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Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames

From: Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

Video: Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames

Flash uses something called frame-based animation. That means that you have several frames inside of a timeline. As you move from one frame to the next inside of the timeline, as things change in each frame, it appears as if there's some kind of motion happening inside of the file. Now, Illustrator doesn't have this concept of frames; however, Illustrator does have layers, and there's a setting inside of Illustrator that allows you to turn layers into Flash frames, and this allows us to create some kind of an animation.

Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames

Flash uses something called frame-based animation. That means that you have several frames inside of a timeline. As you move from one frame to the next inside of the timeline, as things change in each frame, it appears as if there's some kind of motion happening inside of the file. Now, Illustrator doesn't have this concept of frames; however, Illustrator does have layers, and there's a setting inside of Illustrator that allows you to turn layers into Flash frames, and this allows us to create some kind of an animation.

Now, the example I want to talk about here in this movie is creating some kind of an animated web banner, where we're basically rotating between different possible specials here and this Monthly Specials ad banner. You'll notice that over here, in this document that's called animated_banner, I have several layers. I have one layer called Backpack Cali, one called California Calm, and one called Desert to Sea. If I go ahead now and I turn off these top two layers, you can see what this layer looks like. Then I could turn on this layer, and then I could turn on this layer. Basically, when I export a SWF out of Illustrator, I can instruct the Export function to turn each of my Illustrator layers into frames of the Flash file, and that will play back basically one layer after the other.

So, if we think about how this is going to export, if I turn off all of my layers right now, I'll see one frame that has this layer inside of it. Then I'll see another frame that has this layer inside of it. Then I'll see another frame that has this layer inside of it. So, as long as I set up my artwork using layers in this way, I can very easily get animation. Now, we'll talk later about the concept of using symbols here, because as we know, if we use symbols inside of a SWF animation, that can reduce the file size. So, if you think about it, right now, I have a whole banner that exists on three different layers.

So really, I'm creating a SWF that has three separate pieces of artwork inside of it. However, if I can identify certain parts of the artwork that don't change, for example, there is the entire background here and the logo, well, if I would turn that into a symbol, even though those symbols appear on each of the layers, they're only stored once inside of my file. But for now, at least in this example here, I want to get some kind of familiarity with the concept of thinking about layers as frames in an animation. So we just have three completely separate layers here. I'm going to turn all these layers on, because when we use the Save for Web function, if there are hidden layers, then those layers don't get exported at all.

So, I have all my layers turned on, I'm now going to go to the File menu, and I'm going to choose Save for Web & Devices. Now, for my file format, I'm going to choose SWF, but let's take a little closer look at some of the settings that appear here. Now, Illustrator has two options when dealing with SWF files. I could export my Illustrator file as a single SWF file, or I can choose to convert my Illustrator layers into Flash frames. I'm going to choose that second option. I could also choose a Frame Rate. This means how many times per second the frames actually change.

Now, default setting here inside of Illustrator is set to 12, 12 frames per second. That means that each frame is only visible for a 12th of the second. Well, that's not really enough time to actually read this content. So, I'm actually going to change this frame rate. I want to slow things down. I want a person to actually have some time to actually see this. I'm going to change the Frame Rate to 0.5. So that basically means that each frame will be visible for two seconds. Next, I want to make sure that the animation is set to loop. This means that it will constantly repeat itself. Right now, I have three layers in my file.

When the third layer becomes visible, I want it to go back to the first layer again. Finally, let's go ahead and preview this in our browser. I'm going to click on the button over here to preview this in Safari. You can see that right now I've created this file that animates. It's a Flash animation, and it's a rotating ad banner. Each layer from my Illustrator file has become now a Flash frame, and that's why I'm seeing the animation here. So let's go back over here to Save for Web. I'm going to click Cancel, and for quick and easy animation, all you really need to do inside of Illustrator is create several layers and then export it as a Flash file.

Just remember to choose the setting to convert Illustrator layers into Flash frames.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design
Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

74 video lessons · 23903 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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