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Part II: Flash Methodology > Using Bitmaps in a World of Vectors

Chapter 9. Using Bitmaps in a World of Vectors

by Robert Cleveland

In this chapter

Understanding Bitmap Formats

Importing and Compressing Bitmaps with Flash

Using Bitmaps As Elemental Shapes and Vectors

Using Bitmaps As Symbols

Importing an Animated GIF

Troubleshooting Bitmaps

Did You Know?

Much of this book is dedicated to vilifying bitmaps. It's not because Flash is incompatible with these elements. Instead, it simply is a component that is counter to the ideology of vector animations and the extraordinary benefits that result.

Bitmaps truly are fundamentally different from vector graphics. The information and packaging required to display a bitmap image on a computer is, of course, vastly different from a vector display. Each pixel carries information about the color that should be displayed onscreen, instead of mathematical definitions of color, area, and proximity.

And it's that fixed or raster configuration that makes rescaling the image without losing definition impossible, unlike a vector image that quickly can be rescaled.

All that information must be carried over the Web. As too many designers know, the final rendering of bitmaps on a local machine can be very different. Resolution, color capacity, and even different Web browsers can play a role in changing the appearance of an image.

Unfortunately, no one is about to completely throw out bitmaps. They play a vital role in graphic design—particularly when you need to show real-life images. To minimize the impact of bitmaps in the vector world of Flash, Macromedia has introduced some tools that can help lower the size of your bitmaps and even enable you to use them in ways you might not have expected.



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