1. Technology

Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks

Flash Tip: Tools of the Trade: Drawing in Flash With a Graphics Tablet
Save yourself some time and effort in your frame-by-frame vector animation with this high-tech--but inexpensive--plug and play tool.

Flash MX Keyboard Shortcuts
When working in Flash, one thing that can save a lot of time is knowledge of the various keyboard shortcuts.

Flash Tip: Alternate Website for Non-Flash Users
While designing a website in Flash, it's easy to assume that your viewers will not have some version of the Macromedia Flash player. However, you may find that a large percentage of your users either have an older version of the Flash player or none at all. For these users, it's helpful to have a non-Flash version of your website available.

Flash Tip: Maximizing Workspace in Flash MX
Working in Flash MX can get pretty crowded, but there are ways to maximize your stage's work area. The easiest way to do this is to use your keyboard shortcuts to remove panels when you don't need them.

Flash Tip: Exporting a Preview
With a work-in-progress, it's always good to be able to stop and check how the overall project is coming along--especially in Flash.

Flash Tip: Enabling Simple Buttons
Enabling simple buttons in Flash lets you view how your buttons work without having to render/preview a movie.

Flash Tip: Onion-Skinning Animation
Frame-by-frame animation can be difficult when you're working on one frame at a time with no reference for the previous or next frames. Flash has a solution for this dilemma--known as onion-skinning, an option that you can turn on that shows a range of frames both before and after your current frame.

Flash Tip: The Trace Bitmap Function
In case you missed when it was covered in Lesson 5, here's a quick tip on how to use the trace bitmap function in Flash to turn bitmap art into vector images.

Flash Tip: Motion Tweening Expanded: Rotation
In the first Flash lesson, we covered motion tweening as a basic "Point A to Point B" process but you can also use motion tweens to rotate your symbols.

Flash Tip: Sending Mail Attachments from Within Flash
Send your Flash documents quickly and easily right from inside the Flash program, without having to go through the extra steps required to create a new e-mail and add attachments.

10 Stupid Flash Tricks
Sometimes there are things that you can do in Flash that in truth, you really shouldn't--not unless you enjoy leaving your viewers in the throes of audiovisual agony.

Flash Tip: "Visible Rotation" Trick
Use this little trick to make rotation on round objects more visible so that they don't seem to be skidding across the screen without turning.

Flash Tip: Animating/Tweening Gradients
Colorful shape tweens aren't limited just to solid colors; you can also tween gradients to change colors, and fade in and out of each other.

Flash Tip: Gradient Text
Just a quick and easy way to get around the Text Tool's solid color fill restrictions.

Flash Tip: Animated GIF vs. SWF Publishing for Small Content
When is it better to use an animated GIF, and when is it better to use an SWF?

Flash Tip: SWF vs. Video Publishing for Large Content
Can publishing Flash movies in video format save space and lower filesize?

Flash Accessibility
The accessibility options in Flash help users using screen readers to navigate your Flash content more easily.

Flash Debugger
Use the Flash debugger to isolate and correct errors in your ActionScripting or object functions.

Flash Exchange
Flash Exchange is a community-driven database maintained by Adobe Macromedia, containing applications created by users and developers just like you.

Animation Tip: Tools of the Trade: Light Tables
Whether you're drawing 2D animation for cel painting or doing the preliminary pencil work to be scanned in for a computer animation, a light table is one of the most important tools for frame-by-frame animation that you'll ever own.

Creating a "Film Framing" Effect in Flash
Create the black-borded "widescreen viewing" film effect for your Flash animations.

Flash Tip: Creating the Illusion of Distance by Adjusting Brightness
Just by scaling, layering, and adjusting brightness, you can make different instances of the same graphical Flash object appear to be spaced at distances from each other through foreground, background, and intermediate areas.

Flash Tip: Creating the Illusion of Speed Distortion
Learn a quick, easy trick for adding life to your animations through use of exaggerated motion.

Animated Flash Dropdown Menu
This is a simple, animated Flash menu that drops down/expands when your mouse rolls over the menu header.

Creating a Custom Mouse Cursor in Flash
Whether it bounces, jiggles, squiggles, wiggles, glitters, or just sits there looking pretty, you can turn it into your own custom Flash mouse cursor to replace the default.

Creating Easy Flash-Style Tooltips
Create your own customizable Flash rollover-style tooltip popups, using a simple two-frame movie clip and a little ActionScripting.

Adding Animation to a Flash Popup ToolTip
Your Flash popup tooltips don't have to just appear and disappear; you can also animate them entering the scene in any numbers of ways. This demonstration shows one expanding to full size.

Breaking Down the Screaming Maze Trick
You've been pranked by it, most likely--now learn how it was done, and turn the tables on your friends.

Basic Flash Password Protection
While you don't want to count on this for definite site or application security, you can use this basic password script as part of a game or any other fun animation.

Flash Cursor Spotlight
Use simple layers, transparency, and a few basic ActionScripts to make a spotlight follow your mouse cursor to reveal a hidden scene.

Flash Cursor Spotlight Revisited
Just because everyone else's cursor spotlight is stark black-on-white doesn't mean that yours has to be. Let's take a look at how to make a simpler, softer spotlight effect that still follows the mouse just like the "revealing" cursor spotlight effect.

Flash Cursor Spotlight Revisited II: Masking
Learn layer masking to explore yet another way to create a spotlight that follows the mouse around the Flash stage to reveal your movie.

Flash Tip: Creating the Illusion of Perspective
Flash proves that you don't need a 3D program or even a complex 2D program to create easy two-dimensional shapes with the appearance of three-dimensional depth.

Lip-Synching For Animation: Basic Phonemes
If you want to add actual expression and realistic mouth-movements to your animation, it helps to study how the shape of the mouth changes with each sound. These ten basic phoneme shapes can match almost any sound of speech, in varying degrees of expression--and with the in-between frames moving from one to the other, are remarkably accurate.

Flash CS5 Tip: The Elapsed Time Slider
Just below the timeline and to the right of the onion-skinning and fps information, Flash CS5 has a convenient little counter that lets you know, down to the tenth of a second, how much time has elapsed in your animation at the frame you have selected.

Animation Ones vs Twos

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