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In Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects, Paul Trani shows how to create dynamic and visually rich animations in Flash Professional CS5. This course demonstrates how to create and import assets, and then take those assets and bring them to life with dynamic motion. It also shows how to create more unique and natural movement by adding special effects, 3D, masks, and even bones to animate characters. Exercise files accompany the course.
Although Flash's drawing capabilities are powerful, you probably want to import some graphics as well, and that's what I want to do with this image here. I have it opened in Photoshop, and it's called homeBkgd.jpg, and I just want to show you, if I go to Image > Image Size, that it's a 72 dpi image, and it is an RGB image as well, and it's actually set up to the height of my document in Flash. So I am going to cancel out of there, and I am also going to show you this homeForeground.png, because I want to import this file.
This happens to be a PNG file, so it has varying levels of transparency. So that's going to come across nicely. It is my foreground image and then lastly, what I want to do is import an Illustrator file, which I will get to in a little bit. But let me go back into Flash, and the first thing I need to do is create a new layer, and on this new layer, I am going to put in the background. So I am going to rename that layer to background, and I am just going to click and drag it underneath all of the current layers.
So with that layer selected, I am going to go to File > Import, and Import to Stage. Then I can locate the homeBkgd.jpg. But I do also want to point out all of the different file formats that you can import. There is quite a few in here. All of the popular file formats for images, video, and audio are able to be imported into Flash. I am importing a JPEG and a PNG file, as well an Illustrator file. But I am going to select this file and click Open, and there it is, on my stage.
You can see that graphic. With it selected, if I go to the Properties panel, you can see that it's an instance of the homeBkgd. But what this is missing are all of the various properties that you are able to control if it's a movie clip. So what if I want to, say, blur the background or give it a drop shadow or change its layer mode? Well, I have to convert that into a movie clip, and that's what I want to do next. Let's open up my Library panel. There is the JPEG, but in general, I am going to click and drag that into the Library panel to convert this to a symbol.
This symbol is going to be called background, and it's of the type: Movie Clip. Click OK, and now I can see in my Properties panel that I have sort of full control over this image now. All right, next step. I am going to create a new layer, and this new layer is for the foreground. With that layer selected, I am going to go to File > Import, and Import to Stage, and I will locate that PNG file.
I will click Open, and then there it appears on the stage: the image of the lady and the guy with unusually long legs. That's actually not going to be noticeable when I start animating it. But in general, I am going to do the same thing that I did earlier, just to click and drag that graphic into the Library panel and call it foreground, and it is going to be a movie clip as well. Click OK. Now that's set up. The last thing I want to import is actually going to be a logo from Illustrator.
So I want to show you that file. Here I am in Illustrator, and here is my graphic, and I'd like to point out, in the Layers panel, that there is only one layer, and it's called Logo. Now, I could have multiple layers with plenty of graphics, and what will happen is Flash will import all of those layers separately. Very powerful. In this case, it's just this Logo Illustrator file that I am going to import. So I am going to go back to Flash. In Flash, select any layer.
It really doesn't matter. I am just going to make sure it's not locked. But when I import this Illustrator file, it's actually going to create the layers for me, so I don't need to create my layers right now. So I am going to go to File > Import > Import > Import to Stage, locate that Illustrator file, it happens to be in the home folder, which is in our assets folder, and I will click Open. Then I am given this import wizard. Now, I can actually control how this is imported. What I want to do is I will just close up that layer, but in general, I want to select that layer and select Create movie clip, because I want to automatically convert this layer into a movie clip, and then make sure it gets positioned on its own Flash layer. Click OK.
There is my layer. You can see that it automatically adds that layer in my timeline called Logo. Now what I want to do is start positioning everything a little bit more appropriately, and when you start dealing with larger graphics, it's really hard to tell what the end user will see. Okay, so it's hard to tell where my stage ends. So what I can do is I can go to View, and uncheck Pasteboard. If I uncheck that Pasteboard, I don't see everything; I just see exactly what the user sees, and what they see is all within this area.
But now I can start to position everything and scale down this logo, position it in the upper-right, use my Selection tool and start to move some of these graphics around as well. Again, I am just building this layout that's going to be animated shortly, use my Free Transform tool, sort of manipulate that graphic kind of like that and lastly, let's hold down the Shift key and then just move that text into place, kind of like right down there.
I can even use my Arrow keys for repositioning my items. So I'd say everything looks pretty darn good. If you do happen to notice that you need to edit a graphic that's already imported, well Flash makes it easy, because what I can do is I can double-click on this movie clip here, which happens to be the foreground because I want to edit this image in general. So I can go ahead and double-click on it and what happens is now I am inside of the foreground movie clip, okay. When I am inside of this foreground movie clip, I can actually select this JPEG.
It says it's an instance of the homeForeground.jpg. But if I right-click on that graphic, I can then edit this graphic with Photoshop CS5. It opens up that image. Now I can start to adjust it. So, in this case, all I want to do is use the Dodge tool on some of the midtones to just bring her face out more and some of this other detail. Again, it's going to be subtle, but you can always do the edits you need to do in Photoshop, and once you are done with them, save the file and then go back into Flash.
Now, it might be subtle, but you will be able to see that her face is a little brighter, and now this is all set up. So I am going to click back on Scene 1, and now you can see that here are all my graphics, and now this is actually set up for me to do some animation.
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