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Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Optimizing artwork

5/1/2013 1:43:20 AM
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In Flash Catalyst, graphic optimization options include converting vector graphics to bitmaps, compressing images, and converting embedded images to linked files. When you import a design document, you can choose fidelity options that do some of the graphic optimization for you. But even after importing graphics into your Flash Catalyst project, you can use the optimization options in the Heads-Up Display (HUD) or the Modify menu to apply settings to individual images.

When you select artwork, the optimization options appear in the HUD. The options include:

Tip

When you select an optimized vector graphic, the Optimize Vector Graphics option changes to Break Apart Graphic. To edit the parts of a complex vector graphic that has been optimized, you must first break it apart.


Optimize Vector Graphics compiles a selected graphic into a low-level Flash object that displays more quickly in Flash Catalyst and at runtime. Once you optimize a vector drawing in Flash Catalyst, you can no longer edit its stroke and fill. In an optimized vector graphic file, all MXML information (vector, stroke, path, fill, and so on) is kept separately in an FXG file. When you optimize a vector graphic, a new optimized graphic is added to the Library panel in the Optimized Graphics category. The new optimized graphic replaces your original graphic in the artboard.

Rasterize converts a static vector graphic or text into a bitmap image. It replaces the image in the artboard with a PNG file and places a copy of the PNG in the Library panel. Use this option to optimize static vector graphics or text.

Compress adds compression to a bitmap image. It places a smaller (lower-quality) copy of the bitmap image in the Library panel. When you compress an image with transparency, the transparency is lost.

Convert To Linked Image converts an embedded image to a linked image. By default the images you add to your application are embedded and will be published as part of the SWF file. To reduce the size of your application, you can link images. Linking an image stores it outside the SWF file and loads the image when you run the application.

Optimize artwork

When you imported the Illustrator file, Flash Catalyst suggested you optimize graphics to improve the performance of your application. The gray border at the top of the artboard is made up of a rectangle shape and several small paths used to create the horizontal stripes. You don’t need to work with these items separately, so you can optimize the Top Graphic.

1.
In the Layers panel, click the small triangle to expand the Top Graphic layer.

The Top Graphic layer includes two objects: Group and Rectangle.

2.
Click the small triangle to expand the Group row.

Every stripe in the graphic is a separate path.

3.
Click the small triangle again to collapse the Group row.

4.
In the Layers panel, click the Top Graphic layer to select all its contents.

5.
In the Optimize Artwork section of the HUD, choose Optimize Vector Graphics.

The parts of the Top Graphic are combined into a single optimized graphic named Graphic1.

6.
Save your changes, and then choose File > Close Project.

The project closes and you return to the Flash Catalyst Welcome screen.

Bitmap and vector graphics: What’s the difference?

Flash Catalyst supports both vector and bitmap graphics, making it a very powerful design tool. For example, the artwork you import may include both vector and bitmap graphics.

Vector graphics are mathematical equations describing the distance and angle between two points. Additional information, such as the color and thickness of a line (stroke) and the contents of a path (fill) can also be set. Vectors can be sized up or down without losing image quality.

Bitmap (raster) images are made of a specific number of pixels mapped to a grid. Each pixel has a specific location and color value. An image with more pixels has a higher resolution and a larger file size.

Another example of the difference between vector and bitmap is that a photograph can accurately depict a physical scene in a single image layer. To produce similar realism in a vector illustration could require hundreds of vector shapes stacked upon each other.

This is not to suggest that bitmaps are better than vectors, or vice versa; both of these main graphic types are integral to visual communication and designing in Flash Catalyst.

The illustrations at right are examples of vector and bitmap graphics. On the left is an image created with many paths. The image on the right is a bitmap photograph.

 
Others
 
- Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Importing artwork
- Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5 : Preparing a design document
- Adobe After Effects CS5 : Animating Text - Animating imported Photoshop text
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- Adobe After Effects CS5 : Animating Text - Animating with scale keyframes
- Adobe Fireworks CS5 : Working with Vector Graphics - Scaling vector objects, Adding text to your design
- Adobe Fireworks CS5 : Working with Vector Graphics - Changing the appearance of basic vector shapes
- Adobe Flash Professional CS5 : Working Within the Flash Environment - Working with Frames
- Adobe Flash Professional CS5 : Working Within the Flash Environment - Changing Layer Properties, Using Guide Layers
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