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Organizing Frames and Layers


If you've ever wanted to learn how to do Flash animation editing, you've come to the right place. This two-part series offers you a crash course. It 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
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 9
August 28, 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Organizing Frames and Layers
  2. · Working with Frames
  3. · Moving Frames (Keyframes)
  4. · Editing Multiple Frames
  5. · Adding Content to Multiple Layers

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Organizing Frames and Layers - Moving Frames (Keyframes)
(Page 3 of 5 )

 

The Timeline is serial: When you run your animation, Flash displays the content in Frame 1, followed by the content in Frame 2, followed by the content in Frame 3, and so on. If you change your mind about the order in which you want frames to appear, all you need to do is move them.

Simple in theory—but moving frames in Flash isn’t quite as cut and dried as you might think. As you may recall if you’ve had a chance to read through Chapter 3, only keyframes can contain actual images; regular frames contain either tweened or “held over” copies of the images placed in the previous keyframe. So whether you move a frame or a keyframe, you end up with a keyframe. Here’s how it works:

  • Moving a keyframe. When you move a keyframe, what Flash actually moves is the keyframe’s content and keyframe designation; Flash leaves behind a regular frame in the original keyframe’s place. (And that regular frame may or not be empty, depending on whether or not a keyframe precedes it on the Timeline.) 
  •  Moving a regular frame. Flash moves the regular frame, but turns the moved frame into a keyframe. (If you move a series of regular frames, Flash turns just the first moved frame into a keyframe.)

Tip: There’s another way to change the order in which Flash plays frames: by creating an ActionScript action, as described in Chapter 10. Creating an action lets you tell Flash how to play your frames: backwards, for example, or by rerunning the first 10 frames three times and then moving on. You want to use ActionScript (as opposed to moving frames) when you want to give your audience the choice of viewing your animation in different ways.


To move frames, you simply select and then drag them. The process is the same whether you’re moving frames, keyframes, or both, and all the usual rules of frame selection described earlier in this chapter still apply.

Here are the steps in detail:

  1. On the Timeline, select the frame(s) you want to move.

    Flash highlights the selected frame (or frames) and moves the playhead to the last selected frame. 
  2. Drag the selected frame(s) to the frame after which you want to place the selected frames.

    As you drag the selected frames, Flash displays a gray box above your cursor to help you position them (Figure4-2).

                                                  
Figure 4-2.  Top: Click the frame you want to move and then let go of your mouse. Drag the frame you just selected. If flash displays a gray selection-sized box above your cursor, you’re gold: Drag to the point in the Timeline where you want to insert the moved frame (here, Frame 30) and then drop it. (If you don’t see a gray box, you need to start the process over.)

Bottom: Here, you can tell the move succeeded because the keyframe and end frame indicators have disappeared from their original locations (Frames 16 and 17) and reappeared in their new locations (Frames 29 and 30).



Tip: If you begin to drag your selected frames and see Flash highlighting the Timeline, which tells you it’s selecting additional frames (instead of displaying a neat gray box, which tells you it’s moving the selected frames), stop right there and start the whole process over. When your cursor is above the frame after which you want to move the selected frames, let go of your mouse button.


Flash deletes the selected frames from their original position, and inserts them in their new location.


Tip: If dragging your frames isn’t working, you can always copy and paste the frames you want to move (page 113). Then use Edit -> Timeline -> Remove Frames to delete them from their original location (see the box below).



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