Flash Movie Development
Once Flash CS3 is installed, open the program. Flash’s Welcome Screen appears by default. The Welcome Screen contains options such as Open a Recent Item, Create New and Create from Template. The bottom of the page contains links to useful help topics and tu-torials. [Note: For additional help, refer to Flash’s Help menu.]
To create a blank Flash document, click Flash File (ActionScript 3.0) under the Create New heading. Flash opens a new file called Untitled-1 in the Flash development environ-ment (Fig. 16.1).
At the center of the development environment is the movie stage—the white area in which you place graphic elements during movie development. Above the stage is the time-line, which represents the time period over which a movie runs. The timeline is divided into increments called frames, represented by gray and white rectangles. Each frame depicts a moment in time during the movie, into which you can insert movie elements. The playhead indicates the current frame.
The development environment contains several windows that provide options and tools for creating Flash movies. Many of these tools are located in the Tools bar, the ver-tical window located at the left side of the development environment. The Tools bar (Fig. 16.2) is divided into multiple sections, each containing tools and functions that help you create Flash movies. The tools near the top of the Tools bar select, add and remove graphics from Flash movies. The Hand and Zoom tools allow you to pan and zoom in the stage. Another section of tools provides colors for shapes, lines and filled areas. The last section contains settings for the active tool (i.e., the tool that is highlighted and in use). You can make a tool behave differently by selecting a new mode from the options section of the Tools bar.
Application windows called panels organize frequently used movie options. Panel options modify the size, shape, color, alignment and effects associated with a movie’s graphic elements. By default, panels line the right and bottom edges of the window. Panels
may be placed anywhere in the development environment by dragging the tab at the left edge of their bars.
The context-sensitive Properties panel (frequently referred to as the Properties window) is located at the bottom of the screen by default. This panel displays various information about the currently selected object. It is Flash’s most useful tool for viewing and altering an object’s properties.
The Color, Swatches, Properties, Filters and Parameters panels also appear in the development environment by default. You can access different panels by selecting them from the Window menu. To save and manage customized panel layouts, select Window > Workspace, then use the Save Current… and Manage… options to save a layout or load an existing layout, respectively.
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