Flash Extension: Combine Textfields

Justin | Animate/Flash,conferences,design,extensions | Sunday, October 12th, 2008

This extension combines multiple textfields into one editable textfield. I put this together as an entry for the Hackathon at Flash Camp.

UPDATE 10/12/08: This project took home the ‘Most Useful‘ award at Flash Camp.

Creative Suite 4 will be introducing a new Flash format, XFL. This format can be created by other applications, including InDesign and After Effects, and then edited by Flash Professional. So print designers and video artists now have a new window into Flash. One consequence of retaining the formatting of an InDesign document into Flash, is that text blocks get broken into individual lines. This will be familiar to anyone who has opened a PDF in Illustrator. This extension will recombine those textfields into one block while retaining the individual formatting properties.

Video demo of InDesign to Flash with XFL: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

Download
(compatible with Flash MX 2004, Flash 8, Flash CS3, and Flash CS4)
Combine Textfields.mxp

If you’re interested, you can also download and look at the source.

Source
CombineTextfields_src.zip

UPDATE 11/20/08: Unfortunately ligatures are brought in as shapes rather than editable text, so they are essentially ignored by this extension. I have it on good authority that this will be resolved in Flash Authoring (Flash Player 10 already supports ligatures), but I have no idea when.

UPDATE 11/20/08 (#2): Version 1.1.0 posted. I found a Flash bug with Windows that was preventing the textfields from being sorted properly, so I adjusted some code to account for that bug. Version 1.1.0 addresses this issue. Apparently Flash CS4 in Windows doesn’t recognize the label attribute of radio tag in an xmlui file unless it’s value begins with an uppercase character. This may occur in other versions of Flash, but I only tested CS4. If the explanation of this bug doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, the extension will still work for you. It’s a pretty esoteric use case, so most JSFL* developers won’t even encounter this bug. I also found a bug that occurs when the XFL has set the faux bold property of a textfield. If this is the first textfield that you’re sorting from, it will make all of your text faux bold, and Flash doesn’t currently allow JSFL to control this property. Flash has moved to using the bold face of a family, rather than the faux bold control. This is also likely to occur with faux italics. It only occurs when the entire textfield is set to faux bold or italic, and should not occur when individual phrases within a textfield are set this way. This is partially a bug with Flash’s new font controls and partially with InDesign’s XFL export. Both features are brand new (and fantastic), so these kinks will likely be worked out in the future. I’ve contacted both teams and the InDesign group will likely fix how the tag is generated in the XFL.

*JSFL is the language used to write Flash extensions.

Flash Extension: Unify Stroke and Fill

Justin | Animate/Flash,design,extensions | Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Here’s a new Flash extension I put together based a question from Chris Georgenes’ helpful new Ask Chris section of his popular Keyframer blog.

This extension adds two items to the Commands menu in Flash:

  • COLOR – match Fill to Stroke
  • COLOR – match Stroke to Fill

I recommend adding keyboard shortcuts to really make these commands useful.

Download

(compatible back to Flash MX 2004)
COLOR – Unify Stroke and Fill.mxp

New Flash Extension: FrameSync

Justin | Animate/Flash,animation,design,extensions,Tutorials | Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

This is a handy-dandy animation plug-in similar to Animonger’s AnimSlider, except that it uses frame labels and requires no other setup.

Update: The video tutorial is now live. See the extension in action!

I picked up this style of lip syncing in Flash from Chris Georgenes’ tutorial.

Update (8/26/09): A savvy user caught a stage refresh bug introduced in Flash CS4 with AS3. If you’re using Flash CS4 & AS3 and the symbol isn’t updating when you select a new frame from the panel, download the most recent version below (1.0.3 has the fix).

Update (8/16/10): Version 2.0 now has some great new features, including a “keyframe” mode, audio playback and frame navigation for Flash CS5, and performance improvements. See this post for more details on the updates.

Update (10/5/10): Check out SmartMouth, the new extension that automatically lip syncs.

Update (11/19/10): See Chris Georgenes demo FrameSync in his MAX 2010 Animation session.

Download

(compatible with Flash MX 2004 & up)
FrameSync.zip

Other Lip Sync Tools from Ajar Productions

Animation Reel 2008

Justin | animation,design,interaction | Monday, September 8th, 2008

Finally put together animation reel…

CS4 Already?

Justin | Animate/Flash,design | Friday, September 5th, 2008

Just as you were getting used to CS3…

I can’t say that I’m not looking forward to it after seeing the new features previewed at Flash Forward.

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