When you open a new Flash document to begin drawing or importing into, it has one layer and one frame. If you look at the timeline, you'll note that that one frame has a hollow circle in it and the frame has a white background. This indicates that the frame is a keyframe and has no graphic content associated with it on stage. Now draw a shape on stage and you'll see that the frame changes to having a solid black circle with a gray background, which indicates that it is a keyframe which has graphic content associated with it on stage.
In order to have animation in a movie (or movieclip, which we'll discuss later), you must extend the timeline to last some specified duration, and put in keyframes wherever you want the scene to change. For example, to create a movie with a blinking star, create a new blank document that's 40 x 40, 12fps, dark blue background. Extend the timeline 12 frames by right-clicking in frame 12 and choosing Insert Frame. Now you have a movie with 12 blank frames (1 second long).
Right-click in frame 10 and choose Insert Keyframe to make it a keyframe.
You must insert a keyframe any time you want the content in the timeline to change from its previous state.
Draw a star on stage (hold the mouse down on the Rectangle tool, choose Poly Star tool from the menu that pops up, and in the Properties panel, click Options and choose Star and as many points as you want). Now you should have 9 blank frames, a keyframe in frame 10, and content in frames 10-12 (like the timeline shown below). To see what the movie will look like when published, choose Control, Test Movie (cmd-Enter, pc:ctrl-Enter). The published movie should look like the (somewhat annoying) permanently blinking star below.
|First flashing star movie and its timeline|
Notice that the movie doesn't just play once and end there -- it goes back to the beginning and plays again. That's an important thing to remember when dealing with any timeline: its default behavior is to start playing and keep playing (looping), unless told to do otherwise. If you want it to play through and stop when it reaches a particular frame, you have to put a stop in that frame (we'll look at that later).
More keyframes can be added to add or refine the animation in a timeline. For example, in the blinking star movie, instead of just two keyframes in 1 and 10, we could add keyframes in frames 11 and 12 (to turn a frame into a keyframe, right-click the frame and choose Insert Keyframe). Then we could use the transform tool or the Transform panel (cmd-T, pc:ctrl-T) to shrink the star in frames 10 and 12, to produce this variation:
|Second flashing star movie and its timeline (same overall length, more keyframes for more detail)|
Now that we've seen how to change the content in a frame by making it a keyframe and then changing the content in that keyframe, let's continue with the sheep scene we created previously and add a keyframe to make the sheep tilt its head and bleat:
And that's it: a movie extended to 32 frames, with one keyframe in the sheep2 head layer (echoed in the sheep2 shadow layer) to tilt it, and one keyframe in the sound layer to add a sound. This creates a 3-second (almost) movie with two seconds of silence, following by one second of bleating, repeating forever (until we learn how to make that stop, as is done in the sample above).
Discussed on this page:
make keyframe, extend timeline, keyframe animation, drawing tools and import sound to main timeline to animate scene
In sheepscene.zip, password required
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has a large selection of free sound effects (like the bleating sheep sound in this sample) that can be listened to, downloaded and used in Flash movies. There are hundreds more Flash sound sources on the web -- google 'Flash sound' to find more.
For premade Flash vector animations at a very reasonable price, see Flash Freezer.