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Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation

From: Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

Video: Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation

You know, as they often say, timing is everything, and when it comes to Illustrator and creating animations, it's really important to get the timing set correctly. However, because Illustrator is really just using blends to simulate motion, there is no such concept of this timing at all inside of Illustrator. In fact, we don't even have frames; all we have are simply these layers, and we're making believe that those layers are going to become frames, and if we find any blends, we're going to animate them. It's really all just the hack, if you think about it. It's kind of cool that you can do it inside of Illustrator, but we really need to make sure that our timing is done correctly.

Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation

You know, as they often say, timing is everything, and when it comes to Illustrator and creating animations, it's really important to get the timing set correctly. However, because Illustrator is really just using blends to simulate motion, there is no such concept of this timing at all inside of Illustrator. In fact, we don't even have frames; all we have are simply these layers, and we're making believe that those layers are going to become frames, and if we find any blends, we're going to animate them. It's really all just the hack, if you think about it. It's kind of cool that you can do it inside of Illustrator, but we really need to make sure that our timing is done correctly.

So, to get around this problem about timing, we're going to have to kind of fudge around a little bit with the layers. Let me show you, specifically, what I mean. As we know, we have something called the frame rate inside of Illustrator, specifically for exporting Flash content. That means that each frame will play, and I'll have certain number of frames playing every second. I know that I have the ability to set certain layers to be static layers, so right now my Background layer, I know I am going to be setting as a static layer, and then I'll have this animation play. Then I'll go to this layer, then I'll go to this layer, go to this layer, so on and so forth.

But what I really want it to do is play the animation, and then I want to display this Backpack Cali on its own, and let it pause here for just a moment. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell just this one layer to kind of stop at this one point. So to get around that problem, what we can actually do is just duplicate this layer several times, and what's really going to be happening is that we'll see multiple layers playing, but since all the layers look exactly the same, it will appear as if the animation is pausing at that point. So to do that, I am actually going to take this entire layer right here and simply drag it to the New Layer Icon to duplicate that layer.

Notice over here, I have created Backpack Cali copy. Now I want it to pause for, you know, some amount of time, so I am actually going to create maybe several copies. I am going to take this copy, make a copy of it, make a copy of it, and let's make a copy of this. So I now have, if I look at my Layers panel here - let's kind of extend it down a little bit here - I have the first version, and then I have four copies of it right here. And I am going to do the same thing for the other ones as well. So I'll take the California Calm one, drag that over here, and let's make some copies of that as well.

Finally, I'll make several copies of the Desert to Sea layer as well. So now, you can see what's happening inside of the animation. I am going to have the Background layer, which is set to static. It'll play the blend, but then it's going to appear to pause as these five layers play. Then I'll see the next animation, and once again, it will appear to pause as these five layers play. So I am actually going to go ahead now and just turn on all of my layers. By the way, a nice way to do that is just to Option+Click on any empty layer. If you Option+Click on a layer or Alt+Click if you're on Windows, that will either toggle visibility for all the layers that are currently available in your document or hide them.

So now all my layers are visible. I am now going to go to File menu and choose Export. We'll choose SWF or Flash here. Export that. Convert my Illustrator layers to SWF Frames. Clip to Artboard Size. Let's go to Advanced. Let's change the Frame Rate to 8 frames per second, set it to loop. We'll animate our blends in sequence, and we'll export the Background layer as a static layer. Now I'll click on the Web Preview button, and I could see that the animation plays and pauses just a moment before the next animation begins.

Of course, if I want a longer pause, I would just add a few more copies of that layer. Now if you take that layer itself and you turn it into a symbol, you're also ensuring that the file size is not going to get too large. So that's how you would actually control timing. As I said earlier on, it's really a hack because Illustrator doesn't even have a concept of animation at all. But what we're simply doing is taking several different layers, taking some blends, defining motion, turning them into an animation that can export as a SWF directly out of Illustrator.

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Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

74 video lessons · 23844 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 6m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Choosing Illustrator for web and interactive design
      2m 54s
    3. Illustrator and the web design workflow
      2m 7s
    4. Using the exercise files
      22s
  2. 40m 9s
    1. Pixel dimension vs. resolution
      4m 14s
    2. Pixel Preview mode and anti-aliasing
      5m 39s
    3. Taking charge of anti-aliasing
      5m 27s
    4. Choosing the right color management settings
      7m 25s
    5. Setting up important preferences
      6m 22s
    6. Setting up a workspace optimized for web design
      11m 2s
  3. 54m 5s
    1. Using the Web document profile
      3m 39s
    2. Creating custom document profiles
      9m 38s
    3. Using Illustrator's free web templates
      2m 33s
    4. Creating a sitemap or wireframe
      2m 50s
    5. Setting up an entire web site
      9m 33s
    6. Setting up a grid
      10m 37s
    7. Setting up an online ad campaign
      8m 13s
    8. Setting up icons for iOS
      2m 24s
    9. Setting up mobile content with Adobe Device Central
      4m 38s
  4. 32m 22s
    1. Understanding web-safe colors
      11m 50s
    2. Limiting the Color Guide to web-safe colors
      4m 53s
    3. Using Recolor Art to convert art to web-safe colors
      4m 54s
    4. Getting color inspiration from Adobe Kuler
      6m 48s
    5. Using Recolor Artwork to modify colors across a site
      3m 57s
  5. 56m 54s
    1. Using the Save for Web & Devices feature
      6m 44s
    2. Understanding the GIF file format and its settings
      10m 20s
    3. Understanding the JPEG file format and its settings
      7m 39s
    4. Understanding the PNG file format and its settings
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding the WBMP file format and its settings
      1m 18s
    6. Understanding the SWF file format and its settings
      4m 13s
    7. Understanding the SVG file format and its settings
      3m 41s
    8. Adjusting the dimensions of a graphic
      4m 46s
    9. Optimizing files to a specific file size
      4m 5s
    10. Modifying Save for Web & Devices output settings
      6m 51s
    11. Previewing content in Adobe Device Central
      3m 56s
  6. 56m 6s
    1. Setting point type in Illustrator
      4m 11s
    2. Setting area type in Illustrator
      5m 20s
    3. Formatting text quickly with paragraph styles
      14m 39s
    4. Overriding formatting with character styles
      3m 2s
    5. Controlling text anti-aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      11m 14s
    7. Adding cool reflections to text and graphics
      8m 26s
    8. Applying settings quickly with Graphic Styles
      4m 24s
  7. 35m 56s
    1. Understanding the concept of slicing
      3m 22s
    2. Creating slices manually
      4m 26s
    3. Creating slices from guides
      2m 45s
    4. Creating slices from objects
      7m 33s
    5. Understanding the different slice types
      4m 20s
    6. Applying settings to slices
      9m 20s
    7. Creating hotspots with image maps
      4m 10s
  8. 23m 35s
    1. Exporting static SWF files from Illustrator
      3m 35s
    2. Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames
      4m 3s
    3. Animated SWF: Using blends to define motion
      8m 35s
    4. Animated SWF: Adding static artwork to an animation
      3m 24s
    5. Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation
      3m 58s
  9. 17m 13s
    1. Preserving slices and structure with PSD export
      6m 10s
    2. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      4m 35s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Photoshop
      2m 52s
    4. Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop
      3m 36s
  10. 7m 28s
    1. Exporting HTML from Illustrator for use in Dreamweaver
      3m 31s
    2. Exporting CSS and DIVs from an Illustrator layout
      3m 57s
  11. 12m 37s
    1. Moving art between Illustrator and Fireworks
      6m 25s
    2. Using dynamic shapes from Fireworks
      3m 48s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Fireworks
      2m 24s
  12. 16m 7s
    1. Building files for use in Flash Catalyst
      4m 28s
    2. Creating a new Flash Catalyst project from an Illustrator file
      3m 40s
    3. Copying and pasting artwork between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      2m 4s
    4. Roundtrip editing between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      3m 36s
    5. Creating Flex skins for use in Flash Builder
      2m 19s
  13. 19m 48s
    1. Understanding symbols: The lifeblood of Flash
      4m 58s
    2. Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling
      4m 18s
    3. Setting text that will be used in Flash Professional
      3m 5s
    4. Moving artwork between Illustrator and Flash Professional
      7m 27s
  14. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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