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Information on how to learn Flash is prevalent, but it can be frustrating to understand how to make an entire working web site using this unique technology. Here's a course that cuts through the clutter and offers practical tools for creating a dynamic web site, even for first-time developers. In Creating a First Web Site with Flash CS4 Professional, veteran Flash instructor Paul Trani simplifies the process of integrating animation, video, audio, and user interactivity to create a site that is dynamic and appealing. The goal of this hands-on workshop is to teach web site-building skills for today’s demanding interactive industry. Exercise files accompany the course.
Video does add a new dimension to your site that viewers have really come to expect these days. Luckily, it's so easy to add video to a Flash web site with full creative control; it's going to be hard not to add it to your site. So you can see that's what I want to do in this area. So I click on frame 10, the About section. Right here is a perfect spot for video. In this About section, I want a video to play right on this billboard. So the first thing I need to do is scroll down in my Timeline and locate this movie clip. So if I select it, it's the About movie clip. Inside of that movie clip is where I want to add the video.
So I'm going to double-click to enter the About section as you can see. I'm now in the About section inside of this About movie clip. So from here, I want to go ahead and add a new layer. In the Timeline, I click this New Layer icon and then I'm going to change its name to video. This is where I'm going to add my video. So I'm going to go to File > Import, and I'm going to import this video that I have located on my computer. I have different options here. But I'm just going to Browse to my file first.
Now, notice inside of your Exercise Files folder, there is an Assets folder, and inside of there, there is a Video folder. Inside of this Video folder, you will find this FLV file for Flash video. But note that I can also import other formats as well. So if I twirl down this dropdown menu, I can see that I can add an FLV, an F4V, MPEG files, even a QuickTime Movie file as well, or even Mobile Device files in addition to all these other ones.
So really if I'm even using a QuickTime Movie or any of these, I can grab them, select it, select Open, and now it's ready to pull it in. But I'm given some additional options. What I have currently selected is loading this external video with the playback component. I do want to use this playback component because it's really powerful, and I want to make sure that it's not embedded, but it's an external video that's being loaded in. Now, if I did want to embed it, I would select the Embed FLV in SWF and play in the Timeline, but that's going to make my file size really large. Lastly, this is if I was going to make a video for Mobile Devices, I would select that last option.
But most of the time, you are going to load in an external video with the playback component. So that's what I have selected. If I had a video already on a web server, I would select this last option. But again, most of the time you want to load in an external video and select Next. Now, what you are given is this Skinning menu. From here, if I click on that dropdown list, I can select the different types of skins that are available. So I have the SkinOverAll, which are basically all the buttons available in this skin, or I can say, Hey! Use them all except for the caption, NoCaption.
If I just start clicking my down-arrow, I can start toggling through all these different types. In fact, here is a real simple one with just a Play button. Well, in my case since I'm given the illusion this is on a billboard, I don't want to have any skin whatsoever. So I'm going to select None. Even though I can easily change the color of the skin, that really doesn't help me either. In this case, I want to select None. Okay. With None selected, I'm going to click Next and it just reminds me where my video is located. It gives me some other helpful tips as well. I'm going to click Finish, and now my video is in my Timeline. It's in the About movie clip and I can click and drag it and move it over.
Now, notice that the billboard is at an angle. Sure enough, I can treat video that's loaded in here, just like I can any other element. So with this video selected, I can choose my Free Transform tool and I can rotate it to make it match that angle better. Not only that, if I roll over this edge, I can skew it by clicking and dragging. So it's even more in line with how the billboard is. So let's go ahead and get that closed. I think that's looking pretty good, but I really won't know until I test it.
So let's go to Control > Test Movie, and let's see how this looks. Again, it's in the About section. There is my video, and it's playing at the correct angle of that billboard. But still the illusion isn't fully there because it's not sitting perfectly on that billboard. So what I want to do next is mask out this video, so it works out perfectly and fully. You get the idea that it is on the billboard. All right, so here I'm back in the About movie clip. I'm going to click on the Timeline and here is my video.
It is on the Video layer and in order to mask out part of it, I'm just going to add a new layer, and I'm going to call this New Layer Mask. Now from here, I want to go ahead and create my mask. But I need to see the billboard in the background. So I need to turn off that Video layer. Now, if I select the Pen tool, I can draw my mask. Now, the color doesn't matter at all because again it's a mask. But I can come in here and click, and create a mask by outlining the billboard including these little lights down there too. It truly shows that it's on that billboard.
This is really the power of Flash being able to modify video and integrate a video into a web site as if it is any other element. So I have created my outline, and in order to make it a mask, I need to select the Paint Bucket tool, and I need to fill this stroke that I just made with Pen tool, just by clicking. Now, there is a slight gap in the edge of one of these. I can always adjust my Paint Bucket tool using these properties down here.
So I'm going to change this to Close Large Gaps. So if there is any space in my line, apparently there is, I can take care of that by selecting Close Large Gaps. Now, when I click, it fills that area entirely. Sure enough, if I click that mask layer, there is my Fill Color and my mask is good to go, but it's not a mask yet. I need to do this one step to make it a mask, which is right-click on the layer and select Mask. Now, it masks out that layer below it. In fact, it gives me the icon that shows me it's masking out this layer below it.
So let's go ahead and see if this works. If I turn that back on, I can see that it is masking it out. Lastly, let's test it, Control > Test Movie. I'm going to go to the About section. There is my video, playing perfectly on that billboard, and it looks great. As you can see incorporating and manipulating video is as easy as manipulating any other graphic in Flash, giving you total creative control.
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