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Designers can rapidly prototype user interfaces using skinnable components and interactions, which can then be sent to clients for approval. These prototypes are based on the open-source Adobe Flex framework, and can be exchanged Adobe Flash Builder 4. The collaborative workflow allows Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder users to work in parallel, thereby maximizing team productivity.
Flash Catalyst combines an intuitive user interface and toolset—similar to those in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks—with the expressiveness, consistency, and reach of the Adobe Flash Platform.
The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce designers to the basic concepts and workflow involved in using Flash Catalyst. This tutorial covers all the skills and techniques needed to take a concept from a static file to an interactive, multimedia interface.
More specifically, you will learn how:. This article discusses the use of Adobe Illustrator to create artwork for use in Flash Catalyst. You can also use Adobe Photoshop to create artwork; many of the hints and tips below can be applied to a Photoshop.
This workflow outlines a common set of steps designers will often complete within Flash Catalyst and other CS apps to produce wireframes and rapidly prototype applications. With the involvement of a developer, Flash Catalyst projects can be extended further using Flash Builder- for example to connect to a database or web services. This tutorial focuses on the workflow within Flash Catalyst. There are several other articles on Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder that show how, for example, files and parts of applications-- like skins and components-- can be exchanged between designers and developers.
See Where to go from here at the end of this tutorial. If you haven't done so already, download and unzip the sample files that accompany this tutorial.
Note the well-labeled structure or order of the layers in this file see Figure 5. Use these best practices as you design and build your own user interfaces for Flash Catalyst. The background layer contains elements common to all states in the design. Some of the graphic elements that you won't be building out in this tutorial have been flattened for simplicity's sake.
As you create your own Illustrator AI file, organize your elements into logical groups such as background, navigation, header, and individual page content. The folder and layer structure of this AI sample file is simple see Figure 2. As you create Illustrator interfaces, your layer folders and subfolders will likely contain artwork at a more granular level.
Consider grouping artwork that will eventually become individual Flash Catalyst components such as scroll bars, drop-down menus, and buttons. This will make your AI file much easier to work with when imported into Flash Catalyst. As you create different interactive states in Flash Catalyst you will turn on and off these different layers.
For a more detailed discussion of preparing artwork in Adobe Illustrator, read Andrew Shorten's article Adobe Flash Catalyst best practices. If you are using Adobe Photoshop, structure your file using the tips layers discussed in this section. After creating your user interface design in Adobe Illustrator, you can import it into Flash Catalyst:. After the import is completed, the user interface will appear as it did in Illustrator see Figure 5. The individual layers will be listed in the Layers panel on the right.
Clicking a visible item in the Layers panel will select and highlight that specific layer item on your interface. If the Timeline panel is open, double-click the tab to minimize it. I will discuss the Timeline panel in more detail when we create state-to-state transitions. The Flash Catalyst user interface has two workspaces: The Design workspace shows a graphical representation of your project. This workspace includes the panels and tools used for creating and editing projects.
The Code workspace shows the underlying application code. This code is generated automatically as you work in Flash Catalyst. Viewing the MXML code gives designers the opportunity to understand how the application is programmed. The Code workspace is read-only. To edit the code, open the project in Adobe Flash Builder 4. When you create a Flash Catalyst project you will usually need to create more than one type of state for the user interface. These are referred to as States in Flash Catalyst.
The workflow for developing a project requires that you initially create individual states within the application. To control navigation between states, user interaction components such as buttons can be created from imported artwork. These buttons are then linked to destination states. After the states and buttons are set up, you can add component interactivity and transitions. Interactivity between states is controlled by user interactions with a component. Clicking a button component, for example, might cause the current state to animate to another state.
With the user interaction defined, you can fine-tune the transitions from one state to another. These are called transitions. Options for transitions include fades, resizing, rotation, and movement. At each phase along the design path you will test the navigation, components, and transitions within your project, and fine-tune as necessary. When finished, you can output an AIR desktop application or a SWF file and view it on the desktop, or post it to a server.
Or you can share the project with a Flex developer using Flash Builder to incorporate more advanced programming tasks such as dynamic content and database integration. States are a central concept in Flash Catalyst. You can have a number of states that represent various views, or pages, of the application. Users navigate between different states depending on the navigation scheme you design.
In the same way, states can also exist within a component. For example, a button component may display a state such as Up, Over, Down, and Disabled. To navigate between states in Flash Catalyst, you select it in the State panel. The artboard shows all visible objects in the selected state. You can also view the different states of a component by double-click it in the artboard to enter Edit-In-Place. When a component is in Edit-In-Place mode, the Layers panel splits into sections.
It shows layers for both the project and any components you have open. You can drag objects from the main application layers into the component. The management of artwork and components in Flash Catalyst is controlled from within the Layers panel. This functionality provides designers with a straightforward inventory of all elements used in a project. You can organize items into folders and subfolders according to what makes sense to the project such as where or how they are being used.
For example, all the background graphics used in this project are kept in the background folder. As you develop and expand the various states in your project, the Layers panel will allow you to control the visibility and invisibility of your artwork.
Now that you have created the application states, you need to create interactions and transitions between them. In this section, you will create one button component for the post a screenshot page for the Pixd application. It does not matter which state you have selected, as a button component can be made available across all states as long as they are made visible in the Layers panel for that state.
After the Buttons are completed, you need to create the interactions that will tell the application what to do when a user clicks a button. Now that you have enabled interaction and navigation in the project, you can preview the results in a web browser. In this section, you create animations or transitions between states. Begin by making sure the Timelines panel is open in the lower area of your screen see Figure If closed, double-click the Timelines tab to open. To the left of the Timelines panel, a list of the State Transitions is displayed for all states.
On the right, the timeline for the selected State Transition is available. In the timeline, you can create transition actions fade, scale, move, resize, rotate between the two states and specify how items should animate in and out. State Transitions may also be added within components. For example, you may want to fade in text for a Button component in an Over or Down state. The new Fade In transition options are applied in the timeline between the Normal and uploadForm states Figure For example, an object can fade in, rotate in 3D, and play a sound effect at the same time.
In a previous section, you constrained the Post Screenshot button to the top and right side of the layout. In this section, you will set constraints for other graphic elements in your application to create a liquid layout. A liquid layout will resize to fit different screen sizes or in response to your user resizing his or her browser. Components contained within the application can be set to resize dynamically as the application resizes.
Objects and components on the artboard display with small circles, called constraint handles, on each of their four sides. You can use constraint handles to control how the components and elements within your application will behave when the browser window is adjusted, or when the application is displayed on different-sized screens.
Drag on the resize handle to temporarily adjust the size of the artboard. Notice how the elements in the application remain in place. When you release the mouse, the artboard returns to its original target size. Flash Catalyst will create an output folder with two versions of your project:. This tutorial provides a brief introduction on how to create interactive content or prototypes with Flash Catalyst.
Although simple, the tutorial and sample project demonstrates the necessary workflow and key concepts you will need to get started. In addition to the workflow and core concepts, remember to maintain a clear folder and subfolder structure in your Layers panel.
Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5
Notice the four constraint handles that appear around the sides of the button. See Where to go from here at the end of this tutorial. With the user interaction defined, you can fine-tune the transitions from one state to another. The new Fade In transition options are applied in the timeline between the Normal and uploadForm states Figure These buttons are then linked to destination states. We will discuss constraints further along with resizable layouts in a later section. After creating a data list component, use the Design-Time Data panel to control the order for the data images and text to appear in the data list.
Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5
Importing an Illustrator design After creating your user interface design in Adobe Illustrator, you can import it into Flash Catalyst: The collaborative workflow allows Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder users to work in parallel, thereby maximizing team productivity. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. In Figure 8, the postScreenshotForm layer for the uploadForm state are invisible. Another folder, run-local, lets you test the build locally. These are called transitions. More digital imaging reviews: Fastest Mobile Networks The folder and layer structure of this AI sample file is simple see Figure 2.
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In some cases I can not reduce the number of layers. For example, all the background graphics used in this project are kept in the background folder. If closed, double-click the Interactions tab to open. Check the option to Overwrite existing effects. After you make changes, you'll find them applied when you return to Flash Catalyst. Still a bit on the technical side. Adobe Premiere Pro CC. This is, unfortunately, exactly the wrong approach for something that should be exactly the right product.