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Publishing a Movie

You now have a working Flash site, complete with a preloader. All you have left to do is publish that content and upload it to your Web site so that other people can view it. When you publish a movie, you can create multiple formats for your Flash movie, along with the HTML required to embed it for viewing on the Web.

With neptune38.fla open, choose File > Publish Settings to open the Publish Settings dialog box.

When you're ready to publish your movie, you first have to check the Publish Settings dialog box to make sure that all the settings are correct.

The Publish command (File > Publish) creates all the files you need to deliver your Flash movie. By default, the Publish command creates a .swf file containing your movie and an HTML file containing the code to embed the .swf file. After Flash creates these files for you, you must upload both of them to your Web server. Visitors then just have to view the HTML file to see the .swf file. They do have to have the Flash Player installed for this file to work correctly, of course.

If you are concerned that your audience might not have the Flash Player, you can change the settings in the Publish Settings dialog box so that the Publish command also creates executable versions of the Flash movie for Windows and Macintosh computers. The executable version of the Flash movie is known as a projector. You can also make Flash publish a Generator template (.swt), GIF image, JPEG image, PNG image, QuickTime movie, or RealPlayer SMIL file.

In the Formats tab of the Publish Settings dialog box, make sure that the Flash and HTML checkboxes are checked. Also check the Windows Projector and Macintosh Projector checkboxes.

When you publish a movie, you can output several formats at the same time, including Flash Player movie (.swf), Generator template (.swt), GIF, JPEG, PNG, Windows Projector (.exe), Macintosh Projector, QuickTime movie, and RealPlayer. You can also create an HTML file that embeds the .swf file for playback over the Web.

Click the Flash tab in the Publish Settings dialog box, and choose the Generate Size Report option.

Many of the formats that you can publish from Flash have settings that you can modify to customize the finished file. When you publish a Flash Player movie (.swf), you have the option of generating a size report. This option, which is also available when you export a movie as .swf, creates a text file containing information about the movie. You'll look at a size report later in this exercise.

The settings in the Load Order drop-down menu determine the order in which the layers in each individual frame load—an important setting when files are being downloaded over slow modems. Flash shows each layer that appears as soon as it has downloaded. Top Down loads the top layer in each frame first and then loads each frame below it in order; Bottom Up does the opposite.

When you choose the Protect from Import option, the published .swf file cannot be imported into Flash. This setting keeps other people from stealing your movie.

The JPEG Quality, Audio Stream, and Audio Event settings are useful if you don't specify compression settings for each individual bitmap or sound file.

You have the option of choosing Flash versions other than 5 from the Version drop-down menu, but if you do, you will you lose some of the functionality of your movie. If you use anything that is Flash 5-specific and export it as an earlier version, you lose all the Flash 5-specific portions of the movie.

Click the HTML tab in the Publish Settings dialog box. Uncheck the Display Menu checkbox.

When you deselect the Display Menu option, you disable the shortcut menu that appears when users right+click (Windows) or Control+click (Macintosh) the movie while viewing it through the HTML file in the browser.

The Template drop-down menu specifies the HTML template that you want to publish. When you choose Flash Only (Default), Flash creates the HTML to embed your Flash file. Other templates that are available include Generator Only (Default) and Generator Image Output.

The Dimensions drop-down menu lets you specify the dimensions of the movie in percentage or pixels. If you choose Match Movie from this menu, you can't set the height and width of the movie. If you choose Pixels or Percent, you can modify the height and width settings.

You usually should set the Quality drop-down menu to High, which prioritizes appearance over playback. Low prioritizes playback over quality, turning off antialiasing. Auto Low is similar to Low but improves quality if possible. (If Flash determines that the computer can handle antialiasing, it turns on that feature) Auto High prioritizes playback and quality equally, reducing appearance first if playback problems occur; it turns off antialiasing if the frame rate continues to decrease. Medium produces better quality than Low. It does not antialias bitmaps but does apply some antialiasing. Best produces the best-quality appearance without considering speed; all images and bitmaps are antialiased.

Click OK to close the Publish Settings dialog box. Save the movie as neptune39.fla in the MyWork folder. Choose File > Publish to publish the movie.

The Publishing dialog box opens, indicating the progress of the publishing operation.

Open the size report in the MyWork folder.

This file will be named neptune39 Report.txt (Windows) or neptune39.swf Report (Macintosh). You can open it in your favorite text editor.

The size report contains information about the movie, including how much size each frame takes up, how large each symbol is, which fonts and characters are used (and how much file size they take up), and which sounds are used (and how much file size they add to the finished movie). You can use the size report to optimize your movie better. If you notice that one symbol is very large, for example, you might want to concentrate on reducing that symbol's size.

Open neptune39.html (in the MyWork folder) in your browser.

This file contains all the HTML that's needed to view neptune39swf in the browser properly, provided that you have the correct version of the Flash Player installed.

Open neptune39.exe (Windows) or neptune39 Projector (Macintosh).

This file is a stand-alone version of your movie. Flash wrapped the .swf file in a stand-alone projector. You can send this file to other people to view without requiring them to install the Flash Player. Just make sure that you send the right file; you published both Windows and Macintosh projectors.

Upload neptune39.html, neptune39.swf, jigsaw.swf, journal.swf, map.swf, merfolk.swf, and music.swf to your Web site, and browse to them.

You can't just upload the HTML file and expect to see the Flash content; you have to upload the .swf files too. The HTML file is set up so that the .swf files should be in the same directory. If you know a little HTML, you can easily change this setup.

If you try to use the journal in your uploaded version, it probably won't work, because the ColdFusion file that you're trying to connect to is on another domain. Because of security measures in the Flash Player, you won't be able to connect to that file.

You're done. You have just made your own Flash Web site.



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