Slim Down Your Flash MX Animations with Graphic Symbols and Movie Clips
One huge benefit of using Flash MX is the small size of complex animation files. In this third Flash tutorial, you'll see how to use Symbols and Movie Clips to make your Flash animations more efficient.
by John Lee
Feb 5, 2003
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he previous lesson in this series (Learning to Animate in Macromedia Flash MX) introduced you to the Timeline and Keyframesthe basic building blocks of Flash MX animation. After this lesson, you'll be able to use Graphic Symbols and Movie Clips to create lightweight and more complex Flash movies. Symbols are important in Flash animations because they reduce file size and are necessary for adding interactivity to your movies.
There are three types of Symbols in Flash: Graphic Symbols, Movie Clips and Buttons. For the purposes of this lesson, you will use the first two Symbol types to create an animated Flash file that requires 2K!
If you don't have Flash MX, you can download a free 30-day trial version that you can use to explore Flash's capabilities.
Setting Up the Flash MX Work Area and a New Document
Figure 1: The sample animation shows both Flash Shape Tweening and Motion Tweening.
After opening Flash MX, click the Window menu and then click on the Panel Sets item. From the options available in PanelSets, select the item Designer [1024 X 768]. The Color Mixer, Tools, Timeline and Properties panels are still your primary working areas, but you will also need to open a new panel because you'll be creating Symbols for this lesson. From the Window menu, click on the Library option. A floating palette will appear. It's empty for now, but as you create Symbols, the Library panel will store them for you to drag and drop onto the stage.
After changing the Panel Set to Designer Mode, go to the Properties panel and click on the Size button. In the dialog box that appears, enter a Width of 250 pixels and a Height of 150 pixels. Next, select a background color for the movie. As before, use any color other than white. (See the Colors Used in the Sample sidebar for a list of the colors used in the sample movie.) Ensure that the frame rate is set to 12 as in the last project and click OK.
You will create a Flash file (see Figure 1) that relies on Movie Clips to generate a single-frame looping animation.