Symbol Types Flash

There are three types of symbols. Each type is unique and suited for a particular purpose. The icons associated with each type of symbol shows below.

Each symbol type has an icon associated with it.

Each symbol type has an icon associated with it.

Native symbols
A typical Flash Library may contain these objects that are created within Flash:

  • Graphic symbols are great for static images and simple animations controlled by the main movie’s timeline. However, Flash ignores sounds or actions inside a Graphic symbol.
  • Movie Clips are actually like movies within a movie. They’re good for animations that run independently of the main movie’s timeline. They can contain actions, other symbols, and sounds. Movie Clips can also be placed inside of other symbols and are particularly useful for creating animated buttons.
  • Button symbols are used for creating interactive buttons. Buttons have a specialized timeline with four frames, which are referred to as states. These states are Up, Over, Down, and Hit. Each of these button states can be defined with graphics, symbols, and sounds. After you create a button, you can assign actions to its instances within both the main movie and Movie Clips.
  • Shared Fonts are a new feature of Flash 5.
  • Smart Clips are another new feature of Flash 5.

Imported symbols
A typical Flash library may also contain these imported objects:

  • Bitmaps are handled as symbols.
  • Sounds are also handled as symbols. Importing and using sounds effectively is a complex subject.
  • QuickTime Assets are handled as symbols, too.

Importing sounds, bitmaps, vectors, and QuickTime
When you import a sound, a bitmap, or a QuickTime (QT) asset (which may be either a QT Movie, or a Sound Only QT Movie), Flash stores these assets in the Library. The advantage of this is that you only need one copy of each asset regardless how many times, or how many different ways, it might be used throughout your movie. Although each of these assets will be covered in greater depth later, we introduce them here, in context with the Library.

Flash can import (and export) sounds in a range of sound formats. Upon import, these sound files reside in the Library. To use a sound, drag an instance of the sound out of the Library and onto the stage. Export settings for sound files are managed from within the Library by choosing Properties from either the contextual menu or the Library Options menu. For more information about sounds, “Sound Planning.”

Bitmaps and vectors
Flash can also import (and export) a range of artwork formats, of both vector and bitmap type. Upon import, bitmaps reside in the Library. To use a bitmap asset, drag an instance out of the Library and onto the Stage. Export settings for individual bitmaps are managed in the Bitmap Properties dialog, which is invoked by choosing Properties from either the contextual menu or the Library Options Menu. Bitmaps are discussed in greater detail later Unlike bitmaps, upon import, vectors arrive on the Flash stage as a group, and may be edited or manipulated just like a normal group drawn in Flash.

If you have QuickTime 4 or later, you can import QuickTime assets into Flash in theform of either a QT Movie, or a Sound-only QT Movie. QuickTime assets also reside in the Library.

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Flash Topics