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Chapter 4. Animating Sprites > Incorporating Flash Movies

Incorporating Flash Movies

Director 8 allows you to import Flash movies and incorporate them into your movie as you would any other cast member. Flash is a vector-based animation development tool that produces compact animations ideally suited for use in Shockwave movies. Because Flash movies are vector-based, you can manipulate them on Director's stage with scaling, rotation, and other tools without reducing sharpness.

You animate Flash sprites the same way you animate any graphic cast member in Director. You can tween the properties of a Flash sprite to create complex compound animations, such as a Flash movie rotating and moving across the stage while shrinking.

Director 8 can import Flash 2, 3, and 4 movies, and it supports all the latest features in Flash 4.

To import a Flash movie:

1.
Choose File > Import.

2.
In the dialog box, choose Shockwave Flash from the Files of Type pop-up menu (Show pop-up menu, on the Mac) (Figure 4.71).

Figure 4.71. Choose Shockwave Flash as the file type to import.


3.
Select a Flash movie file.

4.
Click Import.

Tip

If you want to set options for your Flash cast member before it's imported, add the Flash cast member by choosing Insert > Media Element > Flash Movie. In the Flash Asset Properties dialog box (Figure 4.72), set options and then click Browse or Internet to select the Flash movie you want to import.

Figure 4.72. The Flash Asset Properties dialog box.



You can set media options for a Flash movie to control whether the movie data is linked to or brought into actual memory. You can set these options before a Flash movie is imported or reset the options after the Flash movie has been imported.

To set media options for a Flash cast member:

1.
If the Flash cast member has already been imported, double-click it in the Cast window (Figure 4.73).

Figure 4.73. Double-click a Flash cast member.


or

Choose Insert > Media Element > Flash Movie to set media options for a new Flash movie before it's imported.

The Flash Asset Properties dialog box opens.

2.
Check the Linked checkbox (Figure 4.74) if you want to link to an external Flash movie file so that Director loads it into memory only when the Flash sprite appears on the stage.

Figure 4.74. Select the Linked option to link to an external Flash file instead of bringing it into the cast and memory.


or

Leave the Linked checkbox unchecked if you want Director to load the entire Flash movie into the cast and memory.

If the Flash cast member has already been imported as an internal cast member when you choose the Linked option, specify the new file in the Link File box (Figure 4.75). The internal Flash cast member is erased.

Figure 4.75. Specify the file name for the linked Flash movie.


3.
Choose the Preload option if you have linked to an external Flash movie and want Director to load the entire Flash movie into memory before playing the first frame of your Director movie.

or

Deselect the Preload option if you want your Director movie to start playing immediately while the Flash movie streams into the cast and memory.

The playback options in the Flash Asset Properties dialog box control how Director plays your Flash movie in a projector or Shockwave movie, as well as in the authoring environment.

To set playback options for a Flash cast member:

1.
If the Flash cast member has already been imported, double-click it in the Cast window.

or

Choose Insert > Media Element > Flash Movie to set playback options for a new Flash movie before it's imported.

The Flash Asset Properties dialog box opens.

2.
Choose the Image option (Figure 4.76) to display images in the Flash movie sprite.

Figure 4.76. Choose the Image option.


Deselect Image to keep the images invisible.

3.
Choose the Sound option to play any sounds in the Flash movie sprite (Figure 4.77).

Figure 4.77. Choose the Sound option.


Deselect Sound for a silent Flash movie.

4.
Choose the Paused option (Figure 4.78) to display only the first frame of the Flash movie when the Director movie plays.

Figure 4.78. Choose the Paused option.


Deselect Paused to play the Flash sprite immediately after it appears on the stage.

5.
Choose the Loop option (Figure 4.79) to repeat the Flash movie after it finishes.

Figure 4.79. Choose the Loop option.


Deselect Loop to play the Flash movie only once.

6.
Choose the Direct to Stage option (Figure 4.80) if you want Director to display the Flash movie as soon as it appears on the stage, ignoring any applied ink effects, and placing it on top of all other sprites regardless of channel placement.

Figure 4.80. Choose the Direct to Stage option.


This option can improve playback performance.If you deselect this option, Director first loads the Flash movie sprite into memory along with all the other sprites, applies ink effects, and takes channel order into account before displaying it.

7.
Choose a Quality setting (Figure 4.81).

Figure 4.81. The Quality pop-up menu.


Choose High to play the Flash movie with anti-aliasing turned on, which slows playback.

Choose Low to turn off anti-aliasing during playback.

Choose Auto-High to start playing with anti-aliasing on but then to turn it off if Director can't meet the required tempo.

Choose Auto-Low to start playing with anti-aliasing off but then to turn it on if Director can maintain the tempo.

8.
Choose a scaling option (Figure 4.82).

Figure 4.82. The Scale Mode pop-up menu.


Choose Show All to maintain the Flash movie's aspect ratio and fill in any gaps, if necessary, using your movie's background color.

Choose No Border to preserve the aspect ratio by cropping borders.

Choose Exact Fit to stretch the Flash movie to fit the sprite dimensions.

Choose Auto-Size to make the Flash sprite's bounding box fit a rotated, flipped, or skewed movie.

Choose No Scale to place the sprite on the stage without scaling.

9.
Choose a playback rate for the Flash movie from the Rate pop-up menu (Figure 4.83).

Figure 4.83. The Rate pop-up menu.


Choose Normal to play the Flash movie at its original tempo.

Choose Fixed to play it at a rate that you enter. (Director tries to keep up but may not if the rate is too fast.)

Choose Lock-Step to play at a rate of one frame for every Director frame.

10.
Enter a scaling value (Figure 4.84).

Figure 4.84. Enter a scaling value. The default value is 100 percent


11.
Click OK

Tip

If you need more precise control of how a Flash movie plays back, such as changing the frame rate on the fly or displaying a specific frame in the movie, use Lingo to control the many Flash movie properties. (choose Help > Director Help and type "flash movies" in the index for more details.)


Tip

A Flash movie plays only when its sprite is in the score. To loop a Flash sprite, extend it through all the frames.


Tip

Only the Copy, Transparent, Background Transparent, and Blend ink effects work with a Flash sprite.


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