Archive for September, 2006

How to Tween a Mask Along a Motion Guide

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Masking in Flash is easy to implement.  Take an existing layer with artwork, create a new layer above it, draw your mask shape, then right-click/Command-click and choose Mask.  Done.  Include as many layers as you like in the masked stack by dragging additional layers slowly up toward the stack then slightly right until they snap into place.  Lock and unlock layers to show and hide the mask effect.

Your mask shape reveals the artwork beneath it and hides everything else.  This works with imported photos, shapes and symbols, text fields (remember to embed font outlines if text is dynamic or input), and even video.  In fact, you can add keyframes to the mask’s layer in order to tween it (shape tweening if the mask is a shape; motion tweening if the mask is a symbol).  But what if you want to tween your mask along a motion guide?  Select your mask layer and click the Add Motion Guide button at the bottom left of the Timeline panel:  nothing happens.  Interesting, right?  Where’s that motion guide layer?  Is it possible to tween masks in this way?  Well, let’s see.  Keep reading »

How to Validate an Email Address (ActionScript 1.0 or 2.0)

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006
ActionScript 2.0

When it comes to programming, I generally like to work out my own solutions to a problem, just because it feels so good to finally nail a challenge.  Often enough, of course, someone else beats me to the punch.  Those are the times I study the code until I really understand it — which may require a number of readings! — and then smile in admiration of the author.  I’ve been a fan of Ralf Bokelberg’s programming for years and wasn’t surprised at all to find that he’s written an elegant approach to validating email addresses in ActionScript (pre-AS3; that is, without the benefit of regular expressions).  Keep reading »

How to Position Movie Clips Based on Browser Resizing

Friday, September 22nd, 2006
ActionScript 2.0 Flash

It’s not hard to make a SWF resize itself to the dimensions of the browser.  All it takes, in fact, is to set the width and height attributes of the HTML’s <object> <param> element and/or <embed> element to 100%.  There are a number of ways to determine the SWF’s display, too:  show all (default) makes the entire movie visible while maintaining the original aspect ratio of the SWF (if the browser’s aspect ratio differs, you’ll get the equivalent of “letterbox” borders either horizontally or vertically); no border gets rid those potential borders, but may crop parts of the SWF instead; exact fit distorts the SWF, if necessary, to make the entire movie visible without borders or cropping.  See Adobe TechNote 12701 for complete details.

Fine and good.  Now, what if you want to allow the Stage to resize, but not its contents?  What if you want to adjust the position of various movie clips — such as a logo, navigation, or content area — in response to the Stage’s new dimensions as the browser is resized?  Luckily, that’s not hard either.  :)   Let’s take a look.  Keep reading »

Flashforward 2006, Day 4:  Finish with a Bang!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
Flash General

Note:  I started this entry on the actual fourth day of Flashforward.  Clearly, several days have passed since then — still catching up! — but I’ll leave my wording as is.


Back to Phil Heinz for another Flex Builder 2 session.  Today’s was a follow-up on his intro to Flex from yesterday, this time delving deeper into socket connections for real time applications.  Honestly, the workflow efficiency of Flex Builder 2, as compared with Flash — for this sort of application; that is, “programs” rather than intros, games, and relatively “lighter” content — really is phenomenal.  I’m excited to see where RIA development will lead in the coming years, now that the Flex SDK (with compiler) is free and the Flex Builder 2 IDE is priced comparably to Flash.  Keep reading »

Flashforward 2006, Day 3

Thursday, September 14th, 2006
Flash General

Today was another good one.  I’m glad I budgeted for this conference, because the sessions are good — and on paper, that’s the reason folks come — but in addition to that, Flashforward is a great opportunity to meet people of like mind.  Keep reading »

Flashforward 2006, Day 2

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006
Flash General

I made it!

Caught the last half of the keynote address.  Saw some cool quick glimpses of an in-house Flash 9 beta that happened so quickly, I barely remember what blipped in front of my eyes — but I’ll say this:  there were nifty thin vertical toolbars, somewhat like the Tools panel, whose icons seemed to slide open traditional panels like the Timeline, then slide them away again, maximizing Stage real estate (much cleaner than collapsible panels, which nonetheless take up space while collapsed).  I downed two cups of coffee while watching, so my observation faculties only kicked in after the projection screens went idle.  ;)   Keep reading »

Flashforward 2006, Day 1.5:  “Please, sir, I want some more!”

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006
Flash General

Shortly after I finished that last upbeat post, I boarded the plane to Houston; from there, it would be a short hop to Austin.  I shuffled my way to seat 15A and found a gentleman sitting in my seat.  He showed me his ticket — his also indicated 15A.  ;)   Keep reading »

Flashforward 2006, Day 1:  Makin’ Lemonade

Monday, September 11th, 2006
Flash General

lol  Well, you may have heard the expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  That’s good advice, especially when things seem to go wrong all at once.  Keep reading »

Off to Flashforward 2006!

Monday, September 11th, 2006

I’ll be in Austin, Texas later today.  Just wrapping up loose ends before I leave.  It’s late, and I should really be in bed, but I’m excited!  I’m looking forward to meeting a number of virtual acquaintances from the Adobe forums, fellow Community MX partners, and other friends I know but haven’t yet met in person.

I crammed in a bit of overtime to allow myself this coming week off.  No freelance.  Minimal email — though I’ll keep an eye on the Community MX forums while I’m gone.  Interestingly, the date of my flight happens to be 9/11.  I feel … I don’t know, oddly indifferent about that.  It doesn’t make me nervous.

I plan to blog while I’m there, but we’ll see what kind of free time I have.  Got my business cards and Quip t-shirts.  If you see me there (this is what I look like), be sure to say hello!

Broken Bones

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Somehow, Meridian managed to break her arm — in two places.  It’s been a few days now, and I hasten to add that Meridian is just fine.  Really, she’s a trooper.  Dawn and I occasionally blink and shake our heads at the wonder of it all:  one, that this happened in the first place, and two, that it’s not nearly as dramatic as it sounds.  Keep reading »