You can learn all about panels in the next section. Toolbars pack some of the most commonly used options together in a nice compact space that you can position anywhere you like. See the box on Panels for tips on repositioning toolbars. Tip When you reposition a floating toolbar, Flash remembers where you put it. If, later on, you hide the toolbar—or exit Flash and run it again—your toolbars appear exactly as you left them.
The Main toolbar lets you one-click basic operations, such as opening an existing Flash file, creating a new file, and cutting and pasting sections of your drawing. Edit Bar. Using the options here, you can set and adjust the Timeline Scene Panel as well as edit scenes named groups of frames and symbols reusable drawings. Note The Edit Bar is a little different from the other toolbars in that it remains fixed to window with the stage.
Panels A Flash panel is like a toolbar on steroids: The checkmarks on the menu show when a toolbar is turned on. Flash offers you a ton of panels, each of which appears initially in one of two flavors: You can have as few or as many panels showing at a time as you like. Panels like the ones shown here group useful options together, so you can find what you want quickly and easily.
If all you see is a tab, the panel is collapsed and hiding its tools. To expand a collapsed panel and reveal its options, click the bar at the top. To collapse a panel, another click will do the trick. Click the double arrows to collapse all the panels so they take up less horizontal space. To remove a panel, click the X button.
For both docked and undocked panels, you can collapse shrink and expand them by clicking the bar at the top of the panel. Docked vs. Floating Toolbars A docked toolbar or panel appears attached to some part of the workspace window, while a floating toolbar or panel is one that you can reposition by dragging.
Whether you want to display toolbars and panels as docked or floating is a matter of personal choice. If you constantly need to click something on a toolbar—which means it needs to be in full view at all times—docked works best. To turn a docked toolbar into a floating toolbar: The actual visual effect is different on Mac and Windows computers, but the mechanics work the same. Drag the toolbar away from the edge of the workspace window and release the mouse button.
Flash displays the toolbar where you dropped it. You can reposition it anywhere you like simply by dragging it again. To dock a floating toolbar, simply reverse the procedure: When you let go, Flash docks the toolbar automatically. You can customize your workspace by positioning panels and toolbars where you want them. To move a toolbar, click a blank spot and drag it to a new location.
You can also click the arrows just beneath and to the right of the workspace scroll bars. The panels below the Stage or to the right of it disappear, and you get to see a lot more of your workspace. Notice the bar at the top of the Panels Dock.
On the right side are two triangular arrows pointing to the right. By clicking and dragging those lines, you can adjust the width of the entire Panels Dock. Click those arrows or almost anywhere on the bar , and all the panels shrink down to icon-size. Another click, and you bring them back to their full glory. Tip In the upper-right corner of every panel, just below the close button X , is a menu icon.
When you click this icon, a menu of options appears—different options for each panel. For example, the Color Swatch panel lets you add and delete color swatches.
Tools Panel All animations start with a single drawing. And to draw something in Flash, you need drawing tools: The Tools panel groups tools by different drawing chores. Selection and Transform tools are at the top, followed by Drawing tools.
Next come the View tools. The Color tools include two swatches, one for strokes and one for fills. If you like, you can drag the docked Tools panel away from the edge of the workspace and turn it into a floating panel. If horizontal workspace is at premium, click the double arrow button in the upper-left corner of the Tools panel, and you have a single, skinny row of tools. Selection and Drawing tools At the top of the Tools panel are the tools you need to create and modify a Flash drawing.
For example, you might use the Pen tool to start a sketch, the Paint Bucket or Ink Bottle to apply color, and the Eraser to clean up mistakes. After a second or two, the name of the tool pops up onscreen. When either of these situations occurs, you can use the tools Flash displays in the View section of the Tools panel to zoom in, zoom out, and pan around the Stage.
On the Tools panel, when you click each tool, the Options section shows you buttons that let you modify that particular tool. Enlarge with the plus sign and Reduce with the minus sign.
Accessibility Panel Not everyone is blessed with perfect eyesight and hearing. To make sure vision-and hearing-impaired folks can enjoy the animations you create using Flash, you need to think about accessibility: The Accessibility panel provides tools to help you create a design that provides at least some information to those whose vision or hearing is impaired. For example, using the Accessibility panel, you can give names and descriptions to certain sections of your drawings—descriptions that can be translated into speech by an assistive screen reader device, for example.
See the box on the next page for more information. You use the Actions panel to build the ActionScript code that turns regular animations into interactive animations like clickable splash pages, navigation bars, and type-in forms. You use different debug tools depending on the flavor of ActionScript used by your Flash file: ActionScript 2. Align Panel Sometimes dragging stuff around the stage and eyeballing it works just fine; other times, you want to position your graphic elements with pinpoint precision.
Using the Align panel, you can align graphic elements based on their edges top, bottom, right, left or by their centers. Main article: Flash Video files [spec 1] have a.
The use of vector graphics combined with program code allows Flash files to be smaller—and thus allows streams to use less bandwidth —than the corresponding bitmaps or video clips. For content in a single format such as just text, video, or audio , other alternatives may provide better performance and consume less CPU power than the corresponding Flash movie, for example, when using transparency or making large screen updates such as photographic or text fades.
In addition to a vector-rendering engine, the Flash Player includes a virtual machine called the ActionScript Virtual Machine AVM for scripting interactivity at run-time, with video, MP3-based audio, and bitmap graphics. As of Flash Player 8, it offers two video codecs: Flash Video Virtually all browser plugins for video are free of charge and cross-platform, including Adobe's offering of Flash Video, which was introduced with Flash version 6.
Flash Video has been a popular choice for websites due to the large installed user base and programmability of Flash. In , Apple publicly criticized Adobe Flash, including its implementation of video playback for not taking advantage of hardware acceleration, one reason Flash is not to be found on Apple's mobile devices.
Soon after Apple's criticism, Adobe demoed and released a beta version of Flash Flash Flash Player supports two distinct modes of video playback, and hardware accelerated video decoding may not be used for older video content. Such content causes excessive CPU usage compared to comparable content played with other players.
Software Rendered Video Flash Player supports software rendered video since version 6. Such video supports vector animations displayed above the video content. This obligation may, depending on graphic APIs exposed by the operating system, prohibit using a video overlay , like a traditional multimedia player would use, with the consequence that color space conversion and scaling must happen in software. Such video is displayed above all Flash content and takes advantage of video codec chipsets installed on the user's device.
Several developers quickly created a C library for producing SWF. Macromedia also hired Middlesoft to create a freely available developers' kit for the SWF file format versions 3 to 5.
Macromedia made the Flash Files specifications for versions 6 and later available only under a non-disclosure agreement , but they are widely available from various sites. In April , the Flash SWF file format specification was released with details on the then newest version format Flash 8. Although still lacking specific information on the incorporated video compression formats On2, Sorenson Spark, etc.
The file format specification document is offered only to developers who agree to a license agreement that permits them to use the specifications only to develop programs that can export to the Flash file format. The license does not allow the use of the specifications to create programs that can be used for playback of Flash files.
The Flash 9 specification was made available under similar restrictions. Previously, developers could not use the specification for making SWF-compatible players, but only for making SWF-exporting authoring software.
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