Working with Layers

This lesson will show you how to work with layers in Flash 4.0.

1. Run Flash 4.0 from the Start menu by choosing Macromedia Flash 4 and then Flash 4 to obtain a blank stage for the first frame. If you are already in Flash use the New icon from the Tool Bar to create a new project.

2. Click on Modify, then Movie from the pull-down menu to obtain the Movie Properties dialog box. Set the size of the movie to a Width of 400 and a Height of 300. Set the Background color to a Light Blue. Click OK to continue.

3. Double-click on the label for Layer 1 and type: Foreground.

4. Click on the Add Layer icon as shown below to add a second layer.

5. Double click on this layer's label and type: Background.

6. Notice that the layer you added was placed in the first position. Click and hold the left mouse button down over the label for the layer named Background and drag it down in the list to make it the second item in the list, moving the layer named Foreground up to the first postion. Now any objects or symbols on the layed named Foreground are on top of anything that might be on the layer named Background.

7. Click on Background from the Layers area to select that layer. The Light Blue background represents the sky.

8. Select the Rectangle tool, set the Line Color to Black and the Fill Color to Dark Green, then draw a rectangle that covers the bottom 1/3 of the stage. This will be the ground in the scene.

9. Click the Arrow tool and move the mouse pointer over the top part of the rectangle (in the middle) until you get the small curve symbol as part of the mouse pointer. Pull up on the rectangle to produce a rounded top to the rectangle (a hill).

10. Select the Ellipse tool, set both the Line Color and Fill Color to Yellow, and draw a circle (the sun) in the upper-right part of the Stage. You should now notice that Frame 1 for the layer named Background is Grey with a solid dot. This indicates that there is an object or symbol in this Frame. The dot in Frame 1 for Foreground is open, meaning that layer is currently empty.

11. Click on the black dot in the Layers area as shown below to lock this layer. This prevents any objects from being moved on this layer.

12. Now click on Foreground from the Layers area.

13. Open the Graphics Library and open the Animated Graphics folder.

14. Drag the Bird symbol to the left and middle part of the stage. Repeat this procedure and add the mouse to the green area. A later lesson will show you how to animate the bird.

15. Use the Pencil tool (set the Line Color to White,the Line Thickness to 2.0, and the Pencil Mode to Smooth) and draw a curved path "up the hill". Notice how the line "smooths out" if you did not do a good job of drawing the curved path.

Note that you can select and move the Bird and Mouse without fear of moving the Sun and Hill since they are on a layer that is locked. It is a good idea to lock layers once you get them built if there is a worry about moving things around that you don't want to have moved. Locking a layer also prevents any other symbols or objects from being placed on that layer.

16. Save this as lesson4 to conclude this exercise.