Why break graphics apart?

what exactly do the break and the goup features do, and when should they be used?

In Flash you mean?

Usually breaking things apart relates to groups of object and sometimes even to movie clips themselves, but you certainly can break apart an imported graphic, I actually do it all the time.

a good example would be if you were going to use a picture as a fill. I did this in the following example


I needed the stone texture I was using to rotate with the dial. I found that it looked best using the picture as a fill for the dial. I had tried to create a circular png outside of flash for some time… that way I could do transparency on the pic and just rotate it in flash… but it never looked right, and the file size was huge. By breaking apart a jpg, I could use just what I wanted from it, leaving the holes in the pic up to flash to produce.

Hi David,

a bit of the record, but your link to the site reminds me a bit of this early '90ies computergame “Indiana Jones” (some adventure which was lots of fun back in the dayz). It was one of the puzzles.
Nice though!


Yeah… I was going for that sort of effect (being a big fan of “Indiana Jones” movies, and “Big trouble in Little China”; and having more than a passing interest in Egyptology). Really this dial is the production that finaly got me thinking that I might have some tallent with Flash. It looks good, loads fast, and is almost immediately understood for what it is.

Thanks for the koodoes…


that’s a really nice piece of work, btw

Another handy use of Break Apart is to break apart a .jpg or gif file. This does a kinda conversion on it, to make it seem as if it had been drawn with fills in Flash.

Sometimes the quality is reduced, sometimes isn’t. Really it depends on the complexity of the photo. But it can also help to reduce your file size. :slight_smile:

hmm… thought I was just discribing that. :wink: Guess I didn’t discribe what I was talking about in enough detail.

the dial was produced using that method.

Personaly I’ve never lost any quality doing that… but then again, I sometimes have smoothing turned off and sometimes on. I think that relates to how imported images look in the final production.

Duh… Guess I haven’t woken up properly yet! Now I re-read all the posts, you’re absolutely correct. Oops.

Anyway, I’ve found the break apart doodad can be quite hit and miss. I had a picture of some trees for an X-Files stylee website design I was toying around with, and they came out awfully, while some pylons came out even better. Neither were anything too radical, just basically black and white images.

Yeah… sometimes I’ve had to rework things that didn’t quite work well enough the first time, broken apart.

The dialsplash above was actually the 12th attempt or so at getting that right. Initialy I was using the texture of the stone broken apart and then filled. That looked fine… but the symbols on the timeline didn’t look good at all. I ended up importing the symbols to Painter6.0, creating the wheel there, with the symbols in place, and then using the whole thing as a fill.

It may be that gifs look worse when imported than png’s (ok there is no doubt that they look worse, but I mean proportionaly). That would explain why my pgn texture looked good when my gif symbols looked like crap.

I’ll have to do some more experimenting with that… just to see what the deal is.

see, i would never think to break a graphic apart. in fact: i don’t. i just import something, convert it to a symbol and that’s it.

ah, well maybe that’s why i’m a newbie!!

well, i’ll give it thought next time and break things apart to see what can be gained

ok, i give up!

david: the text effect on your page is nothing short of stunning!

i didn’t want to do the newby thing and ask ‘oh! how is it done?’ so i went away and tried to do it myself (ha!)

i tried masking the text and having all sort of thing tweening in underneath, but i can’t get the rays to beam out like that

just one question: is it done in actionscript?

PS if you want to take your secret to the grave i won’t think anything less of you! :smiley:

Are you talking about the “rayoflight” effect?

If so, I built a tutorial on replicating it, which is located here.


if it’s not that effect, write back and let me know what you’re talking about.

david: that is the very one (i called it everything but ‘ray of light’)

thanks very much!!

i’ll go and read and re-read!!

that was quite a journey!! i think half way through it i realised that i will not be making this effect again (at least too kickly…)


i have to say that flash MX’s ‘distribute to layers’ feature came in really handy for this

thanks again

sleep = true

Ha!! great to see it worked for you right off the bat. I’ll have to check out that feature once I get MX.

It is, by far the biggest pain in the butt effect I’ve seen done which contains absolutely no action script.