Editing on the Timeline Flash

After you create your artwork and animations, you may find that you need to edit it. Flash has features that make such edits quick and easy. You can move frames and keyframes, copy and paste frames and keyframes, insert frames and keyframes, -delete frames and keyframes, change the sequence of an animation, and edit the contents of a keyframe. You can also use onion skinning to view frames at one time, and you can even edit multiple frames at once.

  • Selecting Frames: The methods for selecting single frames and spans of frames differ slightly. For users of previous versions of Flash, this may take a little getting used to. Overall, however, we find the new methodology is an improvement. Of course, if you aren’t happy with the Flash 5 timeline, you can use Edit➪Preferences➪General, to make your timeline behave more like the familiar Flash 4 timeline.
    • Frame Spans: To select a span of frames extending between two keyframes, click anywhere between the keyframes. The cursor will switch to a hand and the entire span will be selected.
    • Single Frames within a Span: To select a single frame within a span, press the Ctrl/Command key and click a frame. Keyframes at either end of a span can usually be selected with a simple click.
    • Single Frames not within a Span: To select a single frame that is not implicated with a span, simply click to select it.
  • Moving Frames: Select the frame(s) that need to be moved, and drag them to the new location.
  • Extending the Duration of a Span: To extend the duration of a span, which is the same result as extending a keyframe, select the keyframe and then drag the keyframe to the position where you want the span to end.
  • Copying Frames: Select the frame(s) that you want to copy. Either Choose Edit➪Copy Frames from the menu, or press the Alt/Option key and drag to copy the selected frames to another location in the timeline.
  • Pasting Frames: Select the frame(s) that you want to paste the copied frame(s) into, and select Edit➪Paste Frames from the menu.
  • Inserting Frames: Select the point at which you would like to insert a new frame, and select Insert➪Frame (F5) from the menu.
  • Inserting Keyframes: Select the point at which you would like to insert a new keyframe, and select Insert➪Keyframe (F6) from the menu. Or, you can Right+Click/Ctrl+Click the frame that you want to make a keyframe and then, in the contextual menu, select Insert Keyframe.
  • Inserting Blank Keyframes: Select the point at which you would like to insert a new blank keyframe, and select Insert➪Blank Keyframe (F7) from the menu. Or, you can Right+Click/Ctrl+Click the frame that you want to make a keyframe and then, in the contextual menu, select Insert Blank Keyframe.

A timeline that illustrates some editing points shows below. The top layer shows the original layer, which has content in the first frame, followed by 19 empty frames.

This layer was copied into all three lower layers, with the result that the initial content of all four layers was the same. When a keyframe was inserted at Frame 10 of the Keyframe layer, the content of keyframe 1 was copied into the new keyframe, and the gray color of the subsequent frames indicates the continuity of static content. But, when a blank keyframe was inserted at frame 10 of the Blank Keyframe layer, a blank keyframe was inserted and the continuity of content was stopped, as indicated by the white frames extending from frame 10 to frame 20. The dotted line running through the frames of the bottom layer shows what happens when a tween is missing the final keyframe, which often happens when editing on the timeline.

Editing on the timeline

Editing on the timeline

  • Adding Content from the Library: To add content from the Library to a selected keyframe, drag an instance of the item from the Library and onto the Stage.
  • Deleting Frames (Remove Frames): Select the frame(s) that you want to delete, and then select Insert➪Remove Frames (Shift+F5), or else Right/ Ctrl+click the frame and select Remove Frames from the contextual menu.
  • This no longer works for deleting keyframes; instead, it will remove an intervening frame and scoot the keyframe backward toward frame 1.
  • Clearing a Keyframe: To obliterate a keyframe and its contents, use Clear Keyframe. Select the keyframe and use Insert➪Clear Keyframe (Shift+F6), or use the contextual menu, Right/Ctrl+click, and choose Clear Keyframe.
  • When deleting a keyframe, the deleted keyframe and all of the frames following, up to the next keyframe, are replaced with the static contents of the previous keyframe.
  • Reversing Animation: Select the animation sequence that you would like to reverse, and select Modify➪Frames➪Reverse from the menu. For this to work, you must have keyframes at both the beginning and the end of the selected sequence.
  • Editing the Contents of a Keyframe: Select the keyframe that you want to edit. Then, on the Stage, edit the contents of the keyframe.

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