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Chapter 6. Bitmaps

Chapter 6. Bitmaps

What you'll learn…

Importing bitmaps

Working with bitmaps

Optimizing bitmaps

Using bitmaps in shared libraries

Using animated GIFs

Using PNGs

In designing your presentations, you may find yourself limited in the graphics you can create using Macromedia Flash's drawing tools. If you require more than simple vector shapes, and ovals, rectangles, and lines just won't cut it, you'll need to turn to bitmaps. With these, you can add more complex images to your project such as photos, scanned images, and other natural-looking graphics.

Unlike vector graphics, which are based on mathematical equations, bitmaps comprise a bunch of small dots, or pixels, that appear as photographic images when viewed from a distance (see Chapter 1, "Why Flash?" ).

Although graphically pleasing, bitmaps can dramatically increase your movie's file size, which in turn lengthens download time. There are, however, ways to minimize this problem. In this chapter, we'll look at several Flash options for optimizing bitmaps so that you can keep file size down—though it's still important to use bitmaps sparingly.

You should also know that you can use bitmaps for more than just photographs in your movie. You can also employ them as backgrounds and fills, for special effects, or even as buttons. In addition, you can convert a bitmap into a vector graphic, which can sometimes help minimize the bitmap's effect on your movie's file size. But before you do any of this, you have to get the bitmap into Flash—which is where importing enters the picture. Since this is the first step in using bitmaps in your Flash movie, let's take a look at that process now.



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