Week 6: August 1-6

tuesday   thursday   TO DO

 

Tuesday, August 10

 

DUE August 8: Assignment 4

Weekly Checklist

 

 

GAMEPLAN

  • Motion Editor
  • Motion Presets
  • Flash Libraries - included
  • Flash Extensions
  • Components
  • Sounds

 

DISCUSSION

 

Motion Editor

  • Basic Motion
  • Rotation
  • Color Effect
  • Filters
  • Eases

 

Flash Motion Presets

  • Window/Motion Presets
  • Common
  • Custom
  • Modify Common for custom

 

Flash Common Libraries

  • Buttons
  • Sounds
  • Classes - for use with Actionscripting, web services, etc.

 

Flash Extensions

  • These are shortcuts that designers/scripters create, and many are free
  • Example: Frames-to-Symbol (and Symbol-to-Frames) - good if you do layers work and want to convert into a symbol: select the layers and frames you want to put into a MovieClip, click the button, and it does all the work for you.
  • Here are some to experiment with: Ajar Productions Blog
  • Extension Manager - Download to install and manage Flash extensions

 

Components

  • Components are pre-created Flash widgets (animated movie clips) that behave in a consistent way and are ready to use without you having to write the Actionscript.
  • While there are components in Actionscript 2, make sure to create an Actionscript 3 file to get full component and skinning possibilities.
  • Include User Interface, Video pieces, Media pieces, Data (heavy programming only)
  • Let's look at User Interface: UIScrollBar, Calendar, Textbox
    • Other User Interface pieces work with Flash Forms
    • Media works with creating players and galleries
    • Video works with movies to be embedded
  • There are many other components, but you'll need to research those on your own, especially since some have actionscript additions to make the component do something specific.
  • Button components are cool, but for now you already know how to do your own basic buttons.
  • The Component Inspector is a useful tool when you are programming components. Stick with the basics only, stay away from the code under the hood

 

Component Inspector

  • Binding Tab - Developers
  • Schema Tab - Developers
  • Parameters Tab - this is the one visual designers use most
    • Value Column - This is where you make adjustments to how the component will work with the content/need you have

 

Component Process

  • Place on the stage
  • Name the Instance of the component (for later actionscripting, if needed)
  • Populate it with data as needed (using Component Inspector Parameters)
    • This can include aiming to a file to be loaded or Dynamic Text to appear)
  • Modify the basic appearance as allowed in the Properties Tab (size, location, text, etc.)
  • Skin the component if you wish to modify more of its appearance
  • Define the Actionscript that gets triggered (if any) when the component's Event fires (like a Button)
  • Place and set the additional components that might work together (like form elements such as radio buttons).

 

Deleting Components Cleanly

  • Don't just delete the component from the stage - leaves behind assets in your library
  • Instead, Select the component on the stage, choose Edit/Clear
  • Then, in Library, look for the component piece with an instance use of 0, then delete that.
  • Then, in the Library, click the Component Assets folder, find the Skins folder for the component, and delete that too.

 

Skinning Components

  • Skinning components means changing how the skin of the component looks (different than the default look)
  • If you plan to use the same component more than once, and want a consistent look for each, make your Skinning changes before adding data, actionscript, or content. Example - buttons.
  • Must be in a saved Actionscript 3 file for skinning to be available
  • Right-click on your component and choose Edit
  • Modify the parts of the component that appear in the Skinner. This only changes the appearance of the component instance you choose.

 

Sounds

  • Sounds can be dropped into animations just like symbols
  • Sounds don't automatically stop when you animation does
  • You need to put a stop action on the last frame of your sound if it is longer than the movie
  • You need to loop the sound if you want a soundtrack when the movie is longer than the sound
  • You can add sound to a frame
  • You can add sound directly to a button

 

TASKS

  • Make a new Template file which you save as Actionscript 3.0 version - add the INFO layer and library folders. Add a new library folder called Components.

 

 

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Thursday, August 12

 

GAMEPLAN

  • SEO Maximizing
  • Mostly lab time

 

DISCUSSION

 

Basic SEO & Accessibility

  • The purpose of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to make a website as search engine friendly as possible, so that it can be found when searched for and whenever possible have high rankings in search engines like Google.
  • Don't ignore best practices. An example of good practice: put keywords in ALT tags, page file names, headlines, title tags and link anchor text.
  • Check out general SEO Basics
  • Accessibility is directly related to SEO - Alt tags, link names and titles, etc., so that Text Readers can relate the info to visually-impaired individuals.

 

Flash and Search Engines

  • Flash and Search Engines don't really mix
  • Flash is a compiled upload, and can't easily be searched/indexed.
  • HTML can create different "weight" to elements, like head, bold, etc. In Flash, that doesn't work the same way.
  • Google and Yahoo now use a special Flash Player to be able to search inside of Flash movies.
  • Google and Yahoo! are able to index text compiled into a SWF, as well as any HTML code that is automatically generated by Flash.
  • Although the SWF itself is not very searchable, any content inside a SWF can still be made very visible by using the right tactics.

 

Flash and Accessibility

  • Flash also has problems with accessibility.
  • No Alt tags
  • No link names/titles
  • Text readers can't look inside the compiled Flash movie to see what is there to be translated

 

SEO: What you can do

  • Use the Flash File Info section fully to describe the movie with the available metadata fields, and give keywords, description, copyright, author name, etc.
  • Use Actionscript to create deep links that can be found/indexed
  • Use multiple external movie SWFs in the main movie, so each external movie may have its own File Info tailored to it
  • Maximize the searchable areas - any text used in the Flash movie and any URLs used in your Actionscript
  • Use HTML in dynamic text fields for SEO in Flash, along with CSS or the TextFormat class (per O'Reilly)

 

Accessibility: What you can do

  • Use the simplest and cleanest language for any text content
  • Provide a text equivalent for all images, like captions, which can be found in a search
  • Place text elements in the order in which they are read
  • Distribute information evenly
  • Keep Images on screen for a longer period of time, and avoid using flashing images
  • Prepare for Flash Player 6 and higher, since these players have better accessibility support.
  • For static movies, use the Window/Other Panels/Accessibility panel, and set Make Movie Accessible and Make Child Objects Accessible. Don't use Auto label unless you are a developer and know what this means.
  • For dynamic movies, Actionscript will need to be used for accessibility features.

 

Flash and Security

  • Flash offers some code security to the average viewer since you cannot see the source of a compiled file.
  • Hackers, however, find/create tools to dig into the Flash movies to find assets you have used and extract your Actionscript code (per O'Reilly)

 

Flash Security Tips

  • Avoid using private data
  • If you do have text information in the file that you need to see but which can be considered private or irrelevant to a search engine, convert the text to outlines.
  • Use Optimal settings in the Publish Settings - the Flash Tab:
    • Specify Flash Player detection, click the HTML tab and select Detect Flash Version and enter Flash Player version to detect.
    • Include XMP metadata (Default) Exports all metadata entered in the File Info dialog box.
    • Protect From Import - Prevents others from importing a SWF file and converting it back into a FLA document, and has password protection option. Helpful but not perfect.
    • Select the Flash security model to use from the Local Playback Security pop‑up menu, and set to Local
    • Set for Flash Player 8 and higher, since Player 7 and lower have less built-in security.
    • If you are into programming, get the basics of Actionscript 3.0 since this version of actionscript accesses better security tools.

 

DEMO

 

 

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TO DO

 

 
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