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7. Test the movie.
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You will most likely get a brief glimpse of the preloader, and then the image appears. Surely, that image didn t load that fast In fact, it did, but what you may not know is the reason for it loading so fast is because you are testing the movie on your computer. Here s how to get a more accurate look at this project.
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8. With the SWF playing, select View Simulate Download, as shown in Figure 14-3. This
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choice allows you to simulate performance when content is delivered through a modem. You should now see the numbers start to change.
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We are going to do a deep dive into Simulate Download in the next chapter. For now, just work along with us.
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BUILDING STUFF
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Figure 14-3. Use Simulate Download to check out performance through a modem.
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Somebody stole my preloader
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In 11 we showed you how to use the ProgressBar component. It is a useful component but contains very little eye candy. This project shows you how to roll your own progress bar but add a bit more jazz to the preloading process by replacing the bar with the animation of a thief fleeing from the scene of the crime. Here s how:
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1. Open the preloader2.fla file.
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How this preloader works is rather simple. As the overly large cow image in frame 2 loads into the SWF, the thief runs from one side of the screen to the other. This preloader uses the width of the Flash stage as the width of the bar, and, as the content loads, the thief s horizontal position on the stage matched the percentage of the content that has loaded. The drawing of the thief was created in Adobe Illustrator, and Illustrator s layers were used for the various running positions. These positions were imported into Flash as movie clips, and if you open the runnerAnimation movie clip in the Library, as shown in Figure 14-4, you can see how the animation was created. The animation is in its own layer on the main timeline and has the instance name of thief. The streetscape was created using the Pen tool in Flash. What you can gather from this is that combining the tools and applications available to you is always an option. Though this is a rather interesting way of creating a preloader, always keep in mind that it, too, must be small for it to load fast. This means keeping everything as simple as possible.
The authors would like to thank Pascal Baumann for creating this exercise for use in the book. Pascal is a self-employed creative director from Zurich, Switzerland, currently living in Bangkok, Thailand. His work can be seen at www.pascalbaumann.com.
Figure 14-4. A simple animation can be used as an engaging preloader.
2. Click once in frame 1 of the Actions layer, and enter the following code:
import flash.events.Event; stop(); addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, myloading); function myloading(evt:Event) { var bytestotal:int = stage.loaderInfo.bytesTotal; var bytesloaded:int = stage.loaderInfo.bytesLoaded; var percent:int = Math.round(bytesloaded*100/bytestotal); thief.x = stage.stageWidth / 100 * percent;
if (bytesloaded >= bytestotal) { gotoAndStop(2); removeEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, myloading); } }
BUILDING STUFF
The myloading function is remarkably similar to the previous example. The major difference here is the movement of the thief across the stage The thief instance s x property is determined by the width of the stage. Its position at any one time is simply set by multiplying the result of the percent variable by 100 and dividing the width of the stage by that number. Once that is determined, the thief instance is sent to that position on the x-axis.
3. Test the movie, and select Simulate Download while the SWF is playing. The thief, as shown
in Figure 14-5, runs across the stage, and when he moves off the right side of the stage, the cow image appears.
Figure 14-5. Preloading is almost complete.
Building a slide show with components and XML
The popularity of websites like Flickr and Photobucket prove that people like to share photos. Of course, this was true even before the Internet. But modern technology makes it easier than ever to whip out that tumbling, unfolding wallet and proudly show off all the kids, aunts, uncles, cousin Ed, and Finnegan, not only to friends but to every human on the planet. At the rate most people take pictures, photo collections just keep growing. So, if you were to make a photo slide show in Flash, you would want to be sure it was easy to update. With components and XML, that goal is closer than you may think. To explore the concept, we ll start in an interesting location: the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing, China. During the course of writing this book, one of the authors was in Beijing. One night, he was enjoying dinner in the company of a couple of Adobe engineers, John Zhang and Zhong Zhou. Naturally, one of the dishes was duck and, because of the restaurant s history, there was a particular way in which the duck was served and to be consumed. The author was struggling, and Zhong Zhou called the waitress over to demonstrate the proper (and complex!) procedure. It involved a wafer-thin wrap, duck meat, sauces, scallions, and a couple of other treats, which were to be added in a particular order. It took a
couple of tries, but the grimacing author finally nailed it. When he thanked Zhong Zhu for the lesson, Zhong said, It s really simple if you first master the process. Mastering the creation of a Flash slide show is a lot like preparing that duck dish: it is all about process. We are going to show you two ways of creating a slide show, but the process is essentially the same for both. In fact, you ll be using some of the same process for the MP3 and video players later in the chapter.
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