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Notes from An Event Apart Boston 2012 I had a great time at An Event Apart Boston, 2012. Ill post some photos soon. The conference avoided deep dives into code in favor of showing WHY you would do reactive design. As Eric Meyer said "My...

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The difference between classic and motion tweens in... Here it is: If you're used to doing things "the cs3 way" then you can continue to do so with the classic tween tool. It works the same way as you remember, using key frames as normal, but you cannot...

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How to export a Flash Swf as Mov without skipping or losing frames

Category : Flash, My Tutorials

Recently I was hired by a design firm to teach flash to their Art Directors and help them troubleshoot some production problems they were encountering. They had a project that needed to be exported as a .mov file, but when they used the Export tool in Flash their tweens seemed to skip a few frames here and there producing a cringe on everyone who saw it.

First thing to consider: Why use a .mov file at all? The .swf file played FINE. It was in sync and the frame rate was smooth (30fps). Why would someone convert from a perfectly usable file type to a format that has KNOWN conversion issues?

Sadly, the answer was that the client requested it be a .mov and even they didn’t know why. Aside from obscure handhelds there really isn’t any good reason I can think of why you want to convert to a mov file from swf. All you have to do is install a flash player. New toys need new tools. If the client had been educated about the advantages of the swf file they would have made an informed decision. You have to be assertive if you know a better solution exists.

Supposing that you don’t have the above option and you “just have to get it done” then here is what you do to avoid the problem of skipping frames or clipping transitions in mov files created with Flash CS5. This may work for previous versions of flash, but not before CS3, as that’s when the Export to mov feature was added. I should say that there are a host of other problems with this as well which Ill look at in other tutorials, but for now lets move on to the clipping thing which is actually really easy to fix.

When you’re exporting the file, after selecting the file name you have the option to click the QuickTime Settings… button in the bottom left. Doing that will open the Movie Settings Box and you can click on the Setting button to open the Compression Settings.

In the Compression Setting change the Key Frames to All. That’s it. That’s the fix. For best play back you should also set the Frame Rate to Current and it will just use what you’re using on the main timeline. I use 30 because it’s pretty smooth and the math pretty easy.

What this is doing: When you’re saving movies, not every frame contains the whole image. This is done to save space as movies are very very big. So there are Key Frames which work kind of like in flash in that they tell the other frames the complete picture. The frames you see getting clipped in your movies are the frames that are not being saved as a result of the missing frames. Saving every frame as a keyframe makes the file size a bit bigger (in some cases a lot bigger), but that’s not a problem for you because you’re decided you’re making a mov file, which are huge files by any measure. If you want to play it on the web… do it as a flv or swf a mov file is too big.

Thankfully the client here is looking to play it in tradeshows and so forth with people who may or may not have the technical ability to figure out installing flash in the event their laptop is the 3% of people without some sort of flash already installed on their system, but they do have quicktime so thats what they wanted. If you’re looking this up and still with me – you’re clients are probably much the same. Good luck.

Let me hear how this works for you.

Excellent CS4 Kinematics tutorial by layersmagazine

Category : Flash, Great Tutorials

Just discovered a new tutorial site while doing research for my class tonight. Layers Magazine is chuck full of animation tips and great videos about flash. Great articles and I gotta say I really enjoyed the guys teaching style and overall tone.

This tutorial is on using CS4 Kinematics tools. Here I was thinking flash was almost dead and then CS4 comes out to change everything… fantastic work Adobe. The ease of this changes everything.

http://www.layersmagazine.com/flash-cs4-animating-puppets.html

Flash CS4’s new inverse kinematics tools allow users to create and arrange symbols in a collection called an Armature. These armatures contain bones that have relationships with other elements which can be animated. Users can create and control their won dancing puppet.

The difference between classic and motion tweens in Flash CS4

Category : Featured, Flash, Technology

Here it is:

If you’re used to doing things “the cs3 way” then you can continue to do so with the classic tween tool. It works the same way as you remember, using key frames as normal, but you cannot use it like a new CS4 tween function or use 3d tweens.

DOWNSAVING:
If you use only classic tweens you will be able to down save your CS4 documents to CS3 without any problem. Using CS4 motion tweens will result in the whole of your tween turning into keyframes as if you had decompiled the swf. (Which might do the trick, or you might start to cry, depending on how you need to use it.)

CS4 Introduces The new Motion Tween. Why Adobe did not use the old name for the Old way and give the New name to the New function I dont know. CS4 Motion tweens operate totally differently than CS3 motion tweens.

The biggest changes that I see are:

  • Instead of using a motion tween to bridge two key frames – you create a “span” which is editable in totally new ways. You can click and drag the object at any point on the “span” and the movement is already created. This can be HIGHLY ANNOYING until you learn to use the Motion Editor (which will become your new best friend in CS4). You can click, drag, and scale the length of CS4 animations and it preserves the proportional length of segments. This is huge. [You can also select specific keynote (inner span keyframe) by ctrl clicking on PC this allow you to move it independently in the span.]
  • You can copy and paste motions onto new symbols. Snow flake animations [silly example] are a breeze as you can create one and then copy and paste the animation in the same way you can styles in photoshop.
  • If you do animation in flash the Bone Tool will simplify your work. Do some research into it if and you’ll be amazed.

I wasn’t sure where Flash was going. Before CS4 came out I thought Flash was dying. Flash has always been in sort of a strange place when it comes to its role in a website. Developers and clients alike wonder if its for eye candy or if you should use is as the technology to build your whole website on and Im not going to argue that here.

The fact is that a lot of the eyecandy can be replicated with JQuery, so why bother learning Flash? Cs4 has changed all that. Now the question is: where to Flash and After Effects meet?

If you still need more info, of if you are a visual learner. Check out this guys video on CS4 and 3d Tweens. I only wish it was on youtube or some other embeddable video site instead of a downloadable video.

http://www.flashnseo.com/

Category : Cool Websites, Flash, SEO / SEM, Technology

“We CAN’T tell you all the poprietary details, but… We’ve developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way that a person would, by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on. Our algorithm remembers all of the text… “ – Google.

And I’m glad they don’t. Otherwise it would be too easy for every spammer, scraper, and hacker to destroy yet another beautiful thing on the internet. However, for the rest of us with day jobs, it would be nice to know just how Google does what they say they do. Maybe not everything, but “Will a hidden textbox containing variables in layer2 be indexed higher than my content in layer 1 (below layer 2)?” is a reasonable question, and one worth knowing before you broadcast your global variables or GET strings into general search text.

http://www.flashnseo.com/ has you coverd. Flashnseo is a group internet project to discover answers to specific flash SEO questions. They use good old fasion slouthing and trial and error; but it works.

Among the answers already discovered are:

  1. How Google index text embedded in Adobe Flash?
  2. Can Google index external content loaded in Adobe Flash?
  3. Does Google follow links embedded in Adobe Flash?
  4. Can Google index Flash created with JavaScript Object?
  5. Can Google index imported swf files?

Check over their site and get some answers. If you’re in a possition to help please do so.

What are the current technical limitations of Google’s ability to index Flash?

Category : Cool Websites, Flash, SEO / SEM, Technology

There are three main limitations at present, and google is working to resolve them:

1. Googlebot does not execute some types of JavaScript. So if your web page loads a Flash file via JavaScript, Google may not be aware of that Flash file, in which case it will not be indexed.
2. We currently do not attach content from external resources that are loaded by your Flash files. If your Flash file loads an HTML file, an XML file, another SWF file, etc., Google will separately index that resource, but it will not yet be considered to be part of the content in your Flash file.
3. While we are able to index Flash in almost all of the languages found on the web, currently there are difficulties with Flash content written in bidirectional languages. Until this is fixed, we will be unable to index Hebrew language or Arabic language content from Flash files.

We’re already making progress on these issues, so stay tuned!

Flash preloader has delayed visibility or flash preloader is not visible until most of the video is loaded already.

Category : Flash, General Web Info

Problem: Flash preloader has delayed visibility or flash preloader is not visible until most of the video is loaded already.

Solution: You have too many things loading on frame 1. The only thing that should be in the first frame should be your preloader. All code and other content should start on frame 2. This guarantees that your preloader loads first.

If your preloader doesn’t appear until well into the load time then you likely have media content that’s set in the linkage tab to export in the first frame (auto selected when you set it to link with action script). This is important as content that is unused in the movie is not included in the final .swf file, but by loading the content on the first frame it screws with your preloader. The work around is to include the content on frame 3, and have your movie begin on frame 5.

This way the preloader loads on frame 1. Checks and rewinds on frame 2. If all frames are loaded then it goes to frame 5 and plays. It never actually plays the media in frame 3 or 4, but by being in the timeline they are loaded and can still be referenced with variables in action script without disrupting the preloader.

Something I learned while I was working on the litchfieldathleticclub.com site.

Happy coding.