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This chapter is from the book

Reasons to Avoid Importing Graphics

Flash's capability to create nice vector graphics can be the best justification for this warning: Don't import graphics into Flash unless you have to! In this section, you learn how to import graphics—but that doesn't mean it's always a good idea. If there's one way to make your Flash movie download or play more slowly, it's importing graphics unnecessarily. You need to find ways to avoid importing graphics.

Wanting to import graphics is a natural tendency. If you show a graphics professional who's an expert with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop how to draw in Flash, his first question is how to bring his Illustrator or Photoshop files into Flash. We will show you how in the next section.

Designers can create amazing and complicated vector graphics with other drawing tools. Some of the ways graphics files get more complicated include the use of gradients, intricate text, and lots of individual objects. Using such complicated graphics in Flash causes two problems. First, Flash can't always handle all the intricacies in a complicated file, so sometimes the imported file doesn't look as it was designed. Second, a complicated file downloads and plays more slowly than one that isn't as complicated—so consider why you would want such a file in a Flash movie. The number one consideration when deciding whether to import a graphic into Flash should be whether a simpler version can be recreated in Flash or whether the graphic can at least be simplified before being imported into Flash. If you ask the graphics person to recreate the image in Flash, he might say it doesn't enable him to do what he intended. In that case, perhaps the solution lies in making the graphic simpler—not by squeezing it into Flash.

Having said all this, you probably still need to import graphics at some point—maybe you have a raster graphic, like a photograph, that you want to use, or perhaps you have a simple existing vector graphic, such as a company logo, that you don't want to redraw in Flash. We discuss raster graphics in the section "Using Bitmaps (Also Known as Raster Graphics)," later in this hour, but first let's look at importing vector graphics.

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