Creating
a Basic Flash MX Animation
         written by kirupa chinnathambi

In this final page out of our three page tutorial, we will look at using layers to create some background shapes for the animation. Before you can add a background design, we need to learn about layers.

Layers
Flash uses layers to organize various objects in an animation. In fact, we have been using a layer all this time. Look at your timeline. The text that says 'Layer 1' signifies a layer. We will be editing and adding another layer. The following instructions explain how to do that:

  1. You should have noticed the text, Layer 1, in the timeline. The text 'Layer 1' is just not descriptive enough for what is actually contained on the layer: the Flash MX text.
     
  2. Double click on the Layer 1 text to the left of the timeline. You will notice that the text is now selectable. Enter the word "text" to replace Layer 1":

[ renaming the layer to make it more descriptive ]
 

  1. Now, let us add another layer to house the background. Right click on the 'text' layer and select Insert Layer. You will notice a layer labeled "Layer 2" is displayed above your text layer. Rename that layer background by double clicking on the Layer 2 text. The left side of your timeline should look like the following image:

[ another layer has been added ]

  1. Notice that the background is above your text layer. Layers are like floors in a building. The furniture in the top floor is above the furniture in the bottom floor. Similarly, the contents of the top layer will go above the contents in a bottom layer. Because we want to create a background, the content in the background layer should be displayed below the text layer. Click on the background layer and drag it below the text layer. Your timeline should look as follows:

[ the background layer has been moved down]

As mentioned previously, the background layer has been moved below the text layer. If the background layer was above the text layer, the text will be hidden from view by the background (after you add one).

Adding a Background
Let's add a background to make the animation look cooler. The following instructions will guide you in adding a background design:

  1. Select the first empty keyframe of the background layer. You will notice that the empty keyframe is selected. Everything you add to your animation will now be on the background layer because you just selected it by clicking the empty keyframe.
     
  2. Select the Oval Tool (the circle) from the Tools panel. You will notice that your properties window reflects the circle properties such as line color, fill color, and more.
     
  3. Click the color box for the line (Stroke) of the circle from the Properties menu. Select the no color option from the top-right of the menu. The no-color option is the box with a red line through it:

[ the no color option for the line]

  1. After you select the no-color option for the outline of the circle, click the fill icon on the Properties panel. From the color menu that appears, select a white fill color. Your Properties panel should look like the following image:

[ the property panel for the circle ]

  1. Now, it is time for you to draw circles for the background of your animation. Click anywhere in your movie and drag. You will notice a circle in the size and shape of your dragging is created. Release the mouse to set the circle in place.
     
  2. Repeat the above step (step v.) until you have numerous randomly sized circles dotting your movie. The following image shows how I arranged my circles:

[ how I arranged the circles in my animation ]

  1. Save this file and go to File | Publish Preview | HTML. You will now see your animation with the text 'Flash MX' going over the circles.

You have just completed creating a basic animation in Flash MX. By completing this tutorial, you were introduced to various topics such as formatting text, layers, animating (tweening), shapes, and more!

Like I always do, I have provided you with the actual Flash file that I used to write this tutorial. Click the link below to download the file and to see how my animation looks:

download fla

If you have a question about this or any other topic, the easiest thing is to drop by our forums where a bunch of the friendliest people you'll ever run into will be happy to help you out!

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