The position, size, and shape of the timeline can be manipulated to better suit your workflow, much like any other Flash window or panel. On a dual monitor system, the timeline can be exiled to the second monitor, together with all the panels leaving the stage clear and unencumbered for wild creativity.
Knowing how to work with layers makes the Flash creation process flow much more smoothly. By default, new layers are stacked on top of the currently active layer. To rearrange layers, click in the blank area (between the layer name and the layer toggle icons), and drag the Layer Bar to the desired position in the layer stack and release.
For enhanced functionality and control, as well as to enable reliable interactivity and ActionScripting, it’s a good habit to give your layers meaningful names. Simply double-click the layer’s name on the Layer Bar and enter a meaningful name.
The new Flash 5 timeline still offers you many clues about what’s going on with your animation, as shown below.
Flash 5 Style Layer specifics
Here’s the same timeline that was shown above
The General Tab of the Flash Preferences dialog, which is accessed from the Main Menu by choosing Edit➪Preferences, has two sections specifically related to the timeline and its behavior in Flash 5. These are Timeline Options and Highlight Color.
The Disable Timeline Docking option prevents the timeline from attaching to the application window after it’s been deployed as a floating panel.
On both the Mac and PC, to undock the timeline and deploy it as a floating palette as shown in Figure below, click the gray area to the left of the eyeball icon and then, with the mouse still depressed, drag the palette away from the application window.
To prevent the timeline from docking, press the Control key while dragging. To permanently disable timeline docking, use Edit➪Preferences and, under Timeline Options, check the Disable Timeline Docking check box. The timeline can be dragged away from its docked position by clicking the Timeline Header and dragging the timeline away from the edge of the Flash application.
The timeline deployed as a floating palette
The next two options in the Preferences dialog let you revert to the Flash 4 timeline style:
Flash 5 frame drawing
Flash 4 frame drawing
The Highlight Color options in the Preferences dialog control which colors are used for selected objects:
Layer Properties dialog is most readily accessed by Right/Ctrl+clicking any Layer Bar and then choosing Properties from the layer contextual menu. It can also be invoked by choosing Modify➪Layer.
The layers contextual menu
As shown below, the layers contextual menu affords convenient access to a number of layer-specific operations, many of which are duplicated elsewhere.
The Layer Properties dialog
The Layer Properties dialog is used to control and edit the properties of the active layer and to facilitate routine layer operations.
This composite screen shot shows the layer contextual menu and ensuing Layer Properties dialog.
Frame View options
As shown below, the Frame View options pop-up is used to customize the size, color, and style of frames displayed within the timeline. These features can prove very helpful when you are working with cartoon animation, and want to see each frame previewed. Or, if you are working on an extremely long project with a huge timeline, it can be helpful to tweak the size of the individual frames, so that you can see more of the timeline at a single glance.
The Frame View options pop-up is used to customize the size, color, and style of frames displayed within the timeline.
When used in conjunction with the Layer Height option of the Layer Properties dialog, you can customize your timeline in myriad ways to better suit your particular project. Your options include:
In this composite screen shot, the Frames are shown with Preview option (top) and Frames shown with Preview in Context option (middle) for the same animation (bottom).
Scene and Symbol Bar
Nested between the Menu Bar and the top of the timeline is the Scene and Symbol Bar shown below. The Scene Name button, at the far left, indicates the name of the current scene. When in Symbol Editing Mode, click this button to return to the current scene. To the right is the Edit Scene button, and at the far right is the Edit Symbols button. Click either button to evoke a menu of scenes or symbols that are editable within the current movie.
The Scene and Symbol Bar
Scenes are used to organize a Flash project into logical, manageable parts. By default, on export Flash plays back all of the scenes within the movie in the order in which they are listed in the Scene Panel.
To navigate to other scenes from within the Movie Editor:
The Scene Panel
When your movie is published to .SWF, the scenes play in the order in which they are listed in either the Scene Panel or the Scene pop-up.
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Understanding The Flash Framework
Exploring The Interface: Panels, Settings, And More
Using Tools For Navigation And Viewing
Working With Selections And The Pen Tool
Working With The Drawing And Painting Tools
Working With Text
Exploring The Timeline
Checking Out The Library: Symbols And Instances
Drawing In Flash
Animating In Flash
Using Bitmaps And Other Media With Flash
Designing Interfaces And Interface Elements
Understanding Sound For Flash
Importing And Editing Sounds In Flash
Optimizing Flash Sound For Export
Understanding Actions And Event Handlers
Navigating Flash Timelines
Controlling Movie Clips
Sharing And Loading Assets
Planning Code Structures
Creating Subroutines And Manipulating Data
Understanding Movie Clips As Complex Objects
Sending Data In And Out Of Flash
Understanding Html And Text Field Functions In Flash
What Is Generator?
Revving Up Generator
Working With Third-party, Server-side Applications
Working With Raster Graphics
Working With Vector Graphics
Working With Audio Applications
Working With 3d Graphics
Working With Quicktime
Working With Realplayer
Creating Full-motion Video With Flash
Creating Cartoon Animation With Flash
Planning Flash Production With Flowcharting Software
Working With Authoring Applications
Publishing Flash Movies
Integrating Flash Content With Html
Using Players, Projectors, And Screensaver Utilities
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