Editing Flash Cast Members
Wouldn't it be convenient to be able to double-click on a Flash movie in the Cast window and have it open for editing, just as you can with bitmapped cast members? Well, you can sort of. There's just a slight obstacle : SWF files, the only kind of Flash files Director imports, aren't editable. FLA files, howeverthe Flash authoring files from which SWF files are exported are editable. So if Director knows the location of the FLA file to which a particular SWF file belongs, it can do the file-swapping behind the scenes, and make the SWF file act as if it's editable.
In order for this juggling act to work, Flash MX must be installed on your computer. When Director is installed, it automatically checks for the presence of Flash on your computer; if it finds it, it adds Flash to its list of available editing programs. If you install Flash after you install Director, you must inform Director manually that Flash is now available.
To add Flash to the list of external editors:
Choose Edit > Preferences > Editors (Windows) or Director > Preferences > Editors (Mac).
The Editors Preferences dialog box opens ( Figure 11.22 ).
Figure 11.22. The Editors Preferences dialog box lets you specify an external editor.
In the first column, select Flash.
Click the Edit button.
The Select Editor for Flash dialog box appears.
Click the Use External Editor radio button.
Click the Browse button.
The Choose a File dialog box opens ( Figure 11.23 ).
Figure 11.23. The Choose a File dialog box appears.
Navigate to the Flash MX application and click Open (Windows) or Choose (Mac).
Flash now is listed as the external editor for Flash files ( Figure 11.24 ).
Figure 11.24. After you select the Flash MX application icon, Flash MX is listed as the external editor for Flash files in the Editors Preferences dialog box.
Click OK to close the dialog box.
To associate an FLA file with an SWF file:
Select a Flash cast member in the Cast window.
Select the Flash tab in the Property Inspector.
In the lower pane of the Property Inspector, click the Browse button (labeled with three dots, as in Figure 11.25 ).
Figure 11.25. Click the Browse button, located in the lower pane of the Flash tab in the Property Inspector.
A "Locate Flash source file for member" dialog box appears ( Figure 11.26 ).
Figure 11.26. The "Locate Flash source file for member" dialog box.
Navigate to the FLA file that you want to link to the cast member.
Click Open (Windows) or Choose (Mac).
The new path and filename appear in the Filename field on the Property Inspector's Flash tab.
To edit a Flash cast member:
In the Cast window, double-click the Flash cast member that you want to edit ( Figure 11.27 ).
Figure 11.27. Double-click a Flash cast member that you want to edit.
The FLA file associated with the cast member opens in Flash ( Figure 11.28 ). Above the Flash timeline, there is a header bar that says "Editing from Director," accompanied by a Done button ( Figure 11.29 ).
Figure 11.28. The cast member being edited in Flash.
Figure 11.29. This button and header appear above the timeline in Flash.
Edit the Flash movie.
Click the Done button.
Flash automatically exports a new SWF file.
Director becomes the active application and automatically imports the new SWF file. The edited cast member appears in the Cast window ( Figure 11.30 ).
Figure 11.30. The revised cast member in Director's Cast window.
When you double-click a Flash cast member, if you haven't previously associated an FLA file with that cast member, Director will bring up the "Locate Flash source file for member" dialog box so you can choose one.
If you switch back to Director while the Flash editing session is still in progress, you'll see the alert box shown in Figure 11.31 . Don't click the Done button heredoing so will cancel the editing operation. Instead, switch back to Flash, finish editing, and then click the Done button above the Flash timeline.
Figure 11.31. This alert box appears if you switch to Director while in the process of editing a Flash cast member.