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Computer ArtsTutorial

Use Flash for print

Flash isn't just for web blinkies and animations, it's great for print and graphics, too, says Richard Wentk

Loving Flash for what it can do online isn't hard. But it's less well known for being a potentially killer application for print and graphic design, too. If you're a regular Illustrator user, you may well have wondered if there's any way to set your design to automate, so you can place a random spread of elements on a page, arrange them in a line or create curves and fills automatically.

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Illustrator includes Visual Basic and JavaScript, which can do these things, but they're not the simplest of environments to work in, and they're not designed for people who think in graphical terms. Flash, on the other hand, offers ActionScript, which, as you may already know, has a much closer and more obvious connection with graphic design.

But there's a problem. The image publishing features in Flash are designed for the web, not for print. Worse still, if you write a script and then try to publish the image it creates, you'll probably get nothing. Keyframed effects can be exported with no problems, but scripted effects are harder to handle.

So here I'll show you how to get around those limitations and create importable graphics files with a script. I'll also include some examples of the kinds of design effects this sort of scripting can create.

Click here to download the tutorial for free

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