Teaching Examples

Flash journalists: I need your help
June 22, 2007, 7:57 pm
Filed under: design, Flash, journalism, multimedia

I have been working for some time on ways to teach people how to manage bigger Flash projects. This is one of those cases where I’m finding it hard to figure out how to teach something I know how to do, because (a) the process is so holistic; and (b) every project is different.

So I wrote a document and posted it as a PDF:

Managing Large Story Packages in Flash (PDF file, 410 KB, illustrated, 6 pages)

It’s not hard to read, and there’s no code in it. What I need your help on: Is this what you need to know, when you’re at that stage of knowing enough Flash to build a little thing, but not sure where to go next? Am I on the right track to help you get to that next level?

E-mail or comments — either way, I’ll be grateful.

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4 Comments so far
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Very well done.

Stressing the importance of planning is paramount. Big projects have a way of ‘growing’ as progress is made. A couple of wrong turns and you may be trapped into a situation you can’t get out of; design-wise OR actionscript-wise. It is best to have a pretty complete plan before you even start on the computer work.

Another benefit of the “third option” is consistency. You can set a look and feel for your header and footers and reuse them for each project. You can also reuse buttons. It can save a lot of time. Your projects look more cohesive.

I would never use “first option”. Your ability to trouble shoot problems is severely limited. In addition loading has to be done all at once. If the project is broken up into multiple swfs, multiple downloads break up the that single big download into many small ones.

Hope this helps.

p.s. the flv Playback component for Flash 8 pro isn’t too complicated.

Dave Braunger

Comment by Davoflav


I agree. I would make the conclusion paragraph the introduction paragraph. Make it clear from the get-go that planning is really important.

(BTW, i’m not at all a flash expert — i’m just getting started so please disregard anything that misses the point.)

I think the first step from something small to something big is necessarily conceptual. And the implementation (package managing) is doing to be a direct result of that.

I mean instead of saying that the document’s not about editorial thinking, include a little paragraph that says something like “After you have determined how to present/divide/organize the content, you will need to draw up a plan to do this effectively.

I guess I mean give it a little more context.

Michael Eckels

P.S. as a guy who’s just starting out I find this blog incredibly helpful, thanks.

Comment by Mike

These are great — thank you, Dave and Michael.

I’m really curious about how many designers use scenes. I’ve been hearing that a lot of people just use a huge number of loaded SWFs. I don’t have any objection to multiple loaded SWFs — especially if there is something big (like a video) inside each one.

But if I’m using a large graphic and sliding it around, I don’t think multiple SWFs are the best approach. And rather than have a Timeline that’s hundreds of frames long, I will use scenes.

I hope someone will weigh in on that idea.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

I use scenes in animated story-telling constantly. As long as the original flow chart plan (pen and pencil created 🙂 works, I don’t think there is any less power in using them rather than separate swfs. But, as your first correspondents have said, the trick is to know what you are trying to achieve in terms of viewer navigation before you start out!

Your point about the type of content in the story egments is valid – and it may just be that this method is more suited to stills and simple graphic motion compared to embedded video.

Comment by Matt Buck

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