All vector graphics are made up of paths in one shape or another. A
Vector graphics are eventually
, so to speak. The vector formatting for drawn
When you use imported vector graphics in Flash movies, you should minimize the number of points describing curved lines or
For tips on optimizing vector artwork in other applications, including Adobe Illustrator, Streamline, and Macromedia FreeHand, as well as coverage of export options, refer to Chapter 37, "Working with Vector Graphics," on this book's CD-ROM.
There are also a number of ways that you can simplify artwork after it has been imported to Flash. We have discussed many of these Flash features in previous chapters, but we will
Many graphics programs, such as Discreet 3D Studio Max and Adobe Dimensions, can create some astonishing vector-based graphics. However, when you import vector versions of those graphics into Flash, they either fall apart (display horribly) or add
Depending on the specific use of the artwork, you may also be able to output small raster equivalents that won't
For example, if you made a highly detailed technical drawing of a light bulb, and wanted to bring it into Flash, you could import the original version of the drawing into Flash, place it on a locked Guide layer, and use Flash drawing tools to re-create a
Figure 16-21: Compare the original imported vector artwork of the light bulb (left) with the stylized version drawn in Flash (right).
Many other Flash SWF tools can help to speed up the work of optimizing vector artwork — for example, Electric Rain's Swift 3D can simplify 3D models and output .swf files. The art and science of creating 3D Flash graphics is a complex topic that is beyond the scope of this book. If this is an area that you would like to learn more about, we suggest you refer to The Flash MX 3D Graphics Bible by Matthew David (Wiley, 2003).
Another aspect of vector graphics that you need to keep in mind — especially when working with other designers — is font linking and embedding. With most vector file formats, such as Illustrator, FreeHand, or EPS, you can link to fonts that are located on your system. However, if you give those files to someone who doesn't have those fonts installed, then he won't be able to see or use the fonts. Some formats enable you to embed fonts into the document file, which circumvents this problem. However, whether the fonts are linked or embedded, you may be unnecessarily bloating the size of the vector graphic.
You can break apart imported text in Flash by using the Modify
Break apart command (Ctrl+B or
+B). You have to first break the text into
You can also convert any text into outlines (or paths ) in most drawing or illustration programs (see Figure 16-22). In Macromedia FreeHand, select the text as a text block (with the Selection tool, not the Text tool) and choose Text Convert to Paths. In Adobe Illustrator, select the text as an object and choose Type Create Outlines.
Figure 16-22: Make sure that you have finished editing your text before converting it into outlines. The text at the top can be edited, whereas the text at the bottom can only be modified as individual shapes.
If you have a lot of body text in the graphic, you may want to copy the text directly into a Flash text box and use a _sans, _serif, or other device font. These fonts do not require additional file information (as embedded fonts do) when used in a Flash movie.
You can also reduce the complexity of paths within Flash by using the Modify
Optimize command. This has the same effect as the Simplify command in FreeHand, with a couple of extra options. When working with bitmaps or symbols, be sure to use the Modify
Break apart command, and if you are working with a
Figure 16-23: A complex vector graphic simplified with maximum smoothing
For a more detailed description of the Optimize curves options, refer to Chapter 5, "Drawing in Flash."
Flash 8 includes a
Figure 16-24: Bitmap caching can be enabled in the Property inspector when a Movie Clip or Button symbol is selected in the authoring environment.
There are a few limitations to bitmap caching that you should keep in mind:
Bitmap caching uses significantly more memory than rendering vectors. Use bitmap caching only when it will noticeably improve the performance (smoothness) of your animation.
If your animation requires a tight zoom on vector content, it will look pixilated if the cache as bitmap option is enabled for that item.
Bitmap caching will fail if it is applied to a symbol that is larger than 2,880 pixels tall or wide.
If the graphic with bitmap caching enabled is nested inside of another symbol that is
If the Flash Player runs out of memory (producing an error), bitmap caching will be
Bitmap caching can also improve performance on applications with scrolling text fields or overlapping
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