Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring new FLA export options, part of InDesign CS5 New Features.
Of course, you can still export to Flash editable files or to SWF files in InDesign CS5. It's a big part of the whole new feature set is the interactivity, but both functions have been improved, or as they call it, enhanced. So let's talk about each of those. We'll start with Export to SWF. First, it's been renamed. If you go to the File menu and go down to Export, which is what we usually did before, what you want to choose is a Flash Player. So it's called Export to Flash Player SWF.
We'll just save this out on our desktop. The Export to SWF dialog box has two panels, General and Advanced. I want to call your attention to some of the new features here, such as Background. It can be the paper color meaning the background of the SWF file will match the paper color that you set in InDesign, or you can set it to Transparent. Now, if you set it to Transparent, then that means you can't do any page transitions or that cool Interactive Page Curl, because it depends on having a solid background color. So I'm going to put it back to paper color and I think this was here before.
You can include all the interactivity in media, of course, or just the appearance only. We're going to do Include All. What I find very useful and advanced is first of all the frame rate. Now what this is referring to is the frame rate of animation and 24 frames per second is the same frame rate that Flash Professional uses for its animation, so that's nice. Then the type of text, you know how text will be converted, that's the same as before. They've kind of changed the names a little bit. In CS4, it was called InDesign Text To Vector Paths, now it's called Convert to Outlines.
In CS4, it was called InDesign Text to Raster Image, now it's called Convert to Pixels. And Flash Classic Text is what it was before. But what is also very interesting here is the resolution. Some people were complaining that when you exported a file to SWF and it automatically changed the resolution to 72 PPI and users would need to zoom in on say a technical drawing or something, then they could zoom in, in their browser, then they would get all pixelated. So you can change that here and set a high-resolution JPEG if you'd like.
Of course, if you do that, you see in the Description, the handy little description will tell you you're going to get larger file sizes, but it allows for zooming in. So, those are the basic new features. We're not actually going to create a SWF because the SWF itself is not that new. It's just some of the new features here. But what is quite a bit new is when you export to editable Flash that you can open up in Flash Professional CS5. That has also been renamed. If we go down to File > Export, we choose this guy right here, Flash CS5 Professional.
It used to be called Adobe Flash CS4 Pro XFL. Now to be clearer, it's telling you you're going to be exporting this to something that can be edited in Flash CS5 Pro, and you're going to be creating a FLA file. So let's click Save. Now what you see here are a lot of the same controls as we had in SWF including being able to export high-res JPEGs. But what is very new here is this new text engine. This is not available for SWF. It really doesn't matter that much for SWFs. It's called TLF Text and I really don't know what that stands for.
I've never seen it actually spelled out, but it means this is a good text. We'll see this actually when I open up this file in Flash, but it means that the text is extremely editable. It doesn't break it up into individual frames per line or even sometimes per word, like what happened with CS4. If something is inside a text frame in InDesign, it remains a text frame in Flash. So let's go ahead and export this file. I just click OK and it's generating the FLA file. Before we take a look, I just want to remind you that what we have here is we have some threaded text frames.
I just pressed Ctrl+A or Command+A to select all to show you the threaded text frames. We have an animation here. We have what's called a multi-state object down here, where we can use buttons to move back and forth through different states of this object. And we have a video. So let's see how much of that is maintained in the Flash file. I'm going to jump over to Flash and open that file and let's zoom out a bit with Command+Minus or Ctrl+Minus.
And there is our spread and we only had one spread. But notice that I can select the text up here and you can see that the text frames are still threaded. And if I zoom in with Command+ Plus or Ctrl+Plus a few times, the line breaks are exactly the same and the text is exactly the same. Now what would happen in previous versions is that if the particular attribute of a character wasn't available in Flash Text, then it would convert it to outlines or rasterize it. But what's different about the TLF Text Engine is that first of all you get a one-to-one relationship between text frames, and second, if Flash can't support that attribute, then it will just drop the attribute.
It'll keep the character editable; it won't convert anything to raster or outline. So that's a good thing. Let me zoom back out and show you something else. So, this here is called a multi-state object. Let me select it with the Selection tool. If I double-click it to zoom in, you see it says slideshow. It's got the name of the multi-state object. Every frame is a different state from the multi-state objects. So multi-state objects are exported to Flash and included in a Flash file as a movie clip symbol.
If you double-click on that object in Flash, you'll see that each state is in its own frame in the movie clip's timeline. All button states are also included, not just normal, and all audio, video and SWF files are also included. Now we can't play this movie, but I don't know if you noticed that in the Finder it exported another folder called Resources. Inside the Resources folder is our FLV video, along with the controller skin as a SWF file that we had chosen to be on top.
So those two new workflow features that were originally introduced in InDesign CS4, Export to SWF and Export to editable Flash file, have been beefed up and greatly enhanced in InDesign CS5.
- Adding spanning heads over columns and splitting columns
- Using the revamped Layers panel
- Editing and customizing motion path presets
- Adding interactive features
- Controlling and managing multiple animations
- Mixing page sizes in a single document
- Publishing to a variety of Flash formats using the enhanced Export dialog
- Creating multi-state objects
- Using the new Gap tool and Gridify techniques