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Introduction to Flash Animation in InDesign CS5

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Who says you need to work with Adobe Flash to create Flash content? Adobe InDesign CS5 adds a load of new features and panels that enable you to add interactivity to your documents. From motion, buttons, video, and more, Brian Wood shows how you can turn your InDesign documents into multimedia extravaganzas!

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Who says you need to work with Adobe Flash to create Flash content? Adobe InDesign CS5 adds a load of new features and panels that enable you to add interactivity, motion, video, and much more to your InDesign documents by exporting to the SWF file format (see Figure 1) for viewing using the Adobe Flash player. This opens up a whole new world to those of us who don’t use Adobe Flash. You can even export to the native format for Adobe Flash called FLA. That way, you can either publish the file in SWF format to be used on a website, for instance, or hand it over to a Flash developer as an FLA file to add some finishing touches to it.

In this article, I want to take you through the basics of taking your InDesign file and adding the following, and then exporting:

  • Buttons
  • Animations
  • Media (sound and video)

Add Buttons to Your Document

The first thing we’ll do is to add a button to the document in InDesign. Buttons are used in your Flash content for lots of things. Most of us use them to navigate the document or control a video. You can create a button from almost anything. This includes a raster image, a placed Illustrator file, drawn content, a group, and much more.

  1. In your document, draw a rectangle and add some text for the button. Select all of the button content and group it together (grouping is not necessary).
  2. Open the Buttons panel by choosing Window > Interactive > Buttons.
  3. With the object(s) selected on the page, click the Convert Object to a Button button at the bottom of the Buttons panel (see Figure 2). After the object is converted to a button, you can create “states” for it. To learn more, visit InDesign Help (Help > InDesign Help) and search for “Change button appearance for rollover and clicking.”
  4. Figure 2 Create the button.

  5. In the Buttons panel, give the button a name if you like to differentiate it later on from other buttons.
  6. Choose an Event (when the Action(s) occur) from the Event menu.
  7. Click the Plus (+) in the Buttons panel to add an action. The top part of the list shows actions that can be used in SWF and PDF files. There are also SWF only actions listed. Choose Go To Next Page. The action is now listed in the panel. If you want to remove that action, select it in the Buttons panel list and click the minus (-) button (see Figure 3).
  8. Figure 3 Add the action to the button.

2. Create an Animation | Next Section