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In Flash, alpha refers to the opacity & transparency of an objects

100% alpha is completely opaque, 0% alpha is completely transparent.

A series of still images played in rapid succession to simulate movement or changes.

In motion graphics and animation software, a frame is a point in time on the timeline,
represented by a small box or cell.

Frame rate
Frame rate determines how many frames per second the movie will be played back
for the user.
A higher frame rate makes for a smoother animation, but also results in a larger file
size that might cause the animation to stall on a slow computer or web connection.

Layers in Flash are separate timelines stacked on top of each other.
Layers allow for multiple tweens to occur simultaneously, and help in visual

An instance is a copy of a symbol located on the Stage, or nested inside another
Instance properties such as color or size can be changed onstage without affecting
the parent symbol.
However, if you change the parent symbol in the library, ALL of the instances on the
stage will update to the change.

In motion graphics and animation software, a frame in the timeline that holds an

In Flash, the library is a panel that stores all the symbols used in the movie.
The library can contain graphics, sounds, movie clips, buttons, and blocks of text
organized into folders.

Onion skinning
Viewing multiple frames at once.
This term comes from traditional hand-drawn animation,
where "onion skin" tracing paper was used to trace objects from frame-to-frame.
Using onionskins allows you to see, and adjust, precisely how an animation will move
across several frames.

The traits of a Flash object that can be modified:
alpha, visibility, tint, scale, brightness, position and rotation.
Scenes are ways of breaking up a timeline for organization, almost like chapters in a
Playing a movie automatically plays one scene's timeline after the next, as if it were
one long timeline.
Actionscript can be applied to change the order and playback of scenes.

To move the playhead back & forth along the timeline in order to preview the

A symbol is a graphic, button, or movie clip stored in the Flash "library" folder.
Symbols can be reused, and altered, as many times as you want!
Placing a symbol on the stage or into the timeline, creates an instance (copy) of the
The symbol in the library is the parent object of all of the instances on the stage, or
in the timeline.

The Advantage of Symbols

1. You can reuse the symbol as many times as you want without affecting file size.
2. You can modify the properties of any instance of the symbol without
changing the parent symbol in the library.
3. If you update the parent symbol in the library, every instance of the symbol is
automatically updated.
4. Motion tweens using symbols behave in a predictable manner!
Tweens on non-symbols are GUARANTEED to cause you problems!

A series of numbered frames that represent increments of time.
In Flash, the timeline displays the frame number, the frame rate, and an approximate
amount of time that will have elapsed at each frame.
The timeline also displays the layers in the movie.

An animation technique in which the frames "in-between" 2 keyframes are
automatically created by Flash.
1. Motion tween
Motion tweens can change the following properties of an instance of a symbol:
position, scale, rotation, skew, brightness, tint, and alpha.
2. Shape tween
Shape tweens are used to morph between 2 simple shapes that have been broken
Basic Flash Animation Sequence: The Motion Tween
Create or import graphics and text.
Text and graphics may be drawn or typed directly on the stage,
or FILE > IMPORT image files.

Convert all text and graphics to symbols!

Objects NOT converted to symbols DO NOT animate predictably and will increase file size!
Select the object.
CONTROL/CLICK the selected object and choose "convert to symbol".

Choose GRAPHIC as the symbol type.

The symbol will now be stored in the LIBRARY.

Symbols can be used as often needed!

Instance = a copy of a symbol dropped onto the stage


The master symbol in the library is the parent object.

The copies of the parent (instances) are the child objects.

The parent controls the child, BUT

the child does not control the parent!

If you change the master symbol (parent) in the library,

ALL of the instances (children) will update to the same changes.

If you change the instance (child) on the stage,

the master symbol in the library (parent) remains the same.

The Library panel.

pro tip: name your symbols for faster location of files!


You need 4 things to create an animation sequence in Flash:

1. A symbol to animate
2. A start keyframe
3. An end keyframe
4. A motion tween

1. Insert the first keyframe.

Select a frame on the timeline.
CONTROL/CLICK on a frame and choose "insert blank keyframe".

2. Place a symbol in the keyframe.

Select the keyframe.
Drag a symbol from the library onto the stage.
The keyframe turns solid black when it contains an object.

3. Insert (duplicate) the keyframe.

Scrub out to another frame on the timeline.
or CONTROL/CLICK and choose "insert keyframe".
This duplicates the previous keyframe and symbol.

4. Make a change to the second symbol instance.

NOTE: select the object (on the stage) NOT the keyframe!
You can make multiple changes to size, color, rotation, location, alpha.

5. Create a motion tween.

Slect any frame on the timeline inbetween the 2 keyframes.
or CONTROL/CLICK and choose "create motion tween".

An arrow on a blue background indicates a motion tween.

6. CONTINUE the Animation Sequence:

Scrub to the next frame on the timeline.
INSERT > KEYFRAME or CONTROL/CLICK and choose "insert keyframe".
This duplicates the previous keyframe and allow you to continue animating.

7. END the Animation Sequence with a blank keyframe.

or CONTROL/CLICK and choose "blank keyframe".
Broken Motion Tweens
A dotted line on a blue background indicates a "broken" motion tween.

Broken motion tweens occur when one of the keyframes
OR when you try to animate more than one symbol on the
OR when you try to animate something that is NOT a sym

Removing Keyframes:
INSERT> CLEAR KEYFRAME or CONTROL/CLICK and choose "clear keyframe".
DELETE removes the symbol from the keyframe, NOT the keyframe itself!


Multiple animations require multiple layers!

Flash processes only ONE animation per layer at the same time.

Layer 1
This shows how tweens occur one after another (sequentially) on the timeline.
Layer 2
The tween on layer 2 occurs at the same time (simultaneously) as the tweens on
Layer 1.

Note: the animation sequence on Layer 1 has 2 keyframes: start & end!
It is possible to animate with a “shared” keyframe but your animation will be
Two actions cannot be held in the same keyframe.
Flash will not be able to determine what you are asking it to do and will "guess"...

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