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Flash CS5 XFL Doc Files and Deco Tool

Have you ever wondered what was inside a compressed AdobeR FlashR FLA file? Of course, we know that it contains the stuff in the Library such as images, music and other files that we have imported into our project. It will also contain anything that we have created within Flash such as symbols and ActionScript. But we can't see any of this because it's compressed into our FLA file.

This is no problem if only one person is working on a project. But when a group of designers and developers are working together on a project, the workflow can quickly get bottlenecked. To help with this problem, Flash CS5 has a new option for saving your project. The new XML-based uncompressed XFL source files option will save the individual parts of your Flash project within a folder on your hard drive.

If we examine this folder, we first notice that it has the same name as our project FLA file. Inside are the bin, LIBRARY, META-INF folders and the DOMDocument.xml, MobileSettings.xml, PublishSettings.xml and Flash XFL files. The folders contain the assets for your project and the xml files contain the information about the assets. When we take a look inside the LIBRARY folder and compare the contents to what is actually inside the project's Flash library, we can see that they match. Because these asset files are stored in folders instead of compressed into the FLA file, we can easily work on them in the rest of the Creative Suite software. As you would expect, any changes or edits made to these assets outside of the Flash environment will be immediately updated in the Flash work environment.

The Deco tool is not new to Flash CS5 but it has many new brushes. We use the Deco tool to draw or paint objects on the stage. In CS4, we only have a few brushes such as Vine Fill, Grid Fill and Symmetry Brush. In this new upgrade, we have several other brushes including 3D, Building, Decorated, Flame, Flower, Lightning and Tree Brushes. Each brush has several types. For example, the Tree brush as several types of trees from Ash and Birch to Winter Evergreen. But we also have a few small animation brushes such as the Fire, Particle and Smoke animation brushes. If you apply this brush to the stage, the animation plays on the stage as the frame sequence for the animation is added to a layer in the Timeline.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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