Creating a Flash movie without using Macromedia Flash

After years of using Adobe CS, I attempted to learn Macromedia Flash, but was put off by the user-unfriendly interface and the long tutorials which didn’t seem to make sense. So after a bit of research on the internet, I found out how to make a Flash movie in ImageReady. These techniques can also be used to export a Flash movie from Illustrator.

Planning your movie

Decide what you would like to design and which programs you need to use (eg, I use Illustrator for cartoon graphics and Photoshop for photos). It helps to plan out what sequence of events you see happening in the “movie”, like mapping out a storyboard.

Creating graphics

Create the images needed for each slide of the movie in the particular applications. In this instance, I created images for the people in Illustrator:

– of the people sitting down
– when one winks
– when one opens its mouth
– when they jump up
– when they jump further up

Save the images as eps files, then open them in Photoshop and drag them all onto separate layers of the one file. By turning the layers on and off, you will be able to see what the movements would be. I created the background in Photoshop, using the handy brush tools to make grass, and the lasso marquee tool to create mountains and clouds. Save your work as a psd file. When satisfied with the setup, press the button on the bottom of the toolbar (or File/Edit in ImageReady) to transfer the whole thing to Adobe ImageReady.

Creating the movie

In ImageReady open Window/Animation to view the animation toolbar. You will have one frame showing by default in the toolbar. Turn the layers on/off until you have the image that you want to begin the movie with. Click on the little arrow within the frame to select how long you want this frame to play. (eg, I selected 1 sec for the first frame).

Click the arrow on the side of the dialogue box for New Frame. Repeat previous step, but for your second frame turn the layers on/off until you have something a bit different from the first frame. Set the length of the frame (I selected 0.2 secs). You can edit any frame you want by clicking on that particular frame and changing layers etc.

Repeat previous steps until movie frames are finished. If you haven’t already done so, press the “Play” button to see how your movie looks and adjust frames and times accordingly. Note: you have to press “Stop” to edit the frames again. Save your work (this should save automatically as part of the psd file you saved earlier).

When satisfied the movie is finished, click File/Export/Macromedia Flash swf (ImageReady CS and Illustrator CS come with this feature) and select any additional options you require.