Flash is an authoring tool that allows you to create anything from a simple animation to a complex interactive web application, such as an online store.
You can make your Flash applications media rich by adding pictures, sound, and video.
When you author in Flash you work in a Flash document, a file that, when saved, has the file extension .fla. When you are ready to deploy your Flash content, you publish it, creating a file with the extension .swf.
Flash Authoring Tool - the projects that you create are stored in the .fla file format. From the .fla, you can export the .swf file format which is inserted into an HTML document and published to web.
Flash Plug-in – must be installed in the Web browser for end users to see Flash content in the .swf file.
Flash Projector – a stand alone projectors that do not require the web browser in order to play. The file extension is .exe or .hqx
Flash as Project, Plug-in or Projector
File Type Associated with Flash Project File - .fla The master project file format, which stores all the settings and resources for your Flash project. An .fla file can be reopened and re-edited by the Flash Authoring Tool (FLA stands for FLAsh) Movie - .swf The movie format that can be embedded in Web pages for Web Based Flash Presentation. Generally not editable. (SWF stands for Small Web File ) Projector - .exe A stand alone projector file that can play on any computer a Web Browser. Flash writes both Windows and Mac format projector files.
As you work in Flash, you create a movie by drawing or importing artwork, arranging it on the Stage, and animating it with the Timeline. You make the movie interactive by using actions to make the movie respond to events in specified ways.
When the movie is complete, you export it as a Flash Player movie to be viewed in the Flash Player, or as a Flash stand-alone projector to be viewed with a self-contained Flash Player included within the movie itself.
The Flash Workflow
You can play a Flash movie in the following ways:
In Internet browsers, such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, that are equipped with the Flash Player
With the Flash ActiveX control in Microsoft Office, Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows, and other ActiveX host environments
In the Flash Player, a stand-alone application similar in operation to the Flash Player plug-in as a stand-alone projector, a movie file that can be played without the Flash Player software
The Flash Workflow
When creating and editing movies, you typically work with these key features:
The Stage - on which you place media content and where your animation and images appear. The white of the Stage represents the visible area of your project.
The Timeline - organizes and controls a document's content over time in layers and frames.
Symbols - the reusable media assets of a movie
Floating, dock able panels - which enable you to modify various elements in the movie and configure the Flash authoring environment to best suit your workflow
The Flash Work Environment
Main toolbar - menus and commands for controlling application functionality
Panels and a Property inspector - for organizing and modifying media assets.
Toolbar - with tools for creating and modifying vector graphic content.
Zoom Box - with a little drop-down menu that lets you quickly zoom in and out the content of your Stage
The Flash Work Environment
Like films, Flash movies divide lengths of time into frames. The Stage is where you compose the content for individual frames in the movie, drawing artwork on it directly or arranging imported artwork.
The Stage - is where you compose individual frames in a movie.
The white area of the Stage represents the visible area of your project
The Stage Zoom Box Work Area Stage Edit Scene Edit Symbol Main Toolbar Edit Bar
The main toolbar at the top of the workspace displays menus with commands for controlling Flash functionality.
The menus include File, Edit, View, Insert, Modify, Text, Commands, Control, Window, and Help.
The edit bar, directly below the main toolbar, contains controls and information for editing scenes and symbols, and for changing the magnification level of the Stage.
Main Toolbar and Edit Bar
The Timeline organizes and controls a document's content over time in layers and frames.
Like films, Flash documents divide lengths of time into frames.
Layers are like multiple film strips stacked on top of one another, each containing a different image that appears on the Stage.
The major components of the Timeline are layers, frames, and the play head.
Layers in a document are listed in a column on the left side of the Timeline.
Frames contained in each layer appear in a row to the right of the layer name.
The Timeline header at the top of the Timeline indicates frame numbers.
The play head indicates the current frame displayed on the Stage.
The Timeline status display at the bottom of the Timeline indicates the selected frame number, the current frame rate, and the elapsed time to the current frame.
Note: When an animation is played, the actual frame rate is displayed; this may differ from the document frame rate if the computer can't display the animation quickly enough.
You can change the way frames are displayed in the Timeline, as well as display thumbnails of frame content in the Timeline.
The Timeline shows where there is animation in a document, including frame-by-frame animation, tweened animation, and motion paths.
The Layer Control
The Timeline’s Layer Controls play an important role in your workflow. This is where you add , modify and delete layers and where you can hide, lock and control the appearance of the layer contents.
Layer Name Add Motion Guide Insert Layer Insert Layer Folder Delete Layer Show/hide all layers Lock/unlock all layers Show all layers as outlines
The Layer Control
Layer Name – The default layer names are Layer 1, Layer 2 and so on. Double-click on the name to change it.
Insert Layer – Adding new layer to your projects is as easy as clicking this button. Each time you click, a new layer will be added on top of the layer that is currently selected.
Insert Layer Folder – Adding layer folder to help organize your workflow by letting you place layers in a tree structure.
The Layer Control
Add Motion Guide – This button will add a guide layer on top of the currently selected layer for help in aligning object when drawing and create a motion guide to control the movement of object in a motion tweened animation.
Delete Layer – Clicking this button will delete the layer that is currently selected.
Show/hide All Layers – Clicking on the eye icon will temporarily hide the layer and make it invisible. The layer will still be exported with your movie, just not visible to the end user.
The Layer Control
Lock/unlock All Layers – Clicking on the padlock icon to lock the layer will make it impossible to edit anything on this layer.
Show All Layers as Outlines – this icon will display all of the layer’s contents as an outline view, in which shapes are represented as outlined shapes.
The Toolbox Tools View Colors Options Subselection Tool (A) Lasso Tool (L) Text Tool (T) Rectangle Tool (R) Brush Tool (B) Fill Transform Tool (K) Paint Bucket Tool (E) Eraser Tool (E) Zoom Tool (M,Z) Stroke Color Fill Color Selection Tool (V) Line Tool (N) Pen Tool (P) Oval Tool (O) Pencil Tool (Y) Free Transform Tool(Q) Ink Bottle Tool (S) Eyedropper Tool (I) Hand Tool (H) Tool Options Black & white, none, swap Colors
Using Panel and The Property Inspector
Flash offers many ways to customize the workspace to your needs.
Using panels and the Property inspector, you can view, organize, and change assets and their attributes.
You can show, hide, and resize panels. You can also group panels and save custom panel sets to make managing your workspace easier.
The Property inspector changes to reflect the tool or asset you are working with, giving you quick access to frequently used features.
About the Property Inspector
The Property inspector simplifies document creation by making it easy to access the most commonly used attributes of the current selection, either on the Stage or in the Timeline.
You can make changes to the object or document attributes in the Property inspector without accessing the menus or panels that contain these features.
Depending on what is currently selected, the Property inspector displays information and settings for the current document, text, symbol, shape, bitmap, video, group, frame, or tool.
When two or more different types of objects are selected, the Property inspector displays the total number of objects selected.
About the Library Panel
The Library panel is where you store and organize symbols created in Flash, as well as imported files, including bitmap graphics, sound files, and video clips.
The Library panel lets you organize library items in folders, see how often an item is used in a document, and sort items by type.
See “Using the library to manage media assets” in Using Flash Help.
About the Actions Panel
The Actions panel lets you create and edit actions for an object or frame. Selecting a frame, button, or movie clip instance makes the Actions panel active.
The Actions panel title changes to Button Actions, Movie Clip Actions, or Frame Actions, depending on what is selected.
For information on using the Actions panel, including switching between editing modes, see “Using the Actions panel and Script window” in ActionScript Reference Guide Help.
Panels in Flash help you view, organize, and change elements in a document.
The options available in panels control the characteristics of symbols, instances, colors, type, frames, and other elements.
You can use panels to customize the Flash interface, by displaying the panels you need for a specific task and hiding other panels.
Panels let you work with objects, colors, text, instances, frames, scenes, and entire documents.
For example, you use the Color Mixer to create colors, and the Align panel to align objects to each other or the Stage.
To view the complete list of panels available in Flash, see the Window menu