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Mordy Golding demonstrates how to be more productive, efficient, and creative by taking advantage of Adobe Illustrator to create pixel-perfect web graphics and interactive Flash content. Illustrator CS4 for the Web investigates the pros and cons of pixel- and vector-based web graphics, demonstrates efficient workflows, and explores the creative options available in Illustrator. Mordy also covers design techniques, such as creating typography that works well on screen, adding reflections, and making Flash animations. He discusses new Illustrator CS4 features, including using multiple artboards, bringing art into Dreamweaver, and utilizing Flash Catalyst. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we have created a Blend here inside of Illustrator, but what we haven't done is converted them to layers, so that they will actually be animated when we export the file. So how do I get this Blend that has all these steps in it to turn into a whole bunch of layers? I don't want to use a manual process. I don't want to have to expand the Blend and then basically take each of these individual objects, create a whole bunch of layers, and add them manually to those layers. Instead, I will use a feature inside of Illustrator called Release to Layers. I will show you what I mean. What I am going to do is I am actually going to take the Blend and turn them into layers but without touching any artwork on my page.
I am going to come over here to the Layers panel and in the Surfer layer. I am going to click on the word Blend. By selecting the Blend in this way, I have basically selected the Blend layers but I have not touched any artwork on the screen itself. The function called Release to Layers applies to the Layers panel and not to the artwork itself. So with the Blend highlighted, I am now going to come to the flyout menu of the Layers panel, I am going to choose an option called Release to Layers. Now, Release to Layers comes in two different flavors: Sequence and Build. The Build option basically adds each of the surfers one after the other. However, Sequence will make it appear as if he is moving across the screen.
So I will choose the Release to Layers (Sequence) option, and you will see right away that Illustrator created all these layers for me. It basically broke apart the Blend for me and put them on to layers. So now I am ready to see the animation. I go to the File menu. I will choose Save for Web & Devices. I will choose SWF for File Format, and I will make sure that my layers are being converted to SWF frames. Let's change my Frame Rate to something smaller, like 3 Frames per Second. Then I will go ahead and I will choose to Preview in Browser. Here you can see that that Blend now got turned into an animation. You will also notice by the way that the surfer is going backwards.
Let's take a look at how we can correct that. I am going to have it come back into Illustrator; let's Cancel out of Save for Web. I am going to press Undo once to go back right before I applied the Release to Layers command. I will simply come over here and select the Blend one more time. I go to the Object menu, and I will choose Blend, and then I will choose Reverse Front to Back. In this case I have now basically told the Blend to go in the other direction. Rather than ask to repeat the steps that I just showed you before, let me show you yet another way that you can actually convert a Blend into an animation. The beauty of the method that I am about to show you right now is that it does not require you to expand the Blend at all. So we are not going to use the Release to Layers feature. In doing so, I will always have a live Blend that I can work with. So not if, but when my client request changes, I can easily make those changes.
Let me deselect my artwork here, and rather than choose the Save for Web command, I am going to go to the File menu, and I will choose Export. From this menu where it says Format, I am going to choose Flash or SWF, and I will choose to export that and I get this dialog box. Here I can choose to export my file, not only as a regular static Flash file, but I can convert all of my layers to SWF frames. I will also Clip my artwork to the Artboard Size, and I will click on the Advanced button. Because I have specified that I want to turn my layers into frames, there are many different options now available specifically for animation that I can adjust.
For example, for Frame Rate, I am going to go ahead and change that to 4 Frames Per Second. I will set the animation to Loop, and take a look at this option, Animate Blends. That basically tells Illustrator, hey, whenever you find a Blend, just simply go in and animate it, and in this regard, I don't need to manually release them to layers. I will choose to animate this in sequence, and now I will click on the Web Preview to see what that looks like. So now you can see that I have actually converted my Blend into an animation. I have also reversed it, so that now the surfer is going in the correct direction, and I have created all the elements that I need to create a really cool Flash animation inside of Illustrator.
However, there are a few things still missing. First of all, for example, notice how it rotates between all the different layers. I really would like that Background layer to appear in every single frame of my animation. Likewise, I also will need to adjust the timing of this animation. But don't worry. That will all come in due time. For now, you have the elements that you need to create the animation that you want.
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