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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.
Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Flash Professional are both vector-based applications. But before we learn how these applications work together, let's take a moment to explore some of the common workflows that exist between these applications. Now the first thing I want to talk about is a common misconception out there. That SWF and Flash are the same thing. Sometimes people use those phrases interchangeably. But they really refer to two different things and throughout the rest of our title here, when we refer to SWF or S-W-F, that is the final delivery format of a file, a file that's uploaded to the web and it's played back to the Flash Player. However, Flash is the actual application that authors these files. In other words, a SWF file is what is created by the Flash application.
Now the reality is that you can create a SWF file without using Flash at all. When we're using Illustrator and Flash there are really two ways to think about delivering these SWF graphics to the web. We can either work entirely inside of Illustrator and export our graphics to SWF directly using Illustrator or we can design artwork inside of Illustrator and then bring those into Flash and then create the SWF out of Flash. Obviously, Flash Professional, the application, can do a lot more to a SWF file than you can do inside of Illustrator. For example, Flash developers spend a lot of time writing custom ActionScripts to make Flash files do just what they want them to do. Illustrator doesn't have that capability. But we'll spend some time exploring the benefits of creating SWF directly out of Illustrator or exporting artwork from Illustrator and bringing them to the Flash application.
Keeping that in mind, there are three common workflows that exist. Designer only workflows are those in which there is only one person is really working on all the artwork. That person is in charge of look and feel of what you're trying to create. In such cases you may design all your work inside of Illustrator and export to SWF directly or if you are a designer who knows how to use Flash, you may save your files as an Illustrator file and then bring that into the Flash application. Then there are developers. These are people who primarily work inside of code and as such they're probably more familiar with working inside of the Flash application. So if you're a developer, you'll probably care more about how easy it is to bring artwork from Illustrator, which may be handed off to you by a designer, and bring that directly into your coding environment inside of Flash.
Finally, there is the designer/ developer workflow. Here is an established relationship between a team of people. Some people who are maybe just in-charge of the visual look and feel of a particular website or an interactive graphic, and then you have a developer who is involved in making sure that the code works. Traditionally, there has always been a big divide between the designers and the developers. But because Flash and Illustrator work so well with each other, we'll learn how easy it is to create artwork inside of Illustrator and then when that artwork gets brought into Flash, it has all the functionality built into it. This means a designer can focus on making sure the artwork looks just right inside of their design application, Illustrator, and know that when that artwork is brought into Flash, it will be completely functional and useful for a developer.
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