Let's Flash!

Written by Elmer Horvath


Most of you have visited web sites filled with video-like animation, sound effects and music synchronized torepparttar animation, enhanced interactivity, and stunning graphics - all of which appear to load and play almost instantly.

These sites seem to have rocketed their design to "another level" and you've surely wondered, "How did they do that?"

More than likely, you were experiencing a site designed using Flash orrepparttar 134787 SWF file format.

Flash (developed by Macromedia) isrepparttar 134788 leading vector graphics technology for designing high-impact, low-bandwidth web sites. SWF (ShockWave Flash) isrepparttar 134789 file format used by Macromedia Flash to deliver graphics, animation and sound overrepparttar 134790 Internet. These techniques are rapidly changingrepparttar 134791 way we play, work, or just browse online.

What are vector graphics? Vector graphics, which manipulate coordinates and mathematical formulas rather than pixel-by-pixel bitmaps, produce graphics files that are one-tenthrepparttar 134792 size of bitmaps. Additionally, SWF can deliver animation, rich colors, sound, and interactivity. Moreover, this approach downloads faster, it's scalable (more on this below), and it boasts higher quality than other graphics formats.

Well over 95% of Internet users can now view SWF content: over 300 million people have downloadedrepparttar 134793 Flash Player for their browser. Even better, if you already run at least a 4.0 browser, no plug-in is required - it's already there. Macromedia publishedrepparttar 134794 specifications for SWF in April 1998. It is now an open source format for development by third parties. The SWF file format is being integrated into web design and graphic applications more and more, and it's becoming increasingly easier and faster for web designers and developers to learn and to use.

Still, some of us just don't haverepparttar 134795 necessary time to learn (orrepparttar 134796 money to invest) in these high-end applications. What to do?

A quick search online will bring up dozens of resource sites specializing in Flash and offering free ready-to-use SWF files for you to download and embed into your site. So take advantage of these generous offers and flash-up your site too.

But if you've never worked with these newer SWF files, you might encounter a few initial problems -- or be unaware of some interesting capabilities. Here's an explanation that will make it quick, simple, and painless.

The SWF or Flash needs two basic ingredients. First, you needrepparttar 134797 SWF file itself -- which containsrepparttar 134798 animation and any sounds, all in one easy file. For our brief explanation here, let's call this file "super.swf".

Second, you needrepparttar 134799 HTML script to place in your web page. The HTML script contains simple instructions (called parameters), and executesrepparttar 134800 SWF file inrepparttar 134801 area of your web document where you insertrepparttar 134802 script -- kind of like a Java Applet, but that's where any similarity ends.

Flash Design Does It Really Deliver What Is Promised?

Written by Jody Hatton


Flash design? Is it all it's cracked up to be? In this article, we'll be confronting allrepparttar questions head on: What is Flash? What's good about it? What's bad about it? And, most importantly, what will it do for your online business?

INTRODUCTION

When Flash was first introduced by FutureWave Inc. in August 1996, it was known as "FutureSplash Animator." Macromedia acquired FutureWave in December and renamedrepparttar 134786 application to "Flash." What made FutureSplash unique wasrepparttar 134787 fact that FutureSplash's images were created in "vector format."

As you may know, most images you see onrepparttar 134788 Web (such asrepparttar 134789 logo that appears on http://www.worlddesignservices.com/), are drawn by thousands, sometimes even millions, of colored square dots known as "pixels." Any image that displays shapes using pixels (called a "raster image") can have a significantly large file size sincerepparttar 134790 color and location of each dot must be recorded insiderepparttar 134791 image file.

The vector graphic, onrepparttar 134792 other hand, is an image type that uses mathematical equations to define lines and shapes. For example, a drawing of a circle uses only a single curved line, rather than relying on hundreds (or even thousands) of pixels to create an image. This not only results in a drastic decrease in file size, but also an increase in image quality. Vector graphics can be scaled up or down and never lose their sharp lines, whereas raster images end up looking "chunky." For a side-by-side comparison of vector and raster images, have a look atrepparttar 134793 following page: http://www.worlddesignservices.com/designtips/flash/

Because Flash relies mostly on vector graphics to display text and images, it delivers excellent image quality and exceptionally small file sizes. Onrepparttar 134794 Internet, where no two users are ever connected at exactlyrepparttar 134795 same speed atrepparttar 134796 same time, this reduced download is always appreciated.

THE GOOD

Inrepparttar 134797 unlikely event that you've never seen a Flash animation before, have a look atrepparttar 134798 banner onrepparttar 134799 top of http://www.internetcashplanet.com/. Not only does it look great, but it MOVES; Flash, when created properly, will deliver any message you want and keep your audience interested.

Gone arerepparttar 134800 days of slow downloads and endless reading! As you've seen fromrepparttar 134801 previous comparisons, Flash banners deliver sharp, great-looking graphics which load quickly and get your message to your viewer fast. Flash banners also get read more often than your basic static HTML page because they haverepparttar 134802 ability to move smoothly, whereas traditional animated web graphics are clunky at best. Everybody knowsrepparttar 134803 30-second rule, which dictates that you MUST make an impression on your viewer within 30 seconds of them hitting your site if you want them to respond to your offers. Since this rule is ALWAYS in effect, a Flash banner's ability to transmit a message quickly, smoothly, and effectively is always worthrepparttar 134804 investment.

The application of Flash reaches far beyondrepparttar 134805 simple animated banner. Worldprofit's new "Ultimate Home Business Promo," when it was first released, generated so many responses, they were difficult for us to keep up with! Once you have a look at http://www.worldprofit.com/uhbp/, you'll probably understand why. Flash, when created properly, not only hasrepparttar 134806 power to captivate your site viewers, it also hasrepparttar 134807 power to strike emotional chords and make your viewers feel whatever you want them to: excitement, hope, enthusiasm.

THE BAD

Up until last year, Flash banners could only be made usingrepparttar 134808 "Macromedia Flash" utility. For many, it was a difficult program to master, and creating evenrepparttar 134809 simplest of banners could be a week-long project. However,repparttar 134810 recent introduction of third-party applications such as Swish (http://www.swishzone.com) and SwFX (http://www.wildform.com/) have made it much easier to create animated banners that userepparttar 134811 same file format as Flash.

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