7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 21, 2011 11:01 AM by Rashid Clark

    Basic .swf importing and exporting

    Rashid Clark

      Hi everyone. Another AE newbie here.

      I am having trouble getting imported swf files to export efficiently. I suspect they are being exported as images rather than as vectors.

      Searching through the docs/forum/faq for info on swf imports/exports hasn't brought up an answer, so I'll try asking the group here. I suspect it is something very basic about AE's use which I have not picked up on yet.


      Swf files I export from AE have file sizes much larger than expected.

      Here is the process I am using:


      TEST 1


      a) In Flash CS4, I created a single frame, 1920x1080 document. The single frame contains a single shape object: a circle. Nothing beyond that (no symbols, no effects, no sound etc.)

      b) Published the .swf in Flash. Resulting file is 822 bytes.

      c) Created a new project in AE. Imported the swf from (b) into the project using the menu option, "File->import->file..." 

      d) Dragged the imported swf from the "project" tab to the timeline. Set the running time to 1/24th of a second, the same as the swf.

      d) Chose the menu option, "File->export->swf". Marked it to "ignore" "unsupported features".

      e) The exported swf has a file size of 44,421 bytes.


      TEST 2


        Exactly the same as test1, except that I altered the original .fla file to have a document size of 720x405, but it still contained the same vector shape as test1 and nothing more. The file published from Flash was then 825 bytes.

        After importing/exporting that swf into/out-of a new AE project, the resulting export was 11,424 bytes.



      So 44Kb vs 11Kb when only the document size changed. This suggests to me that the export is not making use of vector data, and instead is exporting a rastorized bitmap.


        The reason I performed the tests above is because my first attempt at using AE was to fuse four swf files, totaling 3 Mb of imported files without any sound. When exporting this through AE, the resulting file was a full Gigabyte in size.




        What am I doing wrong?  Thank you to anyone for their help,

            - Rashid

        • 1. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
          Rashid Clark Level 1

          I've since verified that the process outlined above does export the frames as bitmap data rather than as vector data.

          Flash has an option to import .swf files. When importing an .swf created by AE from one the tests above, Flash imported a bitmap image of the circle, rather than a vector shape.


          I must be using AE incorrectly. Any ideas?

          • 2. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            SWF's imported with unsupported effects or rastor images are turned into pixels. Swf's without unsupported features are imported as vectors but you need to turn on Continuous Rasterization to avoid pixelization when scaling up or moving a camera in on the footage. Here's a rectangle at an angle scaled nearly to 500% and there's no pixelization because CR is turned on.


            Screen Shot 2011-11-20 at 8.56.31 PM.png


            Unsupported effects in an AE comp are exported as pixels. That's normal behavior. A better option is to Export an XFL and open that in Flash. SWF's are really only useful for quick previews. I've never used a SWF created in AE as a deliverable. I've always gone with the XFL, finished the project in Flash, then delivered the project.


            Screen Shot 2011-11-20 at 9.06.56 PM.png

            • 3. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
              Rashid Clark Level 1

              Thank you for the response.

              There are no effects being applied. It is just a circle. Unless AE adds an effect I'm unaware of.


              Exporting to XFL also results in a bitmap circle.


              The "Continuous Rasterization" does smooth fine within AE's view when applying a scale transformation to the imported .swf's layer.  Still exports as a bitmap, however.


              Looking over your screen shot, the only significant-looking detail between your example's set-up and mine is at the top of the project tab. For your example it mentions the fps of the imported swf, as well as some delta. That line is blank in my test project.

              There are some other UI differences as well, it might just be due to different versions. I'm using the trial of CS5.5 release


              Message was edited by: Rashid Clark

              • 4. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                OK, I'm following your workflow a little better. You are seeing normal behavior. AE will import vector only swf's but the export to both swf and xfl of a swf will be rasterized. So will the export of a shape layer. If you check ignore in the xfl dialogue you won't have any items in your Flash library.


                Screen Shot 2011-11-21 at 2.21.54 AM.png

                • 5. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
                  Rashid Clark Level 1

                  Thanks for  checking things out on your end, it's helpful to know that an experienced user is observing the same thing.

                  I tried making a native shape-layer in AE just now, and had the same observations you had. It also exports as a bitmap.


                  This then brings up the question: What WILL Affter Effects export as a vector? The documentation states that it's only unsupported features & nested compositions which will not be represented as vector shapes in swf exports. If basic, vector shapes are not considered supported features, what are?


                  I'm contemplating paying the $50 to ask tech support. It's possible this may be a bug or unclear documentation.


                  Message was edited by: Rashid Clark

                  • 6. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Shape layers will not export as vectors. One trick that I have used is to use solids, animate them, export to flash, then replace the elements in the library with shapes in Flash. The animation remains, only the shapes change.


                    This would be one for a feature request. It's not a bug. It's the way it's designed.

                    • 7. Re: Basic .swf importing and exporting
                      Rashid Clark Level 1

                      Ok here's the documentation page which explicitly lays out what is not supported.

                      http://help.adobe.com/en_US/aftereffects/cs/using/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103a4f2dff7-79ca a.html#WS3878526689cb91655866c1103a4f2dff7-79c9a


                      It sounds like very little will actually export as vector shapes. Drat.