integrity of the design, so you can then start animating or adding interactivity, if you want to, in Flash.
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