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Getting Your Groove On

To achieve this effect, you'll do some experimenting with the Trace Bitmap options in Flash. A bitmap that has been rolled over by this feature can look as detailed as a pen-and-ink illustration or as obscure as an Impressionist oil painting. The objective is to find the look you want without spending a lot of time on it. If you're a neat-freak, don't even bother. The secret to doing this is knowing when to let go.

So here's how to get started:

  1. Open up Flash and open a new, blank document. In the Document Properties dialog box (Modify > Document or Ctrl/Cmd+J), set the Stage dimensions to 200 x 200, leave the background white, and change the Frame rate to 24 fps (frames per second). Click OK when you're done and save it as video_effects.fla.

  2. Add a layer to the Timeline for Scene 1 and name the two total layers vector_photo and original_photo, with vector_photo on top.

  3. Create a new Graphic symbol by choosing Insert > New Symbol. Name it original_photo and click OK.

  4. In symbol-editing mode for original_photo, Choose File > Import > Import to Stage (Ctrl/Cmd+R) and select the image you saved earlier (Video_Effects_Bitmap.png). This is a .PNG image created with Macromedia Fireworks.

  5. NOTE

    PNG files are by far the best for importing into Flash because Flash runs .JPG compression when you publish a movie. You don't want to compress an image twice, so don't import .JPG images. Seriously. Just don't do it.

  6. When you're done, click OK, which creates two symbols in the Library. One is the .PNG image and the other is your Graphic symbol.

  7. Create another new Graphic symbol and call it vector_photo. In symbol-editing mode for vector_photo, drag Video_Effects_Bitmap.png from the Library (F11) to the Stage and align it to 0 x 0.

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