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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 - Organizing Your Layers with Layer Folders
(Page 6 of 6 )

When your animation contains only a handful of layers, organization isnít such a big deal. But if you find yourself creating 10, 20, or even more layers, youíll want to use layer folders to keep your layers tidy (and yourself from going nuts).

A layer folder is simply a folder you can add to the Layers window. Layer folders arenít associated with frames; you canít place images directly into them. (If you try, you see the error message shown in Figure 4-22.)

Figure 4-22.  If you try to draw on the Stage when youíve selected a folder instead of a layer, Flash lets
you know in no uncertain terms. (An interpolated frame is a tweened frame; as you learn in Chapter 3, you canít place images in a tweened frame, either.)

Instead, layer folders act as containers to organize your layers. For example, you might want to put all the layers pertaining to a certain drawing (such as a logo or character) into a single layer folder, and name the folder logo or Ralph. That way, you donít have to scroll through a bunch of layers to find the one image youíre looking for.

Note: As you might expect, showing, hiding, locking, unlocking, and outlining a layer folder affects every layer inside that folder.

Creating layer folders

When you start working with layer folders, you may want to drag to increase the size of the Timeline so that you can see all your layers. Then proceed as follows:

  1. Click the name of a layer to select it.

    It doesnít much matter which layer you select since youíll be moving layers as well as the layer folder. 
  2. Click the Insert Layer Folder icon. (If you prefer, you can choose Insert -> Timeline -> Layer Folder or right-click the layer and, from the shortcut menu that appears, choose Insert Folder.)

    Flash creates a new layer folder named Folder 1 and places it above the layer you selected (Figure4-23). 
  3. Drag layers onto the layer folder.

    The layers appear beneath the layer folder, and the layer folder icon changes from collapsed to expanded.

Tip: You can place layer folders inside other layer folders, but donít go wild; the point is to organize your layers so that you can find them easily, not to see how few folders you can display in the Layers window.

Figure 4-23.  Newly created layer folders appear expanded, like Folder 1 here (note the down arrow). Clicking the down arrow collapses the folder and changes the down arrow to a right arrow. When you drag layers onto an open folder (or expand a collapsed folder), the layers appear beneath the folder. You rename a layer folder the same way you rename a layer: by double-clicking the existing name and then typing in one of your own. You can move layer folders around the same way you move layers around, too: by dragging.

Deleting a layer folder

To delete a layer folder and all the layers and folders inside, right-click the layer folder and then, from the shortcut menu that appears, select Delete Folder. Flash pops up a warning message informing you that youíre about to delete not just the folder, but also everything in it. If thatís what you want, click Yes; otherwise, click No.  


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