Seamless Flash audio loops.

Here’s a tricky little issue that I’m sure a few of you Flashers have come across on your travels.

Problem: You have an audio loop, like a clock ticking. You produce a perfect loop in your sound editor of choice and export it out as an MP3. You then import the sound onto your timeline in Flash and no matter what you do, you can’t get it to loop properly. It’s as if Flash has somehow added a fraction of a second of silence to the start and end of the sound clip, making it impossible to loop seamlessly.

Solution: Export a wave file instead of an MP3 – Not sure why, but MP3s behave differently to wave files in Flash. Wave files loop perfectly. Don’t worry about compression because there’s an MP3 compression option inside Flash anyway, so you still get the compression benefits that the MP3 format has to offer without the loop problems. Loop perfection!

Masks in Flash

Ever tried to animate the masking of multiple areas of an image and found that everything goes wrong?

Well here’s a simple tip.

Flash hates a mask that’s in pieces. Sometimes it’s fine but sometimes it messes up, for example if you have an animation of eyes blinking, using masks to hide / show the pupils, either use one mask that is connected out of the area of interest or two separate masks for each eye.

Note: Beware of strokes or the remains of partially deleted strokes in masks. Select the entire mask frame and switch of all strokes from the selected vectors to ensure that those pesky bits of corners or minuscule remnants don’t get in the way of your masking genius!

Mostly Flash CS4 Bugs

Here’s a subject I’ve always meant to spend some time on. While I’m a big fan of Flash there are things about it I hate.

1) CS4 – Web browser based Help system, and fancy making it an online system by default! I really miss the facility to select an action, hit the question mark and get instant usage examples. It helped me a lot. I actually find myself running CS3 when doing something in AS1.0 or AS2.0 just for the old help system.

2) CS4 – Seems to crash a lot!

3) CS4 – Sometimes when I select a frame label or a link in the properties panel – the content vanishes!

4) All Versions – When working with vectors, sometime if I drag a selection around a small part of the vector – the entire vector shape disappears. Usually when tidying up an untidy edge.

5) CS4 – I like the default timeline on the bottom, like After Effects or FCP but why does my context sensitive right click pop-up menu have to scroll?


6) CS4 – In CS3 I could embed a Quicktime video clip directly into the timeline and Flash would convert it. In CS3 I can only do it with a FLV. The problem is that the compression isn’t as good. Guess what I have to do. I do it in CS3 copy the resulting converted video and paste it into my CS4 project. It still works, it’s just that CS4 won’t let me do it directly anymore. What a hassle.