Tag Info
Tag Number: 
Tag Type: 
Tag Flash Version: 
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Place an object in the display list. The object can include bitmap caching information, a blend mode and a set of filters.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_placeobject2 {	/* and swf_placeobject3 */
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 26 or 70 */
	/* NOTE: the following flags can be read as one or two bytes also */
	if(version >= 8) {
		unsigned	f_place_reserved : 5;
		unsigned	f_place_bitmap_caching : 1;
		unsigned	f_place_blend_mode : 1;
		unsigned	f_place_filters : 1;
	if(version >= 5) {
		unsigned	f_place_has_actions : 1;
	else {
		unsigned	f_place_reserved : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_clipping_depth : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_name : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_morph_position : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_color_transform : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_matrix : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_id_ref : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_move : 1;
	unsigned short		f_depth;
	if(f_place_has_id_ref) {
		unsigned short		f_object_id_ref;
	if(f_place_has_matrix) {
		swf_matrix		f_matrix;
	if(f_place_has_color_transform) {
		swf_color_transform	f_color_transform;
	if(f_place_has_morph_position) {
		unsigned short		f_morph_position;
	if(f_place_has_name) {
		string			f_name;1
	if(f_place_has_clipping_depth) {
		unsigned short		f_clipping_depth;
	/* 3 next entries since v8.0 */
	if(f_place_filters) {
		unsigned char		f_filter_count;
		swf_any_filter		f_filter;
	if(f_place_blend_mode) {
		unsigned char		f_blend_mode;
	if(f_place_bitmap_caching) {
		/* WARNING: this is not defined in the Macromedia documentation
		 * it may be that it was part of the blend mode whenever the person
		 * who defined this byte was testing (I copied that from somewhere else!).
		unsigned char		f_bitmap_caching;
	/* since v5.0 */
	if(f_place_has_actions) {
		unsigned short		f_reserved;
		if(version >= 6) {
			unsigned long	f_all_flags;
		else {
			unsigned short	f_all_flags;
		swf_event		f_event[<variable>];
		if(version >= 6) {
			unsigned long	f_end;	/* always zero */
		else {
			unsigned short	f_end;	/* always zero */
  • 1. Assuming that this PlaceObject2 references a DefineSprite, this name becomes the name of this instance of the sprite. This feature enables you to place the same DefineSprite multiple times in your display list each time using a different name.

This tag will be used to specify where and how to place an object in the next frame. The PlaceObject is much different and is presented separately.

The f_depth field is used to indicate at which depth the character is inserted in the current frame. There can be only one object per depth value (thus a maximum of 65536 objects can appear on a single frame).

The f_place_has_move and f_place_has_id_ref flags are used to indicate what to do at the given depth. The following table presents what happens depending on the current value.

f_place_has_move f_place_has_id_ref Action
0 0 Crash (at least in older versions of Flash)
0 1 Place or replace a character. Really, the Replace does not work most of the time if ever. When it does not work, new characters are either totally ignored or they are added along the existing characters (under or over, who knows). So far, all my tests fail to do a valid replace.
1 0 Alter the character at the specified depth. Keep the same character. This is used to change the color transform, matrix, etc.
1 1 Remove the character at this depth. The other data is ignored and should not be defined. Same as RemoveObject2.

The f_morph_position is used in two cases.

(1) When the place object references a DefineMorphShape object. In this case, it defines a linear position between the first and second shapes (0 - draws shape 1 and 65535 - draws shape 2, any intermediate value draws a morphed shape, smaller the value the more it looks like shape 1 larger the value, the more it looks like shape 2).

(2) When the place object references a VideoFrame object. In this case, the morph position represents the frame number. This means any movie is limited to 65536 frames (the first frame is frame #0). At a regular, NTSC frame rate, it represents about 18 minutes of video. Long videos can be created using a new video stream every 18 minutes.

The f_clipping_depth parameter is used to tell the player to use the linked shape (DefineShape) or text (DefineText) as a mask for all the objects inserted in the display list from f_depth to f_clipping_depth inclusive. The mask itself isn't drawn in the screen. For instance, you could create a sprite which draws a burning fire. To place this fire in a text, insert the text with this clipping feature with a depth, say, of 7 and clipping depth of 8 and place the fire at a depth of 8 (note that to have an animation, the fire will certainly be a sprite). The fire will only appear in the text letters. Obviously this is somewhat limited since the f_clipping_depth is hard coded and not a range (Macromedia should have used depth + clip like in SSWF instead). Note that it doesn't seem to work with duplicated sprites even if these are placed at the right depth.


At this time I checked and I can tell that the following objects will work for clipping purposes:

and the following will not work:

The following need to be checked, I also added a comment telling whether I think it has a chance to work:

The f_blend_mode parameter is one byte which is included only when f_place_blend_mode is set to 1. The possible values are as defined in the following table. The equations use R as Result, C as the object color component, B and the background color. All components are viewed as values from 0 to 255. The result is a temporary value which is later saved in the new background before processing the next object.

Values not shown in the following table are reserved for future blending modes.

Name Value Comment Version
Normal 0 or 1 Copy the object as is.

R = C
Layer 2 Uses multiple objects to render (?) 8
Multiply 3 Multiply the background with the object colors.

R = B × C / 255
Screen 4 Multiply the inverse colors of the background and the object.

R = (255 - B) × (255 - C) / 255
Lighten 5 Take the largest of each component of the background and object.

R = max(B, C)
Darken 6 Take the smallest of each component of the background and object.

R = min(B, C)
Difference 7 Defines the absolute value of the difference.

R = | B - C |
Add 8 Add the components and clamp at 255.

R = min(B + C, 255)
Subtract 9 Subtract the components and clamp at 0.

R = max(B - C, 0)
Invert 10 Inverse the background components

R = 255 - B
Alpha 11 Copy the alpha channel of the object in the background. This mode requires that the parent (background) be set to mode Layer.

Ra = Ca
Erase 12 Copy the inverse of the alpha channel of the object in the background alpha. This mode requires that the parent (background) be set to mode Layer.

Ra = 255 - Ca
Overlay 13 Apply the same effect as multiply or screen depending on the background color before the operation. (Note: the comparison with 128 could be <= and the results would be same for C but not B. I currently do not know which one is picked)

R = (B < 128 ? B × C : (255 - B) × (255 - C)) / 255
HardLight 14 Apply the same effect as multiply or screen depending on the object color. (Note: the comparison with 128 could be <= and the results would be same for C but not B. I currently do not know which one is picked)

R = (C < 128 ? B × C : (255 - B) × (255 - C)) / 255

The f_bitmap_caching seems to be one byte. It is present only when the f_place_bitmap_caching is set to 1. At this time, I do not know the exact definition and it could be that it does not exist (the Macromedia reference does not include it.) I will need to test this byte to see whether it is a mistake in the Macromedia documentation or from the person who thought adding the Bitmap Caching flag was also a reason to add one byte in the structure.