Flash Player Gets Color Management

Justin | Animate/Flash,design | Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Looks like there’s now a way to avoid that pesky color shift when bringing artwork into Flash. John Nack has the details.

Flash Extension and JSFL resource

Justin | Animate/Flash,extensions,jsfl,links | Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I was doing some research/wandering and I found this great list of Flash extension sites and JSFL resources on the 5 1/2 blog.

How to Control Things with Actionscript

Justin | ActionScript,Animate/Flash,tips,Tutorials | Monday, October 20th, 2008

When working with other designers in Flash, I generally serve as the last line of defense for unsolved functionality mysteries. I often find that there’s a mishap that has resulted from changed or lost instance names, effectively decapitating pieces of code. So how do you control things with Actionscript?

The short answer: Instance Names.

For the detailed answer check out this video tutorial using Actionscript 3.

The Actionscript has to know “who” you’re wanting to talk to. Just as we know human beings by name, and talk about them and to them by name, Actionscript references objects by name. A teacher might tell “Timmy” to sit down. Accordingly, your script might tell “circle” to move 10 pixels to the left. If no symbol with the name, “circle” exists, nothing happens; just as no one sits down if there’s no “Timmy” in the classroom.

Referencing nested MovieClips works the same way, just add a dot inbetween:
var clipReference = grandparentClip.parentClip.childClip;

Remember that a symbol name is different than an instance name. You can have multiple instances of a symbol on stage, but each instance name has to be unique. Instance names are set in the Property Inspector, symbol names are set in the Library.

Keep this idea in mind when working with Actionscript and it will make your life a whole lot easier.

Flash Extension: Export as Motion Preset Preview

Justin | Animate/Flash,animation,extensions | Thursday, October 16th, 2008

This is the first extension that I’ve written exclusively for the new Flash CS4 features. Flash CS4 not only allows you to create extremely complex animations with a high level of control, but it also allows you to save those animations for reuse in the new Motion Preset panel.

I got the idea for this extension from Lee Brimelow’s excellent tutorial on the Motion Preset panel. Since I imagine that I’ll be creating a lot of my own motion presets, and I’d like them to have live previews just like the default presets, I decided to automate the process.

Here’s how it works:
Once you’ve created a custom motion preset, you can use this command to immediately create a live preview from your current document. This assumes that the motion preset is the only thing in your document. If that’s not the case, you may want to open a new document, paste the animation, and run the command from there.

Feedback welcome.

UPDATE:

  • Version 1.1.0 now supports multiple languages. Thanks to jeanphilippe for the catch!
  • Know issue: Preview is not retained if the preset is moved to a different folder within the Motion Preset panel. This is because Flash does not keep track of the preview files, it just knows to look for them.

Download
(compatibility: Flash CS4 and later, including CC and CC 2014)
Export as Motion Preset Preview.zip

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.

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