About Macromedia Flash: Basic Parts

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Adobe Flash is multimedia software capable of creating rich multimedia websites. Flash is commonly used to create Internet applications, advertisements and movies. The Flash environment requires a design-inspired learning curve. Mastering Flash begins with understanding the basic parts of the Flash environment.



Flash has two toolbars in the Mac version: the Controller and the Edit bar. In Windows, Flash contains the Main toolbar. The Main toolbar is common in other programs in Windows. This toolbar allows access to basic commands. The Controller (Mac version) allows you to control the playback of your movies. The Edit bar provides control over scenes, symbols and the user interface. The Edit bar contains buttons for access to symbols, zooming, scenes and workspaces.

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The gateways to Flash's many settings and tools are panels. You can access the different types of panels from the "Window" menu on the Main toolbar in Windows or from the Edit bar in Mac. Panels can be moved, or "docked," in different locations within the Flash environment. Some examples of panels include Color, Actions, Library and Components.



The stage is where your work goes. The white space right in the middle of the screen is the stage. You can place the elements of your movie, including graphics and text, on the stage. Imagination can work wonders and create rich Internet applications on the stage.



Flash movies are composed of layers. You can think of layers as clear pieces of tracing paper on which you create your movie. Layers are required to keep different elements of your movie from running together. For example, if you wanted to animate a logo that has text on top of it, you would create two layers. One layer would have the logo graphic while the other layer would include the text. This way, both elements have their own space.




The timeline window in the Flash environment allows you to control your movie. The timeline window is made up of frames, which are fragments of time in your movie. Flash movies are groups of layers placed over frames. When you group frames, or time, together and play it quickly, you have a movie.



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