The Movie Explorer Panel is a powerful new tool for deciphering movies and finding items within them. It can be opened from the Launcher Bar, or from the Main Menu by choosing Window➪Movie Explorer (Ctrl+Alt+M/ Option+Command+M).
The Movie Explorer is an especially useful tool for getting an overview and for analyzing the structure of a Flash movie. This means that you can now see every element in its relationship to all other elements, and you can see this all in one place.
However, it’s also useful for troubleshooting a movie, for finding occurrences of a particular font, and for locating places where you refer to a certain variable name in any script throughout a movie. As an editing tool, you can use it as a shortcut to edit any symbol, for changing the properties of an instance, or even for doing multiple selections and then changing the attributes of the selected items. Furthermore, the Find function is an incredible timesaver.
The new Movie Explorer has so many features that it may be difficult to get used to however, it’s well worth the effort to become familiar with this organizational powerhouse. The Movie Explorer as well the Movie ExplorerSettings dialog shows below, which you can open by clicking the Customize Which Items to Show button in the Movie Explorer.
The Movie Explorer displays the file structure for Jake Smith’s Flash Clock
There are several icon buttons across the top of the Movie Explorer Panel. These are called Filtering Buttons and they have icons representative of their function. Click any button to toggle the display of those elements in your file. Note, however, that the Movie Explorer’s display becomes more crowded as you select more buttons and that it performs more slowly because it has to sift more data. From left to right, the buttons filter the display of the following kinds of content:
The Display List
Below the icons is a window with the Display List. Much like Windows Explorer, or the Mac Finder, the Movie Explorer displays items hierarchically, either by individual scene or for all scenes. These listings are expandable, so if you have selected the Text button, a plus sign will appear beside the name of any Scene that includes text. Clicking the plus sign (or right-pointing arrow on the Mac)displays all of the selected items included in that Scene. At the bottom of the Display List, a status bar displays the Path for the currently selected item.
Below, two buttons have been selected: Text, and ActionScripts. As shown, clicking the plus sign beside the ActionScript icon displays the entire ActionScript. Note, too, that the complete text appears, including basic font information.
The contextual menu
Select an item in Movie Explorer and right-click/Ctrl+click to invoke the contextual menu related to that particular item. Irrelevant commands are grayed-out, indicating that functionality is not available in context with the item.
The contextual menu of the Movie Explorer shows below. Among the most useful commands is the Goto Location option at the top. When you can’t find an item (because it’s on a masked layer or is invisible), this command can be a lifesaver. Next, we cover the Movie Explorer Options menu.
The Movie Explorer for one of Jake’s Clocks.
The Movie Explorer’s contextual menu
The Movie Explorer Options menu
The Options menu is accessed by clicking the Options triangle, which is located in the upper-right corner of the Movie Explorer Panel. These commands are the same as the commands that are found in the Movie Explorer’s contextual menus:
Make sure to use Movie Explorer! When planning or looking for ways to improve a project, this tool can provide an excellent map to the structure and function of what you’ve already accomplished. Whenever relevant, print out the Movie Explorer; this document can function as a project file for finished work, providing a reference of all scripting and Movie Clip placement. As such, it can make it much easier to return to a project months later. It can also facilitate collaboration amongst developers, whether they share the same office or are geographically distributed. Finally, for all of the reasons listed previously, the Movie Explorer can also be used as a tool for both learning and teaching.
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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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