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Flash With Transparent Backgrounds

Flash With Transparent Backgrounds

When I tell people I found out how to make an SWF with a transparent background, they look at me like I’m evil because they think I’m unleashing some annoying ads that float over the navigation and content you’re trying to get to. Yeah, that IS really annoying! Well here at Blueprint Design Studio, we say ‘Not so fast, cowboy.’ I think there are some ways to use this technique for good (not evil). Technology is moral-neutral! It depends on what we do with it! 😉

Ok. I’ve used a transparent flash intro on a project we just finished, as well as on a new concept, in slightly different ways. In Fruit Fly Life, I made a background image on the index page similar to the home page that the intro leaps to, making a visually smooth transition. The Flash animation has a getURL action on the last frame to go from the index to the home page. I did things a little differently in a concept for Forest Villa. The SWF is actually floating over the content in an AP Div that I inserted in Dreamweaver (In the concept, the page isn’t a functional page, but the concept image is still more or less acting like content). I like what happens here: a fun dynamic is created with loading times between the flash animation and the html page.

Here’s how to make an SWF with a transparent background:
Insert your SWF (into Dreamweaver by using Insert>Media>Flash or do an Insert>Layout Objects>AP Div, then insert the Flash file into that). Dreamweaver will write all the appropriate javascript for you and make the RunActiveContent file for you of course. But the you can go into that code and insert a couple things to make give it a transparent background (where I’ve highlighted).

SWF background

That’s it! Be careful to get your commas and code grammar perfect. Also, keep in mind that even though the SWF has a transparent background, users can’t click on anything below it, so either design your page with that in mind, or make it jump to another page (as in Fruit Fly Life). Perhaps there’s a way to use unloadMovieNum in ActionScript to make it go away — but I have yet to figure out how to make a SWF unload from itself. Let me know if you think of a way.

See you later. Remember, never let anyone shake your baby.

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