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Organizing Frames and Layers for Flash Animation

In this second part of a two-part series on Flash animation editing, you'll learn how to work with layers. This article is excerpted from chapter four of the book Flash CS3: The Missing Manual, written by E.A. Vander Veer (O'Reilly, 2007; ISBN: 0596510446). Copyright © 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

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By: O'Reilly Media
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September 04, 2008
  1. · Organizing Frames and Layers for Flash Animation
  2. · Working with Layers
  3. · Copy and Paste a Layer
  4. · Delete a Layer
  5. · Outline View
  6. · Organizing Your Layers with Layer Folders

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Organizing Frames and Layers for Flash Animation - Delete a Layer
(Page 4 of 6 )

Flash gives you three different ways to delete a layer:

  • In the Timeline, right-click (on the Mac, Control-click) the layer you want to delete and then, from the shortcut menu that appears, choose Delete Layer.
  • Drag the layer you want to delete to the Trash can (see Figure4-19 ). 

    Figure 4-19.  The quickest way to dispose of a layer is to select it and then click the Trash can. All Flash animations must contain at least one layer, so you can’t delete the last layer. If
    you try, Flash doesn’t display any error—it just quietly ignores you.

  • Click the layer you want to delete to select it (or Shift-click to select several layers) and then click the Trash can.

Whichever method you choose, Flash immediately deletes the layer or layers (including all the frames associated with that layer or layers) from the Layers window.

Tip: If you delete the wrong layer by mistake, choose Edit -> Undo Delete Layer.

Locking and Unlocking Layers

Organizing Layers

Working with layers can be confusing, especially at first. So Flash lets you lock individual layers as a kind of safeguard, to keep yourself from accidentally changing content you didn’t mean to change:

  • To lock a layer, click the Unlocked icon (the dot in Figure 4-20) next to the layer you want to lock. When you do, Flash turns the dot into a little padlock icon and deselects any objects that you’d selected on the Stage in that layer. If you locked the active layer, Flash draws a slash through the pencil icon next to the layer’s name as a visual reminder that you can’t edit it.

    Figure 4-20.  Here, the cloud and fence layers
    are unlocked, and the flowers layer (and the selected birds layer) are locked. Some people
    get into the habit of locking all the layers they’re not currently editing. That way, they can’t
    possibly add a shape or a tween to the wrong layer.

  • To unlock a layer, click the Locked icon (the padlock in Figure 4-20) next to the layer you want to unlock. Instantly, the padlock turns into a dot, Flash reselects your objects, and you can edit them once again on the Stage.
  • To lock (or unlock) all of your layers all at once, click the Lock/Unlock All Layers icon. Click the icon again to return to unlocked (or locked) layers.
  • To lock (or unlock) all layers except the one you’re currently editing, Alt+click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) the unlocked icon next to the layer you’re editing.

Note: If you try to edit a locked layer, Flash displays a warning dialog box that gives you the opportunity to unlock (and then edit) the layer.

Flash gives you a couple of options that help you organize your layers both in your finished animation and in Flash. The outline view helps you tweak the way the content of your layers appears in your finished animation. You use the outline view to help position the objects on one layer with respect to the objects on all the other layers. Layer folders help you organize your layers on the Timeline so that you can find and work with them more easily.

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