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Introduction to Adobe Flash CS4

 

Adobe Flash Fundamentals

 

Introduction

Adobe Flash is a multimedia program that can be used to create stand-alone or web-based applications. It can be used to create an application used to view one or more pictures in a slide show, to create and deliver a presentation, to produce a video (or movie), etc.

To use Adobe Flash to create something, you must have installed it on your computer. If you don't have it (yet), you can check the Adobe web site to check the availability of a trial version.

After installing it, you can launch it. To do this, you can click Start -> (All) Programs -> Adobe Creative Suite CS4 ... -> Adobe Flash CS4 Professional.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing Adobe Flash

  1. Start Adobe Flash
  2. On the opening dialog box, under Create New, click Flash File (ActionScript 3.0)

The Main Menu

Adobe Flash primarily uses a classic interface. The top section displays a menu made of categories such as File, Edit, View, etc. In our lessons, we will call it the main menu. Of course, to expand a category, you can click it, which would display its list of options. Alternatively, uou can press Alt to show an underlined letter on each menu item:

Title Bar

Then press the key of that letter to activate the menu.

To start a new project, on the menu, you can click File -> New... The shortcut is Ctrl + N. This would display the New Document dialog box from which you can make a selection.

The Title Bar

There is an empty area on the right side of the row of menu items. If Adobe Flash is not maximized, you can click the area above the menu items or the area on the right side of the row of menu and drag in the direction of your choice.

In the top-right side of Adobe Flash, it display the Windows system button used to minimize, maximize, restore, or close the application.

The Projects Tabs

Under the main menu, there is one or more tabs. A tab or each tab represents a project you had started. Every time you start a new project, a tab is created for it. To access a project, you can click its tab.

The Scenes Bar

Under the Tabs bar, there is another bar that displays an arrow, a Scene X label, and some buttons on the right side. We will review the options on that bar when necessary.

The Stage

The middle-center of Adobe Flash display a (white) rectangle surrounded by a gray area. This white area is called the Stage. The Stage is characterized by a size (a with and a height) and a color. There are various ways you can specify the size of the Stage:

  • When you start Adobe Flash, if you click Flash File (ActionScript 3.0), a default size is given to it
  • If you start a new project by clicking File -> New from the main menu or by pressing Ctrl + N, and clicking Flash File (ActionScript 3.0, the new project receives a default size
  • As mentioned already, you can click File -> New from the main menu or press Ctrl + N to start a new project. This would display the New Document dialog box. To select a predefined size, click Templates and select a size from the Templates list before clicking OK
     
    New From Template

At any time, you can change the size of the Stage. To do this:

  •  On the menu, click Modify -> Document...
  • In the Properties window (we will review it next), under the Properties section, click the Edit... button
  • Press Ctrl + J

Any of these actions would display the Document Properties dialog box. To change the size, in the Dimensions section, change the values of the (width) and/or the (height) text box:

Document Properties

The click OK.

Zooming the Stage

You can make the Stage appear bigger than normal, or smaller than normal, without changing its dimensions. This allows you to have both a larger and taller view, or a smaller view. This is helpful when you want to focus on a certain part of the Stage to apply a certain detail. Zooming consists of enlarging or shrinking the view of the Stage. To apply it, you have various options.

Zooming in consists of enlarging the Stage. You can specify it exactly using a percentage or relatively. To use a percentage, on the right side of the Scenes bar, click the arrow of the Zoom combo box and select a value higher than 100%:

Zoom

As an alternative, on the main menu, you can click View -> Magnification, and select a value higher than 100%. To zoom in with at a relative value, on the main menu, you can click View -> Zoom In. The shortcut is Ctrl + =. You can continue using any of these techniques until you can the view you want.

Zooming out is the opposite to enlarging the Stage. Once again, you can apply a percentage or use a relative value. To use a percentage, on the right side of the Scenes bar, click the arrow of the Zoom combo box and select a value lower than the current value. For an alternative, on the main menu, you can click View -> Magnification, and click a value lower than the current one. To zoom out with at a relative value, on the main menu, you can click View -> Zoom out. The shortcut is Ctrl + -. 

 

 

 

The Tools Window

Adobe Flash is both a drawing and an animation application. To perform the necessary drawings, you use various that the application offers. These tools are located in the Tools window.

By default, the Tools window is positioned on the right side of the screen:

Tools

If the bar is too tall for you, you can shrink it. To do this, click its Collapse to Icons button:

Collapse to Icoons

By default, the Tools window appears as a vertical bar with buttons. If you want, you can make it appear either as a shorter rectangle or as a bar. To do this, drag the left border of the Tools window:

Dragging the Left Border to the Tools

Until you can the width of your choice:

Tools

 

Tools

To know what a button is used for, you can position the mouse on it. A tool tip would appear:

Tools

Instead of keeping the Tools window in one position, you can move it. To do this, click and drag its title bar away from the current position.

The Properties Window

For the rest of our lessons, we will learn how to use the objects in the Tools window. We will learn that, to use a tool, you can click it from the Tools window. The Properties window is used to show the details or characteristics of an object that has been selected from the Tools window.

By default, the Tools window appears on the right of the screen, on the left of the Tools window:

Properties

The Properties window displays many labels, buttons, and text boxes. Because these are relative to a tool or to the current project, we will review each when necessary.

As mentioned already, the Properties window is usually positioned to the right of the screen. If you want, you can move it. To do this, click and drag its title bar away. You can leave it somewhere in the middle of the screen or you can dock it to the left side of the Stage. You can also reduce it to a size that accommodates just two buttons. To do this, either click its Collapse button or double-click its title bar:

Properties

 
 
   
 

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