Guide Layers Flash

Guide layers make it easy to keep the layout of your movie consistent, or to trace images, drawings, or other materials from which you want to develop an item. When employed as Motion Guides, you can use Guide layers to create the complex motion of a frame-by-frame animation with the ease of a tweened animation. Guide layers are not exported with the rest of the movie they’re just guides. So use them as much as you want.

Using Guide layers for layout
Guide layers are great when you need a little help drawing in Flash. Use them as guides for your layout, as aids for drawing a complex graphic, or for anything else that you might need. To reemphasize, because Guide layers aren’t exported with the movie, they do not add to the file size of the final .SWF. As shown below, Guide layers are marked with unique icons next to the layer name.

Guide layers have unique icons next to the layer name. Shown here is a guided Movie Clip together with its motion path. Note that the motion path is static.

Guide layers have unique icons next to the layer name

Adding a Guide layer
Here are the steps for adding a Guide layer:

  1. Draw or import your guide art into a layer by itself. This can be anything from a hand-drawn sketch of your layout to a full-blown prototype of your design.
  2. Open the Layer Properties dialog for this layer by double-clicking the icon to the left of the layer’s name.
  3. Set the Layer Type to Guide, as shown in Figure below (using either the Layer Properties or the Contextual Menu, which is accessed with a right-click/ Control+click on the Layer name), and then press OK.
  4. Use Control➪Test Movie to test the movie. Do you see the guide art in the movie? You shouldn’t! Remember, because it’s a guide layer, it isn’t exported with the rest of the movie.

This composite screen shot shows how you can choose Guide from the contextual menu, or set the type to Guide in the Layer Properties dialog.

This composite screen shot shows how you can choose Guide from the contextual menu

Motion Guides
You already know how to move an item from point A to point B. What if you don’t want to move it in a straight line? This is when tweening along a path comes in handy. Motion tweening along a path requires a Motion Guide layer, which defines the path. One or more guided layers that follow the path accompany this Motion Guide layer. The Guide layer does not export with your movie it’s only visible within the editing environment. An item and its motion path shows below.

Moving items along a path is simple! Just use a Motion Guide. For multiple (as shown) guided items, use multiple Guide layers.

Moving items along a path is simple! Just use a Motion Guide

Create a Motion Tween along a path
Follow these steps to create a Motion Tween along a path:

  1. Create a Motion Tween.
  2. Select the layer containing the tween, and then insert a Guide layer by doing one of the following:
    • Click the Add Guide Layer icon.
    • Right-click or Control+click the layer and select Add Motion Guide from the pop-up menu.
    • Use Insert➪Motion Guide from the main menu.
  3. Draw a path in the Guide layer. You can use the Line, Pen, Oval, Rectangle, Pencil, or Brush Tools to do this.
  4. Snap the center of the items in the end-point keyframes to the path. If you selected Snap to Guide in the Tweening tab of the Frame Properties dialog, it should snap automatically to the item in the starting keyframe.
  5. If you want the item to orient itself to the path it’s following, select a frame between your Motion Tween’s end points, open the Frame Properties dialog, choose the Tweening tab, and make sure that the Orient to path direction option is selected. This forces the item to move so that its center remains parallel to the path.

Organizational Guides
An empty Guide layer can be used to organize multiple layers of related content for better timeline organization. It can also be used as a repository for custom strokes and fills. To use a Guide layer for organizational purposes:

  1. Create an Organizational Guide layer.
  2. Give the Guide Layer a meaningful name.
  3. Arrange subordinate layers as Guided layers by:
    • Using the Layer Properties dialog; click the Guided radio button to set the layer type to Guided, or
    • Clicking and dragging the layer bar until it hovers just underneath the Guide layer, and then releasing

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