The Flash CS5 Illustrator Import Options Panel - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

The Illustrator Import Options panel in Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5 gives you a detailed choice of elements to import from .ai files. Flash CS5 can convert grouped artwork, compound paths, and type layers to movie clips or bitmaps or keep them as editable paths or type layers.

Layer view: All layers in the .ai file appear in this panel, and you can choose which layers to import by selecting the check boxes to the left. Highlighting a layer displays its import options on the right.

Incompatibility Report button: When this button is active, potential issues in your Illustrator file may need to be resolved for a clean, successful import. Click this button and review the report to resolve any problems before completing the import.

Convert Layers to Flash Layers or Convert Layers to Keyframes: Selecting the Flash Layers option maintains the layer structure (as well as layer groups) and distributes layer contents exactly as they are in your .ai file. Selecting the Keyframes option distributes layer contents across a sequence of keyframes on the Timeline.

Place Layers at Original Position: This check box (selected by default) positions layer contents exactly as they appear in the original Illustrator file.

Set Stage to Same Size as Illustrator Canvas: Selecting this option resizes movie dimensions to match the original size of the .ai file.

Import Unused Symbols: Illustrator CS5 files can contain their own symbol libraries, which work in a similar manner to Flash symbols. Symbols that exist in an imported .ai file but that aren’t being used on the canvas are added to the Flash library when you select this check box.

Note: You can choose to import an Illustrator document’s entire symbol library without importing any visible artwork from its canvas.

Import As a Single Bitmap Image: Selecting this option flattens and rasterizes the entire Illustrator document and places it as a bitmap image on the stage as well as a bitmap asset in your Flash document’s library.

Import as

  • Bitmap Image: Selecting this option rasterizes (converts vector to bitmap) the selected artwork and imports it to the stage and library as a bitmap. Any vector artwork or type loses its editability.

  • Editable Path (Individual Paths Only): Selecting this option places vector paths in Illustrator as drawing objects that you can further modify on the Flash stage.

  • Editable Text (Type Layers Only): Selecting this option keeps imported text layers editable, re-creating Illustrator type paths as Flash type layers.

  • Vector Outlines (Type Layers Only): This converts type to vector outlines, which will no longer be editable as a type layer in Flash.

Create Movie Clip for This Layer: Selecting this option converts the layer contents to a new movie clip symbol, which is also added to the library. You have the option of setting a registration point as well as an instance name. This option and Convert to Bitmap are the only available options for entire Illustrator layers and grouped artwork.