5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 23, 2009 6:56 PM by Lon Winters

    Can Flash do this? Or will something else do it better?

    amafca Level 1

      A repost over here, hoping that someone will know the capabilities of the current version(s) of Flash. I don't have it at work, and the version of Flash I have at home is about 7 years old.

       

      I have Dreamweaver 8 & Acrobat 9 Standard here at work. I've used most of the Adobe & Macromedia products that were out in the 1996-2005 period but haven't used the newest versions of any of them. As a part of the project I describe below, I'll probably be either upgrading Dreamweaver to one of the packages, or will be adding another program. The question is, "which program do I need" in order to do this? We are a small government agency and I don't want to say "buy Flash" if it turns out Flash can't do it. I need to buy just what we need to do the job.


      I am overhauling our website. One new page will have a very large composite photo, scrollable horizontally. While this could be done by just placing the really-big photo on the site and scrolling the page in the browser window, we want it to look a lot more graceful! The picture is far too big to simply split it apart into a bunch of separate photos, and splitting it would also negate the effort it took to form the composite from the original photos. (This is a photo of an approximately 1/2 mile long feature.)

       

      We want a normal-sized "picture window" to show (i.e., 400x600) in the middle of the webpage, where the user can scroll back and forth on the photo, which is a total of 400 x nearly 25,000 pixels. It is also about 10 MB so if only the portion showing and the parts next to it have to load, that would be great! (Or if the program I use to create the "scrollable thing" compresses the photo without loss of quality.) There will be hot spots on the photo to allow popups of a summary of more info, or click on them to go to a page dedicated to the thing clicked on. So I'll need to be able to create mouseover hotspots and clickable hot spots that stay pinned to certain elements in the photo...i.e. the hot spots also scroll. It also has to be publishable on the web in a form that either needs no plugins, or plugins are available for all the major browsers (cross-browser compatibility).

       

      So what product do I use to create this "scrollable thing"? Can Flash create something like this? Or should I try something else? It's a plus if I can build this in an updated version of something I've used before, such as Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Authorware (not likely but I had to throw that one in there!), or any other Adobe/Macromedia product that had an earlier version out as of about 2004-2006, as the interface would be familiar and the learning curve shorter.

       

      We hope to get this page built and posted by a month from now, so I need to recommend/order/buy additional software soon.

       

      Adobe sales said to contact technical support; technical support said they are no longer supporting Dreamweaver 8 and to ask on the forums. I just want to know which product(s) have the ability to do what I need to do!

       

      Thanks in advance for your help!

        • 1. Re: Can Flash do this? Or will something else do it better?
          blullama Level 1

          Greetings,

           

          Flash is pretty advanced and what you are wanting it to do is definitely within it's capabilities and more.  However, some possible issues to consider is what happens if the user scrolls faster than the loading of images?  Do you want it to just pause all action and fade all controls and show a loader progress bar until it can catch up?  How are you going to control the hot spots and make sure that hot spot is loaded in the right spot?  Is the project ever going to require localization or translation? 

           

          If you happen to be familiar with Javascript, no doubt you will have no trouble learning how to program in Actionscript 2.  If you know Java, Actionscript 3 will come easily to you.  If you don't know either of these, then you will definitely have to jump in head first.  Lynda.com has a great set of video tutorials to train you.

           

          Good luck,

          Tim

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Can Flash do this? Or will something else do it better?
            amafca Level 1

            Thanks, this helps. My Flash experience is rooted in....whichever ancient version was the newest thing about 7 years ago! I used to script in Flash and Authorware. It will be new(ish) but I'm sure I can figure it out.

             

            No localization or translation required; we're a local government agency and the target audience for this part of our website is local kids.

             

            I guess they'd have to scroll pretty fast to go faster than the picture! Being kids, I'm sure they will try it. The picture has the answers to a scavenger hunt one of our on-the-ground sites sends them on. They won't want to go too fast or they will scroll right past the answers! But fading out till it catches up (or a low-res b&w background loading first) might be best.

             

            Hot spots...hmmm, that's something I don't know. I thought I'd just sort of draw them where I want them on the picture and they'd stay there, showing up when that part of the picture is showing. I take it that isn't the case?

             

            Can you think of any other readily-available tool that would work, maybe photo panorama software or something, that would be less expensive than Flash?

            • 3. Re: Can Flash do this? Or will something else do it better?
              blullama Level 1

              I don't much about photo panorama software.  I think Apple has one called QTVR (Quicktime Virtual Reality).  I'm not sure if that will do what you want, though.

               

              Hotspots in flash are generally handled by creating Button objects of the hotspot.  Stationary buttons are easy but with buttons that have to line up to the image that is being scrolled... that can be another issue altogether.  Just thinking about it, I can think of different ways to approach it.  And perhaps there is not any ideal way of handling it, but it's definitely something that would need to be taken into consideration.

               

              Best Regards,

              Tim

              • 4. Re: Can Flash do this? Or will something else do it better?
                Ned Murphy Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                The easiest way to create hotspots would be to place invisible buttons over the areas you want.  You might want to create the scrolling piece as a series of moiveclips joined end to end inside another containing movieclip rather than one 25000 pixels long image... primarily due to not being sure how easily you could manage editing something that wide.  Having one containing them all would make it easier to manage the scrolling since you only have to scroll the container.   And having more than just one long image would allow for some dynamic loading rather than having the users waiting for 10MB of content to load before starting.

                • 5. Re: Can Flash do this? Or will something else do it better?
                  Lon Winters Level 4

                  Here's a free component that does part of what you're looking for -

                   

                  http://www.afcomponents.com/components/img_loop/

                   

                  This loads in external jpg's with preloaders and automatically scrolls.  You need this plus the ability to load SWFs instead and the ability to manually scroll using arrows and/or a mouseover on either side of the viewable window. If this compoent can't handle all that, I'm sure there is one somewhere that will!  Just suggestion for something to consider.