Introduction to dynamic text
Dynamic effects change over time, either through viewer/reader interaction (rollovers, buttons, hotspots, drop menus, imagemaps) or via a timeline or script (animations, refresh/redirect).
Dreamweaver® can create dynamic html (dhtml), which allows for onscreen animation of various html elements. In addition, Dreamweaver® 4 and above allow the creation of Flash® text and buttons from within the program (without requiring that Flash® itself be installed). Flash®, however, allows for the creation of complex animations and user interactions.
Apple's Quicktime® Pro is another useful program for dynamic web content. QT can read Flash files (.swf), and QT Pro has extensive (though not easily accessible) scripting.
Many dynamic effects work best with (and some require) html layers. Layers are defined html areas which can be hidden, moved, swapped, and animated. Unlike layers in graphics formats, dhtml layers are not transparent; if layers overlap, the topmost visible layer covers the underlying content.
Drop-down menus can be created in Dreamweaver as well (Insert-->Form Object --> Jump Menu)
Flash® is a standalone program for creating animations. Flash animations are well-suited to the web because of their small size (usually) and cross-browser compatibility. But browsers need a plugin to handle the flash format (.swf), and not all browsers can use these plugins). If you use Flash to create menus and the like, be sure to include text-only alternatives.
All of the machines in Enterprise 173 have Flash® MX installed.
The "stage" is the area within which the actions take
Every object on the stage should be placed in its own layer.
Flash Layers are like DHTML layers, but much more malleable; you can not only animate the the layers, you can change color, transparency, shape, size, and the like.
Objects can respond to user commands (via action scripts) or automatically (via timelines).
Flash comes with very useful built-in lessons and tutorials (accessed from the "Help" menu)
The first 7 lessons cover the basics of Flash animation. More advanced features are covered in the later lessons. The first Flash Tutorial reviews these 7 lessons.