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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! In this hour, you’ll 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 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 you consider why a graphics professional would ask that in the first place, you expose a problem. People can do some amazing (and complicated) things with other drawing tools. Some of the ways graphics files that 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 the task becomes difficult. Second, a complicated file downloads and plays more slowly than one that isn’t complicated—so why would you want such a file in a 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 being imported 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. In that case, your solution lies in making the graphic simpler—not in squeezing it into Flash.

Even so, you might still need to import graphics. Maybe you have a photograph (or another 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 importing vector graphics.

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