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Flash CS4: Movie goes blank while testing

May 21, 2009 10:51 AM

While testing the movie within Flash, the Test Movie window randomly goes blank, showing the stage color. The movie is still running, there's no error, it's just blank. When I resize the Test Movie window, everything reappears... Until a few seconds later, when it snaps back to blank... so I resize, it reappears, it disappears, I resize, it reappears, it disappears... over and over. Resizing even just one pixel is enough to get it to come back. Sometimes it happens every few seconds. It's enough to drive a person nuts.

 

This might be related to another issue: If I Test Movie with the Bandwidth Profiler on, Flash CS4 doesn't resize the window correctly to fit my entire movie in it, resulting in a big blank space underneath the Bandwidth Profiler, and that same amount of space being cutoff the bottom of my movie. I haven't seen anything like this in 10yrs of Flash development.


This is a Mac Pro, 8-core. The graphics card is ATI Radeon HD XT 2600. 6GB RAM. 10.5.3-10.5.7

 

The same FLA works without any issues on CS4/XP. The FLA saved to CS3 works without any issues on CS3/OSX and CS3/XP (same machine).

 

I have all but given up on CS4 for OSX. Between the crappy framerates, the crashing, and not being able to TEST MOVIE, I just avoid CS4 on OSX and use CS3 on OSX or CS4 on XP.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 12, 2009 9:24 AM   in reply to jacdx5050

    Hi, I just noticed this post. (I'm the one who started the thread you linked to on the Apple forum.)

     

    Have you had any luck with this issue? I've gone back and forth with Apple and Adobe support, and each one claims it's the other one's problem. But at this point I'm pretty sure it's an Adobe issue, since the rest of CS4 is so frustratingly unstable.

     
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    Jun 12, 2009 7:19 PM   in reply to stiv41

    Do you guys see this with particuar files in CS4, or is it an issue with every single file you test movie on?  If it is a particular set of files, can you share any of them so we can try to reproduce this internally?

     

    Thanks,

    Jen.

     

    PS: regarding stability, make sure you have the 10.0.2 update installed and let us know about remaining issues and the files causing them so we can fix them.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2009 8:33 AM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Hi Jen,

     

    Thanks for your response. This doesn't happen to every FLA I work on, but it happens to most of them. I've tried to find a similarity between the files, but no luck. Some are fairly simple, some are complex. When I create a brand new FLA, it runs fine. And then after I work on it for a while, the disappearing bug usually appears. And from then on it's totally random. I could test the movie and leave it running for a few minutes with no problems, or it could start blanking out after a few seconds and keep doing it. There are some files that seem to blank out more consistently, and some that do it a little less often. I've submitted tickets to customer support, and they haven't been able to help.

     

    I'm attaching a sample FLA. I picked this one because it's small and blanks out consistently. This is a little utility program that came with a book I bought about making games in Flash, which lets you create a tile-based game map. I'm also including a quicktime screen capture that shows the disappearing in action.

     

    The disappearing only appears when I run Test Movie within the Flash authoring tool on my Mac Pro. When I open the SWF directly in Flash Player, it works fine. And Test Movie works fine on my other Macs. (Quad G5 and Intel iMac.)

     

    Regarding stability, I do all of my work in Flash CS4 & Photoshop CS4. And lately I've easily been submitting 5-10 crash reports a day between the two programs. (They've each crashed once in the past hour.) They're both updated to the latest versions, and I've uninstalled/reinstalled both a few times. (including trashing preferences & configuration files, zapping PRAM, fixing permissions, etc.)

     

    I don't know what else I can do. Besides submitting that crash report each time, is there another way I should let Adobe know about the issues?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2009 11:28 AM   in reply to stiv41

    Hi there,

     

    Thanks very much for the info, and the files. I'll file a bug and attach them so someone with a similar configuration to yours can try and reproduce the problem (my macs are very different configs, which is perhaps why I've never seen this one and cannot reproduce). That's the key, if we can reproduce internally then we can try to narrow down the cause and find a fix. Perhaps that has been the problem with the help in the past.  But your files will be a big help so we can get the closest possible set up and workflow to the one you're using, and hopefully repro the problem.

     

    Regarding the crashes and stability, I can't say what is the cause as there are so many possibilities. Submitting the crash reports helps, but may not lead to a direct fix. Are you generally doing the same thing when you crash, or are they fairly random?  Are the files you're working on consuming a lot of your total memory?  The key to us fixing the bugs is having a set of reproducable steps, which sometimes requires files you are working on. If you can reproduce every time with steps, definitely file those steps on the bug form https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform (or if you have some steps now, let me know!).  If the crashes are random then it's difficult to narrow down, but if you notice anything consistent between them then submitting a bug on that page with those notes would be helpful.

     

    Thanks again for your help!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 3, 2009 2:44 AM   in reply to jacdx5050

    I've just seen this tread after googling on the problem.

     

    I'd like to stick my hand up and say that it's happening to me as well in Flash CS4 exactly as described above.

     

    I've tried to work out steps that cause it to happen, but it appears to be random. It does seem to happen more with some files than others, but can happen both with simple and complex files. It's by no means a rare thing for me as well. It's a huge problem which really ruins my experience of working with flash cs4. I'd assumed that as it was such a regular bug that would have been fixed in the last update and I was disappointed to find that it wasn't.

     

    I'll happily supply any details of my setup / config you need... I just really want to see this bug get fixed as it's making my life a misery.

     

    I'm running Flash CS4 10.0.2 on a Mac Pro:

     

     

      Model Name: Mac Pro

      Model Identifier: MacPro3,1

      Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon

      Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz

      Number Of Processors: 2

      Total Number Of Cores: 8

      L2 Cache (per processor): 12 MB

      Memory: 10 GB

     

    Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

     

    (I also get a fair few crashes, although maybe one every couple of days.)

     
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    Jul 6, 2009 1:49 PM   in reply to Mark Burvill

    Hi there,

     

    Thank you very much for the details!  We have reproduced it internally with the files submitted earlier on 8-core Mac machines here (this appears to be the setup causing the problem with certain files, we haven't seen it on non 8-core Macs) - so that's good news, because it's a bad one and now that we can reproduce it we can start figuring out the cause of the problem.  I'm afraid though that I don't presently have a workaround as it's in the early stages of investigation, but if we do find one that will help in the interim I will post details here.

     

    Thanks everyone for the details and files - they helped us reproduce the problem internally.

    Jen.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2009 2:24 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Wow, thank you. It's encouraging to finally hear acknowledgement from Adobe about this! Although it's also very frustrating since I first contacted support about it in the beginning of April, and after three months (with the ticket escalating through three levels of support) they hadn't acknowledged there was an issue with Flash, but kept suggesting that it was a problem with my graphics card.

     

    Jen, you've been more helpful here than the official Customer Support Portal! Thanks again for your attention to this, and I eagerly await the solution...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2009 2:59 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Nice one. Thanks for acknowledging the problem. I really look forward to being able to use CS4 without this issue. Please do contact me if I can test anything for you.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 12, 2009 6:00 PM   in reply to jacdx5050

    I'm also seeing this bug on a quad core mac.  I realized that I'm only running 10.0 so I'll install the upgrade and let you know if I see it again after the upgrade.  My configuration is:

     

      Model Name:    Mac Pro
      Model Identifier:    MacPro1,1
      Processor Name:    Dual-Core Intel Xeon
      Processor Speed:    2.66 GHz
      Number Of Processors:    2
      Total Number Of Cores:    4
      L2 Cache (per processor):    4 MB
      Memory:    3 GB
      Bus Speed:    1.33 GHz

     
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    Jul 14, 2009 5:11 PM   in reply to Strobed58

    I'm still seeing this bug after the upgrade.  Possibly even more frequently with the upgrade!

     
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    Aug 4, 2009 5:35 PM   in reply to jacdx5050

    Just discovered this thread after experiencing similar issues. What is being done to resolve this? I luckily didn't use Flash CS4 regularly before, but when i started seeing this problem i always thought i was doing something wrong. Now things have got to the point where i need to use CS4 but can't!

     

    My system is as follows:

     

    Mac Pro 8-Core (early 2008)

    16 GB 800 Mhz DDR2 FB_DIMM

    ATI Radeon HD 4870

    OS X 10.5.7

     

    and i'm using the lastest 10.0.2 update of CS4.

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2009 5:44 PM   in reply to rob.bateman

    This is the most recent response I heard from Adobe support, last week...

     

    Thank you for contacting Adobe® Web Support for assistance with Flash® Pro CS4.

    I apologize for the delay in responding to your case. We have experienced a recent increase in volume for web cases being submitted. We have made corrections in staffing and expect to be caught up with our backlog of cases soon.

    I understand that when you use the Test Movie feature in Flash, the screen randomly blanks out.

    Thank you for your patience in dealing with this issue and for the additional information provided by the link to the forums. Because the 8-Core “Nehalem” processor was introduced after the release of the Adobe CS4 products, our products have not been certified to run on this architecture, so you may encounter issues for which there is no resolution at this time. Please check frequently for future updates.

    If you require further assistance with this issue, please update your web case with complete details, including what steps you have applied and any error messages you are receiving.

    You may also call Technical Support at (800) 642-3623. We are available from 6:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday - Friday, Pacific Time.

     

    In other words: "tough luck."

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 5, 2009 1:18 AM   in reply to stiv41

    Well that's a bit of a cop-out as I'm getting the problem on a pre-Nehalem machine. Mine is Quad-Core Intel Xeon.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 10:09 AM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Hey Jen! Nice meeting you at Adobe MAX.

     

    Anyway... has there been any update with this problem? Our company gave us these shiny, brand new Macs, and it's incredibly painful to use Flash CS4 on them. Among other odd bugs with CS4, this one is probably most annoying. Here are my computer's specs... I hope it helps! Thanks!

     

    Model Name:    Mac Pro
    Model Identifier:    MacPro4,1
    Processor Name:    Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed:    2.26 GHz
    Number Of Processors:    2
    Total Number Of Cores:    8
    L2 Cache (per core):    256 KB
    L3 Cache (per processor):    8 MB
    Memory:    6 GB
    Processor Interconnect Speed:    5.86 GT/s
    Boot ROM Version:    MP41.0081.B03

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 1:09 PM   in reply to pyrografix

    I watched this video by Lee Brimelow the other day: http://theflashblog.com/?p=1275 in which he claims that there will be NO MORE UPDATES to Flash CS4 since the 10.0.2 update which did not fix this issue.

     

    Come on Adobe... can we have an answer on this please?

     

    It's a very bad bug affecting Mac Pro owners on hardware that was available long before CS4 came out.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 1:11 PM   in reply to stiv41

    Well isn't that just fine & dandy!

     

    I'm sorry Adobe but you can't have your cake and eat it. This has got nothing to do with the Nehelam technology - my symptoms which are identical to the ones described here in this thread are occuring on an old 2008 mac pro that has never had anything like a Nehalem near it. The email response below posted by stiv41 is talking complete crap, and is essentially a technical support brush-off.

     

    Is anyone at all listening? Are these forums serving any useful purpose, or are they just a way of placating a user for the problems he/she experiences while continuing to claim you are listening to community feedback and value it's input. Adobe, your software is BROKEN. We have done the hard part of testing it on a platform that was clearly ignored before the release of CS4. If you are not going to take the responsibility of fixing it, at least have the good grace to offer those who bought your software in good faith the possibility of a refund on a release that is unusable on 8-core mac pros.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 2:05 PM   in reply to rob.bateman

    Hi there,

     

    I can't speak for Lee or Tech Support, they're different teams, but I can say that on the Flash team the bug is open, is considered high priority, is being taken very seriously, but does not yet have a fix. We do have a number of 8 core machines internally on the team (that we test on), and whatever is determined to be causing this to happen in these files might help us know what to watch for in the future.

     

    Jen.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 2:20 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Thanks Jen. After tech support sent me the message I included above, they marked my case as Resolved. I'm glad to hear that everybody at Adobe doesn't feel that way.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 3:07 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Hey Jen

     

    thanx for keeping us updated on the bug progress, I am extremely glad to hear that efforts are being made. As a reference, it would be good to get a link to the bug report in the tracker so that those interested can follow it's pogress independently. I can't seem to locate the submission on Jira myself.

     

    cheers

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 3:22 PM   in reply to rob.bateman

    Hey Rob,

     

    Our Flash authoring bugbase is presently on a different (non-Jira) system, so there unfortunately isn't an external link.

     

    I wanted to add, if anyone has files they'd like me to test potential fixes with (to make sure all the bases are covered), please feel free to send them to jdh (at) adobe or attach them to this thread. If you send them to my email, please change the extension to something like .XYZ so the attachment isn't caught by our firewall.

     

    Thanks!

    Jen.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 5:19 PM   in reply to stiv41

    Hi everyone,

     

    So in the files linked above (from stiv41), for me the lines causing the bug seem to be the two doing copyPixels. If I remove those two lines the content doesn't disappear for me anymore.

     

    Can anyone confirm this is the case for them too?

     

    Can anyone out there confirm this is not causing the issue for them? If there are other cases/files where you do not use copyPixels and see this bug, please let me know.

     

    Thanks,

    Jen.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 5:41 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Possibly... I've been doing a lot of bitmap manipulation. Even distributing it to some of my coworkers... Who have the same set up and experience the same problems. I will look into it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2009 9:39 PM   in reply to jacdx5050

    Can anyone confirm if the are using the Local Shared Object in their fla file when this occurs.  I've been having a similar problem (on a Vista machine).  I wouldn't describe it exactly are most in this thread but yet it seems to be related.  I have some type of issue going on where when I use the Local Shared Object to store a value, and then insert an image, it causes my movie to freeze and go blank while testing.  Not exaclty like the example video that was posted.  More like it may show a few words from the screen it freezes on.  Also, depending on where I insert the image, it will randowly choose a different part of the movie to freeze.

     

    Maybe completely different but the only way I can keep developing and inserting an image is to comment out my code for the Local Shared Object.

     

    Dave

     
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    Aug 14, 2009 2:09 AM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Hi Jen,

     

    Thanks for your reponses.

     

    I haven't used copyPixels in any of my projects that show the bug. It doesn't seem to be tied to a particular piece of code or action for me. It happens to varying degrees in pretty much every project I work on.

     

    I've emailed you a zip of one particular project in which the bug seems to happen an awful lot so I hope that helps.

     
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    Aug 14, 2009 7:01 AM   in reply to Mark Burvill

    Do you use any third party components or actionscript? A lot of effects rely on manipulating BitmapData.

     
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    Aug 14, 2009 7:12 AM   in reply to pyrografix

    Yeah I use TweenMax, (sometimes Fuse in older projects) so it could well be something to do with that... but a quick search on the TweenMax source files doesn't show up any use of copyPixels.

     
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    Aug 14, 2009 7:34 AM   in reply to Mark Burvill

    I use TweenMax too. Hmm.

     
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    Aug 14, 2009 9:26 AM   in reply to pyrografix

    I'm glad to see the burst of debugging! Let's keep it up...

     

    Unfortunately, I'm going to throw a wrench into most of these theories. I went back through my files to find the simplest culprit I could. This file uses no BitmapData, no tweenmax, no external libraries. It calls in an external XML file, displays it in a scrolling text field, and uses the AS2 FLVPlayback component to show an FLV. I stripped out any extraneous functionality and it still blanks out.

     

    Example video and FLA attached here...

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2009 3:10 PM   in reply to Mark Burvill

    Hey eyegas,

     

    Thanks for sending the ZIP!  It seems like it might have to do with the Fuse/alphaTo in the file. Does that seem consistent with your machine and other projects? 

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2009 3:11 PM   in reply to stiv41

    Hi stiv41,

     

    Hmm, your ZIP still seems stuck on the server (Queued). Do you mind trying again, or emailing it to jdh (at) adobe?  I'd love to check it out, becuase it sounds like a different case altogether...

     

    Thanks,

    Jen.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2009 1:41 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Hi Jen,

     

    Well I guess it could be something to do with Fuse. In all my recent AS3 projects though, I no longer use Fuse and still get the bug, but I do use TweenMax in pretty much every project now so perhaps that also causes it.

     

    I'm unconvinced that that's the cause though because it's such an intermittent bug and not one that caused reliably by following the same steps every time.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2009 6:40 AM   in reply to Mark Burvill

    Could it be happening when there are large areas of the screen refreshing/invalidating?

     
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    Aug 17, 2009 3:42 PM   in reply to pyrografix

    Hey all,

     

    With the latest files above, it seems to be related to the "frame" PNGs dropshadow. I reduced the file to a simple selectable dynamic text field (no scrollbar, just tF.text="stuff", multiline selectable), and the frame with the dropshadow applied, that's all.  When you select the text field downwards (so it scrolls), you will eventually encounter the bug. If I disable the dropshadow, I can no longer repro in the file.

     

    So far the similarity between these files is still pretty vague, despite this new file being reduced to two basic elements. All three seem to have some relationship to bitmaps and filters/alpha and seen when the stage changes. In this latest file, it seems as though the transparency in the PNG may be an issue (I'm not reproducing using new PNGs without transparency, but I just did with a second transparent PNG).

     

    Do all of you have transparent bitmaps involved?  Even though I don't remember the copyPixels file using the alpha parameters, maybe it's still affected...

     
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    Aug 17, 2009 3:54 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    Update - I can reproduce just with a transparent PNG that's animated with a filter applied. It seems like higher quality and/or larger bitmaps makes this happen quicker, which could explain the inconsistency.

     
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    Aug 18, 2009 2:15 AM   in reply to jacdx5050

    I have been fight with this exact same issue for several weeks, but just saw this post.

     

      Model Name: Mac Pro

      Model Identifier: MacPro3,1

      Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon

      Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz

      Number Of Processors: 2

      Total Number Of Cores: 8

      L2 Cache (per processor): 12 MB

      Memory: 16 GB

      Bus Speed: 1.6 GHz

      Boot ROM Version: MP31.006C.B05

      SMC Version (system): 1.25f4

     

    ATI Radeon HD 2600:

     

      Name: ATY,Lamna

      Type: display

      Driver Installed: Yes

      Bus: PCI

      Slot: Slot-1

      Vendor ID: 0x1002

      Device ID: 0x9588

      Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x106b

      Subsystem ID: 0x00a6

      Revision ID: 0x0000

      Link Width: x16

      Link Speed: 5.0 GT/s

    ATI Radeon HD 2600:

     

      Name: ATY,Lamna

      Type: display

      Driver Installed: Yes

      Bus: PCI

      Slot: Slot-2

      Vendor ID: 0x1002

      Device ID: 0x9588

      Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x106b

      Subsystem ID: 0x00a6

      Revision ID: 0x0000

      Link Width: x16

      Link Speed: 5.0 GT/s

     

    Running Flash CS4 v10.0.2 as part of Design Premium Suite

     

    So far I have only seen this problem with certain AS2 Flash Sites I have built. All my sites contain transparent PNGs. This is very erratic. When testing the same FLA the black background will fill the stage at different points in the timeline. About every 5th test, it will run all the way through without a problem? Very strange.

     
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    Aug 19, 2009 12:22 PM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    I have an update on some of the symptoms.

    1. If you dont immediately close it after it goes blank, any interactive objects or input fields are still active. Almost as if the stage's alpha was turned to 0.
    2. When you resize the stage it comes back!
    3. If you simulate downwload it comes back too.

     

    As far as PNGs are concerned... aren't they just of the class Bitmap anyway? The filters are bitmaps too. I am sure there is a ton of BitmapData flying around in most SWFs.

     

    Either way, I usually notice it occur when a lot of motion is going on at the same time.

     
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:00 AM   in reply to jacdx5050

    Is there any update on a fix for this bug?

     

    I've just started a new project which makes heavy use of TweenMax (http://blog.greensock.com/tweenmaxas3/), and this bug is occurring about every other time I test the project. It's driving me scatty!

     
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    Aug 25, 2009 7:50 AM   in reply to Jen deHaan

    I have been reading some other forums about this... One guy was mentioning that he called Apple support. They think it has something to do with Norton Anti-Virus and the Mac.

    http://www.gaiaflashframework.com/index.php/topic,1222.msg6854.html#ms g6854

     

    We are using Norton here at work. How many of you out there have Norton installed in running?

     
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