Dynamic Mouse Trail in Flash - Page 1
       by kirupa  |  3 August 2009

A popular effect that you can add to your applications is a mouse trail. In case you are not familiar with them, mouse trails are nothing more than some content that follows your mouse around the screen. What makes them a little different from a standard "follow mouse" effect is that they often trail your mouse movement by a few milliseconds.

This has the effect of providing you with the illusion of your mouse cursor leaving behind a trail of where it has been in the past. The following is an example of what you will be creating in this tutorial: 

[ click on the Click Me text and move your mouse around ]

If you notice the title of this tutorial, it isn't simply Mouse Trail. We already have a tutorial on that here written by Syko. No, what we have a is a dynamic mouse trial. This means that your trail is not made up of preexisting content that lives on your stage. Instead, your trail gets dynamically generated and disposed as your mouse is moving around the stage.

Let's Get Started
First, you will need to create a movie clip. For this article, simply create a solid blue circle movie clip and, in the Library, give it the class name ColorfulCircle. If you don't know how to do that, feel free to read the detailed instructions below. Otherwise, jump on over to the next page!

Creating the ColorfulCircle MovieClip:
The following instructions explain how to setup your movie and specify the blue circle:

  1. First, create a new animation in Flash CS3, and be sure to set your document type to be Flash File (ActionScript 3.0). From the Properties panel, click the button next to the Size text and set the animation's width and height to 300 pixels by 200 pixels respectively:

[ set your animation's width/height to 300 by 200 ]

  1. While you are at the Properties panel, set the frame rate to 25.
  2. Now that our stage's width and height have been setup just the way we want, let's draw a circle. Using the Circle tool, draw a circle with a blue solid-fill color:

[ draw a blue, solid, filled circle ]

  1. Make sure your circle has been selected and press F8 or go to Modify | Convert to Symbol. The Convert to Symbol window will appear. For name, enter circle and make sure the Movie Clip option has been selected:

[ give your symbol the name circle and make sure it is also set to be a movie clip ]

Do not hit OK just yet. Let's make some more modifications.

  1. From the same Convert to Symbol window, find the area marked Linkage. If you do not see the Linkage area, press the Advanced button to display it. Check the box that says Export for Actionscript. A few lines above that, in the Class field, replace whatever text is displayed (probably circle) with the text BlueCircle:


[ check 'Export for ActionScript and enter BlueCircle for your class ]

The Base class field will automatically be populated for you, but if it hasn't, make sure to enter flash.display.MovieClip as shown in the above image.

  1. Press OK to close the Convert to Symbol window. After you have pressed OK, you will see your Library display your newly created symbol:

[ your circle in your Library ]

If you do not see your Library, press Ctrl + L to display it.

  1. Right now. your circle movie clip is stored in the Library, and you have a copy of that same clip on your stage right now. Delete the movie clip you see on the stage, for we only used it to convert our circle into a movie clip. As long as it lives in the library, we are good to go.
  2. Ok, things should be calm now. Save this file as dynamicMouseTrail.fla.

At this point, you should see a blank stage with your Library displaying the circle movie clip with the class name ColorfulCircle. Right now, nothing is really being done. Let's fix that...on the next page!

Onwards to the next page.

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