Archive for September, 2011

New Flash Pro CS5.5 feature explanation videos

Paul Trani, excellent instructor and Flash Platform evangelist, has recently published 4 new videos explaining how to use some of the features that were added in Flash CS5.5.

  • Scaling Multiple Selected Motion Tweens
    Discusses the challenge of scaling complex animations across multiple screen sizes, and offers a couple of workflows for accomplishing this in Flash Pro.
  • Using Text Container Manager for Runtime TLF
    Highlights the strengths of TLF text and reveals a few tricks for optimizing SWF file sizes by using the Text Container Manager (TCM). TCM text is a subset of TLF text functionality that yields smaller file sizes and is appropriate for any text that will not change at runtime.
  • Multiple Spans on an IK Layer
    Demonstrates the animation potential of IK layers in Flash Professional CS5.5, allowing you to link assets together to create dynamic, skeleton-like structures. IK layers act sort of like like Motion tweens.

Check them out.

New article on communicating between SWF files with AS3

In response to a common type of question in the Flash forums, Keith Gladstein has written a nice article on SWF to SWF communication. In it he provides annotated code examples for the following scenarios:

  • How do you reference an object (movieclip, variable, function etc) in one SWF from another SWF?
  • How do you reference the main timeline of SWF2 from SWF1 when SWF2 is loaded into SWF1?

  • How do you reference the main timeline of SWF1 from SWF2 when SWF2 is loaded into SWF1?

  • How do you communicate between two SWFs (possibly in different domains) that are opened at the same time by the same user?

  • How do you communicate between one SWF opened at different times by the same user?

  • How do you send data to a SWF in a popup?

You can also find information about how to load one SWF into another SWF in this TechNote.

Getting started with motion tweens

Flash Pro CS4 added a whole new way of creating and editing tweened animation. Tweens are animation where you set values for different properties of an object at certain points in time and let Flash fill in the values in between.

The motion tween model is much easier to work with than older classic tweens that you had to create in earlier versions of Flash. You can literally start animating objects on the stage in just a few clicks.

If you are new to Flash Pro and want to use it for animation, here are a couple of solid tutorials that will help you learn the basics and start experimenting with your own artwork:

Resources for learning about using video in Flash Pro

For those wanting to get started adding video to their Flash Pro work, I wanted to highlight a couple of quality video tutorials that folks may not know about.

Todd Perkins does a nice job of covering the basic steps for adding a video to Flash. This is a good place to go first:

Lisa Larson-Kelly covers a lot of ground in her Flash 411 show. This video is all about codecs, encoding, progressive vs. streaming, and choices for playing back video in Flash Player

Of course there’s also the Video Learning Guide on DevNet and the Help too.

Interesting approach to learning ActionScript 3.0

Ryan Hodson has created a really interesting set of tutorials about AS3 for beginners. He does something different that some of you might find engaging and even fun as you go about learning language concepts.

He basically has you learn AS by typing in Flash. You have to learn some conventions that he uses in the tutorials, but they are simple and worth the first 3 minutes of reading. Then you’re off to the races. He has you type things into Flash and then see what happens very quickly.

For example, the first instruction is to type

trace(“Hello, World!”);

in the Actions Panel and then test your movie. Then he has you see if you can figure out how to change the message “Hello, World” to something else, with an option to show the answer if you want more help. Sounds pretty simple huh? I think some learners will really respond to this style of teaching. I’ve already linked to the tutorials in the Help, but I’m hoping more people will find the tutorials and take advantage of them. Let Ryan and me know what you think of them.

The future of Community Help at Adobe MAX 2011

October’s MAX conference will feature a session on the present and future of Adobe’s Community Help efforts. To date, we’ve implemented the following:

  • Links to community-created learning materials added within the Help
  • Vetted community web sites added to the search results from Adobe Help page searches
  • Adobe and community video content embedded within the Help pages
  • Community Help application includes vetted community web sites in search results
  • Recommendation engine provides links to similar documents embedded within both Help and Support pages
  • Adobe Cookbooks
  • Adobe Community Publishing System
  • Feedback and ratings on Help and Support pages

And there’s more in store. Here’s the info about the MAX session:

Social Studies: Connecting Content and Community in the Cloud

Come see how a few simple UX design patterns can facilitate a shared, social learning experience that blurs the boundaries between inspiration and instruction, as well as between content and community. Three trends are currently sweeping digital media: Tablets are moving from content consumption to creation, social features are increasingly pervasive, and everything is shifting to the cloud. Join us to explore how this trifecta creates exciting opportunities for designers and developers, and to examine our own promising effort at taking advantage of these trends.

Flash Pro CS5.5.1 updater now available

The Flash Professional CS5.5.1 updater is now available. This update contains fixes for opening and saving some Flash Professional files (FLAs) in CS5.5, and other bug fixes.

You can get the updater via the Support/Downloads page or the Adobe Update Manager.


Update Manager: To install the update, launch Flash and choose Help > Updates. The Update Manager will launch and offer to download and install the updater.

Using CSS with TLF text

In the Flash Pro CS5.5 release, the ability to use CSS stylesheets with TLF text was added. Previously you could only use them with Classic text blocks.

In order to use CSS with Flash, you need to use ActionScript 3.0. The basic requirements are as follows:

  • You need a CSS file that contains your style definitions. (Just a text file with a .css filename extension)
  • An URLLoader instance
  • An URLRequest instance
  • A function that gets called when the COMPLETE event fires from the URLLoader. This function is where you will apply the style sheet to the text.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Create CSS text file with style definitions
  2. In ActionScript, create an URLLoader instance.
  3. Create an URLRequest instance.
  4. Add an event listener for the URLLoader instance’s Event.COMPLETE event.
  5. In the function that’s called when the COMPLETE event fires, create a new StyleSheet instance.
  6. Call the parseCSS method on the URLLoader data (which contains the stylesheet).
  7. Apply the style sheet to the text instance.
  8. Apply individual styles from the style sheet to the text in the text instance.

Paul Trani has just posted a new video tutorial on how to set this all up in ActionScript 3.0. The video page also includes a link to the sample files he’s using.

Note that there is a code error in the video at 3:20 that gets corrected later at 6:55. (The line css.parseCSS( should be css.parseCSS(