WebRef Update: Featured Article: Get Creative With Flash Preloaders | 2 | WebReference

WebRef Update: Featured Article: Get Creative With Flash Preloaders | 2


Get Creative With Flash Preloaders

The Two Most-Used Methods of Preloading

Okay. So now you have this dynamite preload sequence that's going to keep your visitor glued to the screen. But how do you load your stuff? You can use either the "IF FRAME IS LOADED" technique, or what I call the "SHOVE IT UNDER THE RUG" technique. Keep in mind, these are brief, generalized descriptions that assume some knowledge of editing and scripting in Flash. If you don't follow it all, don't worry about it right now. There are links to more complete introductions to Flash at the end of this article, under RESOURCES.

If Frame Is Loaded

  1. Place your preload sequence into your movie as "Scene 1". Make certain that it's at the top of your "Scenes" list. Your main material is "Scene 2".
  2. In "Scene 1", create two layers, "Labels" and "Actions". You can place your preload animation on keyframe 1 on the "Actions" layer, or make a third layer just for it.
  3. On the "Labels" layer, keyframe 1, place label "Start".
  4. On the "Actions" layer, keyframe 1, assign action: If "Frame Is Loaded"; on right side, choose "Scene 2"; enter LAST frame number of Scene 2; choose "Go To and Play"; enter "Scene 2, frame 1".
  5. Still on the "Actions" layer, select final keyframe; assign action: "Go To and Play"; enter "Scene 1"; choose label "Start".

Shove It Under The Rug

This is the technique that makes those progress bars behave on schedule, and allows you to notify your visitor about what portion is being loaded.

  1. Place your preload sequence into your movie as "Scene 1". Make certain that it's at the top of your 'Scenes' list. Your main material is "Scene 2".
  2. In "Scene 1", create three layers, "Animation", "Rug", and "Underneath". Place your preload animation on keyframe 1 on the "Animation" layer.
  3. On the "Rug" Layer, cover the entire stage with a filled rectangle, or your animation background. This hides what's happening underneath.
  4. On the "Underneath" layer, make a keyframe at frames 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.... one for each "sweep" under your "Rug". Dump all your graphics in keyframe2, movie clips in keyframe 4, and so on. Be sure to turn off the sound files (Stop Sync) or they will play during the preload.

A Final Note

Whatever approach you take, it is absolutely essential that you engage your visitor right away. Your visitor wants to know that you appreciate the necessity of a waiting period, and that you're doing something to alleviate boredom. Your preloader is just as important as the rest of your material, and should never be treated as an afterthought.

Resources

Links, learning and resources, straight from the source.
www.macromedia.com/support/flash/

Covering interface and flash design. Includes two membership areas.
navworks.i-us.com/index.asp

Flash news, movies, tutorials, links and more.
www.flashkit.com

About the Author:

Robert Roberts is a multi-talented artist who has been working in San Francisco since 1979. A classically-trained musician/composer, he prefers doing freelance graphics, which has included many facets of "traditional" media and tattoo art. He got his first computer just over two years ago, "discovered" digital graphics, and hasn't stopped discovering. He just recently launched his own freelance design business.

You can reach Robert at: info@gooddoggygrafx.com or www.gooddoggygrafx.com.

Previous: Introduction, Two Styles of Preloaders

This article originally appeared in the February 17, 2000 edition of the WebReference Update Newsletter.

http://www.internet.com

Comments are welcome
Written by Robert Roberts and

Revised: May 9, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/new/flashpt2.html