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This chapter is from the book

Reasons to Avoid Importing Graphics

Flash's capability to create nice vector graphics might be the best justification for this warning: Don't import graphics into Flash unless you have to! That's what we'll be learning to do this hour—but that doesn't mean it's always a good idea. If there's one way to make your Flash movie download slower or play slower, it's importing graphics unnecessarily. It's important 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 Illustrator or FreeHand how to draw in Flash, his first question will be how to bring his Illustrator or FreeHand files into Flash. This hour you'll learn the answer.

However, if we consider why a graphics professional would ask in the first place, we expose a problem. People can do some amazing (and complicated) things with other drawing tools. Some of the ways graphic files get more complicated include gradients, intricate text, and lots of individual objects. To use those complicated graphics in Flash causes two problems. First, Flash can't always handle all the intricacies in a complicated file, so the task becomes difficult. Second, a complicated file downloads slower and plays slower—so why would you want such a file in your Flash movie? The number-one consideration when deciding whether to import a graphic into Flash is whether a simpler version can be re-created in Flash or whether the graphic can at least be simplified before importing into Flash. If you ask the graphics person to re-create the image in Flash, he might say that it doesn't enable him to do what he intended. If so, your solution lies in making the graphic simpler—not how to squeeze it into Flash.

Even so, you may still need to import graphics. Maybe you have a photograph (or other raster graphic) 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'll discuss raster graphics in the section "Using Bitmaps (Also Known as Raster Graphics)," later in this hour, but first let's look at vector graphics.

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