The Flash Interface

Main Window

This part of the course introduces you to the Main Window of Flash 4.0 and the various areas that you will learn to work with. These include the : Menu Bar, Stage, Timeline, Layer Area, Standard Tool Bar, Drawing Tool Bar, and Controller. In addition to these areas, you will also learn about the Library Window.

Menu Bar

The Menu Bar is used to access the various commands on pull-down menus available in Flash 4.0. Several of the options found on these pull-down menus can also be found on the Standard Tool Bar.

The Stage

Flash movies are divided into links of time called frames. The Stage is where you create (compose) the individual frames in the movie. You accomplish this by drawing directly on the Stage or by imported graphics. The graphic below shows a single frame and the various objects that are on the Stage for that frame. These include several draw objects that were used to create the sky and land. The bird and sun are actually short animations that you will find in the Animated Graphics section of the Graphics Library. Open the file sample1.swf to view objects on the Stage.

The TimeLine and Layers

The Timeline and Layers area is where you set up and coordinate the timing of the Flash movie. The artwork is assembled on separate layers. Each frame in the movie is displayed along the Timeline. The sample1.swf shows a single frame and three layers: Layer 1, Layer 2, and Background. You can name these layers in any manner you wish. In this example, the bird, mouse, and sun are on Layer 1 while the sky and ground are on Layer 2. The order of the layers is important because the objects on the layer at the top of the list is always on top of the layer or layers beneath it. Thus the bird, mouse, and sun are "on top of" the sky and ground. You could consider the sky and ground as the background for this frame. The order of the layers can be changed by dragging and dropping a layer to a different location within this area.

Standard Tool Bar

The Standard Tool Bar contains icons that allow you to perform some basic functions in Flash. These include New (create a new project), Open (Open another flash file), Save (save your flash file), Print, Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Redo, Snap, Smooth, Straighten, Rotate, Scale, Align, and Zoom Control. These are the same functions that you find commands for on the various pull-down menus.

Drawing Tool Bar

The Drawing Tool Bar (called the toolbox) contains a variety of tools that can be used to draw, select, paint, and modify artwork on the Flash Stage. Many of these tools have modifiers that affect the editing and painting options for the selected tool.

Controller

The Controller is used to play, rewind, step through, and stop an animation sequence.

The Library

The Library is where the symbols such as graphics, buttons, and movies are stored. Each fla has it own Library of objects and you also have access to the Libraries that come installed with Flash including Buttons, Buttons-Advanced, Graphics, Sounds, and Movie Clips. In addition you can open a Library from another fla file.