Flash 5 Tutorial
Part 9 - Exporting Your Animation
Over the past 8 parts of this tutorial I have taught you the basics of how to create an animation, or even a full site, in Flash. Finally, in this part, I will show you how to export your animation for use on the web.
The movies you have been working with for the past few weeks are saved as .fla files. These are Flash 5's own file format, which is used when creating and editing files. These files, though, are no good for use on the web for several reasons. Firstly, they are quite large, usually about double the size they will be on the web, and they cannot be played by people's web browsers, even with the Flash plugin.
For use on the web, Flash files must be saved as .swf files. These will play in any browser which has the Flash 5 plugin. You can make your flash file work on older versions of the Flash plugin as well, though. To do this you must use the Publish option in Flash.
The publish option doesn't only export to .swf files but can also do a variety of different file formats including creating the HTML code for the web and a stand-alone player for distribution.
Before publishing your flash file you should first check the settings for the output. Click File, Publish Settings... to bring up the publish settings menu. Here you can select the formats you want to output. Some of the most useful ones are:
- Flash - The .swf file which contains the animation
- HTML - The HTML code for including the Flash on your website (recommended)
- GIF - An animated GIF with all the frames of your animation will be output
- Windows Projector - Will create an .exe file which will play the animation, whether the Flash player is installed or not (useful for ditribution offline)
For each option you have selected a tab will appear at the top of the window. This contains the advanced options for each of the options you selected. These are not particularly important unless you are not happy with the current options that have been set. They let you change things like the quality of the animation, the size of the image and the quality of the audio. This is quite useful for exporting your animation for use offline (where quality can be higher) etc.
The final stage is to now Publish your movie. You can either click the Publish button or choose File, Publish. Before doing this you may want to preview the published version by choosing File, Publish Preview and then choosing what you want to have a preview of. Once your files are published you can test them out by running them as normal.
You can publish your movie as many times as you like without problems, although it is normal to wait until it is finished to do this.
Now all you have to do is to upload your files as you would normally (remember you will need both HTML and .swf to make it work online) or put the files on your distribution media (CD etc.) and your animation is finished.
Over the past 9 parts of this tutorial you have learned the basics, and some of the advanced parts, of creating a site or animation in Flash 5. There is a lot more you can learn, though, and in the future we will be running a tutorial on some of the more advanced things you can do with flash. There are also many other websites on the internet about Flash (like FlashKit which has loads of useful information).
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