Flash Introduction
syllabus | schedule | assignments | Web Resources | ARTC courses
[Flash Intro]     [Drawing]     [Other Tools]     [Modify/Import]     [Symbols]     [Animation]     [Navigation]     [Publishing]    [Audio]     [ActionScript]     [Textboxes]     [Conditionals/Loops]     [Functions]     [Timing]     [Interaction]    [KeyPressed]    
  • Compact size because it vector based, which makes download quick and resizable in the browser.
  • Flash is independent of browsers and viewable with a plug-in.
  • Vector vs. Bitmap:
    • Vectors describe an image using lines & curves; resolution-independent, never lose quality or increase file size
    • Bitmap uses pixels in a grid; resolution-dependent, limited to original number of pixels, will become ragged / "jaggies" when resized.
  • With Flash you can create dazzling graphics and interfaces with animation, sound, video & interactivity:
    • Have streaming capability = download bit by bit instead of all at once.
  • Create interactive elements with actions using ActionScript.
  • Export file as a FlashPlayer movie for web browser, stand-alone flash player or as a projector.
    • Flash work files are saved as .FLA files; published flash documents are .SWF files.

Work Environment
** Right Click with Mouse or CTRL+click to get Context Menus (shortcut to panels/menu items) **

Stage: Movie plays here; animations and interactivity take place here.

  • Absolute positioning (0,0 is upper left corner of stage).
  • To Show / Hide Grid, Rulers, Guides: View > Grid or Rulers or Guides

Tools: The basic tools you need to create graphics in Flash.

Timeline: Where graphics are animated over time; layers act like acetate cels.

  • Layers on the left, Frames to right; Display at bottom: current frame, rate, elapsed time.
  • To Hide Timeline: View > Timeline (Apple+Option+T)

Library: stores/organizes symbols and imported files (bitmaps, quicktime movies, sound); can sort the contents in many ways; Libraries change with files, but can be shared with more than one (Apple+L).

Work Area: area outside of stage – won’t be visible in final production.

Panels: MANY panels; can be moved, dragged and removed by tabs; similar to Photoshop

  • To set back to default: Window > Workspace Layout > Default

Properties: changes to reflect whatever you currently have selected; will use constantly.

Symbol Editing Mode: place to add rollovers to buttons, make a movie loop, change a symbol graphic; symbols are reusable media. Double click on a symbol to enter this mode (in library or on stage).

Color: Allows you to change the color of your elements.

Concepts and Terminology

Symbol: Reusable graphic - saves download time and file size because no matter how many times the item is reused in the file, Flash only stores it once.

  • You can edit the master symbol and it will change ALL of the times it is used in the file, or you can change just the instance on stage.

Instance: each time a symbol is used in a Flash file it is called an instance.

Frames: For animation (8 or 12 fps for web); 24=film, 29.97/30=video ; our eye sees 15 fine.

Layers: Used like cels of acetate; similar to other programs.

Scenes: Used to organize sequence thematically (can have many in one .FLA file); plays back scenes in order of Scene Panel.

Getting Started

Set the parameters for your Flash file, two ways: Modify > Document… or Right click on your stage to bring up the Document Properties and enter information. Remember, your websites are 800 to 1024 wide so your flash files will need to fit within the layout eventually.

Set Properties:

  • Title: name it
  • Description: extra info about the file
  • Dimensions (widthXheight) 550x400=default; min=18x18, max=2880x2880
  • Match: contents (puts equal space around all sides in HTML file) - decides based on what you already have.
  • Background Color: changes background color
  • Frame Rate: 8-12 fps (frames per second); 12=default
  • Ruler Units: rulers, inches or pixels

Layers: More layers do not increase size of published movie - Libraries do increase the size; Layers can contain sound, actions, labels, comments.

  • Double-click name to change its name (always name it).
  • Eye - visible.
  • Padlock - locked.
  • Rect - outline color of items on that layer.
  • Pencil - active.
  • Folder with Plus on the left: Add a new layer
  • Ass Motion Guide: We will use this later
  • Insert Layer Folder: Used to keep layers very organized
  • Trash can: Click trash to delete the layer.