Tip For Adobe Flash TN_12206

Authoring and ActionScript

  1. To quickly see Flash 5 syntax for a script from a Flash 4 file, open the FLA in Flash 5. The script will be converted to the new syntax. (Do not save unless you want the FLA to be permanently converted to a Flash 5 file.)
  2. Preserve rich text (HTML) formatting within editable text boxes using the Text Options panel.
  3. Automatically link text blocks to URLs using the Character panel.
  4. Use the onClipEvent action to assign actions directly to movie clip instances.
  5. Create "smart" movie clips that can easily be reused and customized.
  6. Use the Actions panel's Expert Mode setting to type ActionScript commands directly into the panel's text window or use an external code editor (for advanced users, only).
  7. Create ActionScript (As) files in an external editor and use the Include action to include the code during SWF export.
  8. To allow sounds to be started and stopped interactively, put the sound in a movie clip as a streaming sound. Then, use theTell Target action to start and stop the clip.
  9. Use device fonts to minimize file size and download time.
  10. Using full paths for URLs ensures that they will resolve to the intended path.
  11. Loop short sound clips rather than using a single long clip whenever possible.
  12. For large imported sounds use the Stream Sync setting and stretch the sound over a number of frames.
  13. Use bitmap images sparingly. To reduce the file size added by bitmap included in the Flash movie change the JPEG Quality setting in the Publish Settings dialog.
  14. To retain definition and clarity of imported bitmaps, disable smoothing for that image only.
  15. To perform shape effects on text, use the Modify > Break Apart command to change the text from a font to a shape outline.
  16. Leave a few empty frames at the beginning of all your movies, to make adding frames before your content easier.
  17. Control a movie clip or a movie that was loaded with the Load Movie action by using the Tell Target action.

Productivity and workflow
  1. Save panel layouts for different tasks; one set for drawing and designing, another for scripting, and so forth.
  2. Use the Movie Explorer (Window > Movie Explorer) to easily navigate a movie structure and make modifications to the file.
  3. Create custom shortcut keys (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts...) to increase productivity.
  4. Launch an image editing application directly from the Library palette to edit an imported bitmap.
  5. Hit the TAB key to show/hide the current panel set.
  6. Use the Edit Multiple Frames option to edit content in several frames at the same time.
  7. Give layers of the Timeline intuitive names.

  1. Use Shared Libraries to contain media elements common to several loaded movies.
  2. Use font symbols to keep font data separate from individual movie files, thereby decreasing file size and download time.
  3. When incorporating sound, use MP3 files, the smallest sound format, whenever possible.
  4. Use symbols, animated or otherwise, for every element that appears more than once.
  5. Limit the area of change in each keyframe; make the action take place in as small an area as possible.
  6. Break larger movies up into smaller movies and join them together using the Load Movie action.
  7. For better performance, avoid animating bitmap images. Use bitmap images as background or static elements.
  8. Use the Bandwidth Profiler and the Show Streaming option to simulate the playback of a movie over different connection speeds.
  9. Streaming performance of Flash movies can be enhanced by reducing the amount of information in the first few frames of the movie.
  10. Using simple vector graphics will yield better playback than bitmap images.
  11. Use the 'Generate Size Report' option in the Publish Settings dialog as a tool to help optimize movie playback.
  12. Test your Flash movies early, often, and on all browsers and platforms that you anticipate visitors will use to view your site.
  13. Flash movie playback can vary with processor speed; test the movie on computers of varying speeds.
  14. Use the lowest acceptable bit-depth and sample rate for imported sounds in order to achieve the smallest file size.
  15. Complexity can slow framerate, even if the movie size is small. Minimize the number of alphas, gradients, masks and tweens you use at any given time.
  1. Use the Debugger to troubleshoot problems with a movie file. Use it to change variables and instance properties in real time - either in the Flash authoring environment or a Web browser.
  2. Use the for...in action to loop through the properties of movie clips, including child movie clips.
  3. To get help on using a specific ActionScript command within Flash, do the following: Select the action in the Action panel's Toolbox list, then click the Help button at the top of the panel.
  4. Use editable text fields in guide layers to track variable values as an alternative to using the Debugger.
  5. Search or browse the Flash Developer Center to find late valuable technical information.
  6. Often the best sources of information are your peers. Take advantage of the Flash community, by searching for and sharing information Flash online forums and at third party Flash resources.
  7. Save multiple versions of your movie as you work. That way, you can revert to the most recent backup version if problems arise during the authoring process.
  8. Create small sample files to learn, troubleshoot and refine design methods. After learning and experimenting with implementation, apply those methods to specific projects.
  1. The HTML Templates used by Flash can be modified to streamline and personalize the publishing process. In addition to Flash's Template Variables, standard HTML or other tags can also be inserted.
  2. If shapes or text appear jagged when playing a movie check to see if the the QUALITY attribute of the OBJECT and EMBED tags is set to HIGH.
  3. Flash movies can scale to fill the entire browser window or can play within a specific area. Use the HEIGHT and WIDTH parameters in the Publish Settings dialog to choose one or the other.
  4. If you cannot view the Flash movies off a Web server then the server's MIME types might need to be set, so that it recognizes the SWF file format and loads the appropriate plug-in.
  5. Bitmaps can distort if you allow the movie to scale within the HTML page. To avoid this, use an exact pixel HEIGHT and WIDTH for the dimensions rather than percentages.