Sothink’s SWF Quicker is an excellent tool for creating Flash graphics and animation. For building slide shows, you can use the canned template wizard or create one as a movie using the Graphical User Interface. I have used both approaches on production jobs with quality results. Here are some tips and not obvious information about using Quicker for slide shows to help reduce your learning curve and assist you in quickly becoming productive. Use the included Slide Show Template Wizard whenever possible. This tool does a wonderful job of creating professional slide shows from your existing pictures or slides. Use the template wizard as long as:
- Slide timing will be the same for all pictures
- You can work with the 13 canned transition effects
- The slides do not have internal animations
- It is acceptable to have pictures external to the.swf file
- There is no requirement to embed hyperlinks in the slide show
The Wizard creates an Action Script, if you use it, don’t expect to do much with the GUI once the Wizard completes.
The alternative is to create your slide show directly in the GUI. This is not difficult; it requires working with the poorly documented and unintuitive interface. Tips for creating your slide show with the graphic user interface:
Prepare your picture/slides ahead of time, make them all the same size unless there is a specific reason otherwise. Create a new movie in SWF Quicker and modify the background color and frame size.
- Import all slides into the library.
- You have the option of creating everything as one layer, a series of layers, or scene for each slide. For me, using layers is preferred since it supports overlapping transitions. When I create a new layer, I drag it to the bottom of the list so my slides and layers are numbered and appear from top to bottom.
- Layer 1, and new layers when added will have a box with a small unfilled circle at position 1 of the time line. Click on that box, drag the appropriate slide to the display area and use the transform controls on the right side to position it absolutely. If the slide show is the same size as your pictures, x will be half of the width and y half of the height. Either add layers and slides now or complete the next step for each slide as you add it.
- Go to the last position in the timeline where the slide will be displayed including any transition. Right click and “insert keyframe.” You should now have a filled dot at the start and end of the timeline, the end in a one frame box. If either dot is unfilled, select it, drag and position the correct slide into the frame.
- Now that all the slides are added and the overall time frame set, save your work and use the preview tool to verify slide order, placement and total timing.
This is where to add hyperlinks if needed. Links are contained in the button symbol. To add them:
- Select layers one at a time in the display frame,:
- Right click the image within the work space, select Convert to Symbol, and choose Button.
- Select the Action panel along the bottom, use the first drop down–mouse/keyboard events–and select release.
- Within the release function added, insert the link using the getURL function: getURL(“destination.html”,”_self
Now add transitions. At the end of any start transition and start of ending transition, right click the layer timeline and select “insert keyframe.” Use “Keyframes” for the start and ending of the transition and insert a “motion tween” to have Quicker generate the intermediate steps.
For fades, use the alpha color transform. Experiment with it, I usually start of end with alpha at 20% rather than a full 0% fade. For a page turn effect, position the ending slide where you would expect to last see it in the final keyframe and test your results. I set my final page to skew vertically -20%, width of 20% and a y value to position the image aligned along the bottom. You’re on your way! Save, test and refine.
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