Serving Up Web-Friendly Animations: In a Flash: The Timeline | WebReference

Serving Up Web-Friendly Animations: In a Flash: The Timeline

The Timeline

Serving Up Web-Friendly Animations: In a Flash

Take a look at the timeline (the numbered grid above your movie area). You'll see Layer 1, a pencil icon next to it, and then a strip along the timeline that has a small, unfilled, blue circle sitting in Frame 1.

Flash Timeline

Whenever you want to add something to a Flash movie, it goes into a specific frame at a specific point in the timeline. For the most part, you'll probably find adding separate items to separate layers the easiest way to keep things organized. This will also allow you to go back into your movie and move certain items around (or change their start points by inserting or deleting frames) without disrupting other items.

Pencil Signifying Current Layer To add a Layer, click the pencil icon, choose "Insert Layer," and name your layer. That layer pops up, with its own key frame (the blue circle), and now the pencil is next to it. The pencil is important because it shows you which layer is current. While you'll always see ALL items in a frame on the movie stage, additions you make will go into the "current layer" which may or may not be the layer you intend. Forgetting to make a layer "current" is a common mistake, so watch out for it.

The other important element of the timeline area to notice is the little slider Current Frame Marker (it looks like the tab marker in many word processing programs) that sits along the top of the timeline. This is the "current frame marker." When you start, it's on 1 because there are no other frames. If you try to move it, you'll see that it won't go anywhere because you haven't added frames yet to the movie.

Once you start adding frames, you need to always be aware of where the current frame marker is. While you can make changes to anything you see on the movie stage, when you make changes, they impact the frame on which the current frame marker is positioned, so make sure the marker is correctly placed.

Inserting Frames / The Menu You can add frames to individual layers or to several layers at once. You can, similarly, add frames one at a time or in groups. To add a frame, position your mouse in the desired point in the timeline, click on the small rectangular box which appears at the bottom of the cursor, and choose "Insert Frames" from the pop-up menu. To insert frames in several layers at once, drag your mouse from the starting point in one layer across to the desired endframe in another layer, and then click the box and choose "Insert Frames." This allows you to add the same number of frames to multiple layers in a single move.

How many frames do you add? Take a good guess and add. You can always add more -- or delete some -- later.

Okay, so let's enter some text.

Comments are welcome

Created: Aug. 24, 1997
Revised: Aug. 24, 1997