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In InDesign CS5: Interactive Documents and Presentations, Adobe Certified Instructor and designer James Fritz shows print designers how to use InDesign by itself and in conjunction Flash Professional to layout and design a wide range of digital documents. The course provides a tour of digital publishing trends, showing real-world examples of what can be achieved through InDesign. Several start-to-finish projects are also included, such as creating a presentation with transitions and animations, and building an interactive microsite. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you're ready to hand off your layout to Flash Professional, you might be tempted to just export it immediately. But there are some things to check for to ensure a smooth transition. Just like when you are preparing for Print, you need to check for certain problems. But preparing for Flash has its own set of circumstances that you need to adjust before you can export reliably. The first thing we need to do is clean up our layout to remove any unnecessary elements. I'm going to zoom out to a bird's eye view and remove anything extra on the baseboard. For example, I don't really need these text frames over here so I'm just going to remove those. Now with those gone, I can zoom back in and the next step is to remove all of the layers I am not using.
There is no content on a layer I don't really need it, and it's going to be unnecessary inside the Flash file. So by going inside the Layers panel menu, I can choose Delete Unused Layers. The next step is color. We want to be sure that we are working in RGB, whereas the InDesign can go to print and onscreen, Flash is web-only or on- screen only which means it can only use RGB. So I am going to open up my Swatches panel and inside the Swatches panel I have three different CMYK colors right now. I am going to hold the Shift key and grab all three of these, Right-click or Ctrl+Click my mouse, and choose Swatch Options.
In here you are going to see the Color mode is CMYK. I am going to change that to RGB and I'll click OK. Now I've got my colors converted. The next area is going to be our images. We want to make sure all of for linked images are going to be RGB instead of CMYK. By going over to our Links panel, I can check to make sure that they're all RGB which it looks like they were. But if one of these was CMYK, I could select them and do an Edit Original and bring it to Photoshop and convert it there. Text wrap is another area of concern. While InDesign handles text wrap with no problem, Flash has no idea what text wrap is and if you bring in an InDesign file that has text wrap into Flash Professional, it's going to pretend it doesn't even exist, and it won't be pretty.
To fix this, we need to remove all of the text wrap inside our layout or better yet don't even design with it. Well to ensure that there is no text wrap in our layout I'm going to run a Find/Change. I am going to hit Command+F on the Mac or Ctrl+F on the PC to bring up my Find/Change dialog. I want to make sure I am in the Object field and I am going to change the Change Object Format. I am going to click in there and go to Text Wrap & Other and choose No Text Wrap and click OK. So right now I'm going to say Find Object Format is nothing. That means it's going to find every single frame in the entire layout.
I want to make sure my search is the entire document and it's all of my frames, and then I am going to apply a No Text Wrap to it. I'll hit a Change All, and it found 89 objects and removed text wrap on 89 objects. We will click OK and click Done. Now that we've finished our text wrap we need to visually inspect our layout to ensure that there are no unnecessary changes. So by scrolling down the first page looks good, second page looks good, third spread, well... It looks like we've got a couple of Text Wrap problems. It looks like this picture must've had a text wrap on it that was bouncing the text away from the edge.
Well we just going to have to resize this and bring this up here. Okay, that looks better. Then move down to the next spread, and we will select this frame, and we are going to bring this one up here. Okay that looks good. And then finally the last frame. That one looks fine, no problems at all. Now we have got our text wrap finished. Now there are few FLA transfer issues that we need to be careful with. There are some areas that we need to avoid. One of them is Span and Split columns. This is a wonderful new feature inside InDesign, but it does not transfer to Flash. If you're using this feature inside InDesign, it will not appear inside Flash at all.
It will appear that you've never used it at all. If you want the appearance of this, you're going to have to go back to the CS4 and earlier days where you were manually creating this effect. If you're using Styles, which is great, you should be using them. Realize that they will no longer update if you happen to make any changes. For example, if you have a GREP style that applies and attributes to just color whenever you see URL, that will no longer update if you had another URL to the text inside Flash. It has no comprehension of those types of styles. So however it is inside InDesign, its how it will look inside Flash, regardless of any changes that you happen to make.
Text on a path does not necessarily transfer very well. While you will get the appearance of that inside Flash Professional, the text does get rasterized. Interactivity has another area of concern. One of the biggest ones is Transparency. If you put transparent items over your buttons or your animations they will not transfer inside Flash. So be careful with this. You want to use layers to make sure that your interactive elements are above everything else to ensure that there is no unnecessary transparency on top of your elements. You also need to know that your actions will not transfer. So if you have a button to go to a particular page or to hide or show a button none of the actions will work in Flash. That'll have to be developed by you or your Flash developer inside Flash.
Finally, with media, if you have any media such as video or audio placed inside your InDesign layout, the poster images will transfer into Flash, but the links to them will not. You are going to have to relink them with Flash Professional. Luckily, when you export to FLA, a Resources folder will be created and all of your media assets such as your MP3s and FLV files will be in there ready to add with Flash Professional. If you are preparing your layout for Flash export, it is important to remember that this is a one-way exchange. After handing your file over to Flash, you will not be able up to receive it again inside InDesign.
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