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Class Notes


Flash class #1 - Wayne Knowles

Why use flash?

looks the same cross platform and cross browsers
loads fast
movies are scalable - resize window resizes movie
no HTML or any code
can use instances (elements) over and over again (saves space)


interactive books and slideshows
animated cartoons
web interface design

Read for next week:
ch. 1, 2, 3


Flash Class #2

There are three kinds of Flash files:
project files
web files
projector files

Hover over tools to get keypress shortcuts.
Change pen options to show pen preview.
Size of brush is relative to screensize (zoom level). As you zoom in the same brush size will make a smaller mark.

Read ch. 4


Flash Class #3

Standard banner size is 468 x 60 pixels.
Option drag a group of frames will copy them (on the timeline).
Command click and drag will select a group of frames.
Reverse the selected frames with Modify/Frames/Reverse

So, you can start with the end drawing and erase pieces in each new keyframe, then reverse the sequence to make it build.

Edit a group by double clicking on it. This greys out everything except the group you are working on. To get back, click Scene #1 in the upper left corner of the timeline.

Put pieces in groups (in the same layer) if you want to overlap them and later move them without effecting other pieces.

If the pen tool is not closing shapes and filling them, you can set connections in the pen preferences to close when distant.

Read ch. 5 and 6 for next week.


Flash Class #4

Shape tweening doesn't work with groups, text or bitmaps.

Toon Boom and Universal Animator are two animation programs based on Flash.

Shape Hints - if you move a shape in a keyframe, the hints don't move. You will have to manually move the hints.

Control-click on hint to remove the hint.

Copying frames does not copy the hints.

Somehow I managed to copy the hints by using edit multiple frames.


Flash Class #5

Library is only in the .fla file. There is no Flash general library, but you can input symbols from other files. (File/Open as Library)

Put each Instance in its own layer if you want to motion tween each one independently.

You can have multiple library files open at once and drag and drop items between them.

Next assignment will be to make an animated web banner.


Flash Class #6

This week we worked on motion tweens, masked layers, and guided layers.

Assignment #2 - due at beginning of week 8
Make an animated banner.

  • 468x60 movie size
  • a shape or motion tween
  • at least 1 symbol and 2 instances of that symbol
  • a guide or mask layer

Effects (in motion tween) only works on text if the font (such as Times) is on your computer. If the font is not available, then all you get is a gray box or the effect does not work at all.

Once you've made a motion tween, you can create new keyframes within the sequence. Command-Click on the frame you want and press F6.

You can duplicate a sequence into a new layer. Create the new layer first. Then Command-Click and drag the sequence to select it and then Option-Click and drag to duplicate into the new layer.

You can drag a whole sequence of frames left or right on the Timeline.

To create a soft edged mask duplicate the mask layer and make it a masked layer under the mask layer. Then fill the masked layer with a radial gradient from transparent to background color.

To make a transparent gradient color first set the alpha in the Mixer to 0 %.

You can do a cross dissolve between two layers. Just overlap two motion tweens whose effects use alpha from 100% to 0% and vise versa.

Read chapters 9 and 10 for next week.


Flash Class #7

If you use a bitmap such as a jpeg as a symbol and try to fade in or out using a motion tween with an alpha change, the image get slightly bigger horizontally. It appears to shift. I could find no way around this other than to cover it up by also doing a scale change or a position change.

Importing a sequence of images (jpg1,2,3) places each one in a keyframe as well as in the Library.

Everything in the Library is not a symbol.

Animated gifs import as separate Library elements and are placed on the Timeline as separate keyframes.

Watch out! Don't put actionscript in a frame instead of an Object. Look for Frame Action in the titlebar of the actions window. It should be Object Action.

Read ch. 11 for next week.


Flash Class #8

To make an invisible button just put a rectangle in the Hit state and have black keyframes in Up, Down, and Over states.

You can change the order of scenes in the scenes panel.

Goto and Stop - uncheck the box.


  1. How to unload a movie when sound is done? Put an unloadmovie actionscript in a frame at the end of a sound waveform.
  2. Can a loaded movie have a different frame rate from the main movie which calls it? No.


If you trace a bitmap, you can delete the jpg file from the Library. You can't delete it however if you break apart the bitmap and don't trace it.


Flash Class #9

Sound file formats = AIFF, WAV, AU, MP3

If you want a button to click, place a sound in the Down state

You can get a sound effect to play at a specific time by placing the sound in the right frame of the Timeline for instance at the point where a ball hits a wall.

To make a clickable interactive game object such as a ball, make it a button with an Object Action of On Press, Release, GoToandPlay frame whatever.


Flash Class #10

Wayne knows of no differences between Mac and Win projectors - colors, font sizes, speed should all be the same.

You can put text on top of a button and it will not interfere with the button. This is a handy way to use the same button symbol and have different labels. If the name needs to change position or color on mouseover or mousedown, then the name will have to be part of the button symbol.

When you use the lasso tool to select a portion of a bitmap and copy it to another movie, the whole bitmap is saved to the new movie's Library. It's much better to use Photoshop to select a portion of the bitmap and save it as a separate file which you import into the new movie. In my movie test the swf file sizes were 2.8 bytes and 33.1 bytes - 10 times smaller by doing it in Photoshop.



Established: September 30, 2001
Updated: June 10, 2002


© 2001 James D. Blodget
All Rights Reserved