What are Keyframes?
A keyframe is a special type of frame where you define a change in an animation or instigate an action (using Actionscript). For instance, an animation of an object moving across the screen could have two keyframes. The first keyframe will identify the starting position of the animation and the second keyframe would identify the ending position. Using a technique called ‘motion tweening’, Flash is able to intelligently ‘fill in the blanks’ between the two keyframes to complete the animation. Using Actionscript, you could insert a command in the second frame to stop the animation once it has played and only continue the movie once a menu button has been clicked (more on Actionscript later in the course).
Insert, Delete and Edit Frames or Keyframes
To insert a frame into the timeline, simply click on the layer and area where you want the frame and click on ‘Insert’ then choose ‘Timeline’ and select ‘Frame’. You can also perform the same task by right-clicking on the selected frame then choose ‘insert frame’(or by clicking on the frame and pressing F5 on your keyboard).
To insert a keyframe, do the same as above but select ‘Keyframe’ instead.
To delete a frame or keyframe, simply select it on the timeline and then right click and select ‘remove frame’. You may have to select clear keyframe before removing frame in order to directly get rid of the keyframe.
To edit a specific frame or keyframe, simply click on it. The current frame will then be displayed on the timeline (along with the corresponding frames from the other layers).
Drag Frames and Keyframes to a New Location on the Same Layer (or to another layer)
To move a frame or keyframe, simply click on it once to select it and then click and drag to the new location. You can drag within the current layer or to another layer.
Copy or Cut and Paste Frames and Keyframes
To copy and paste a frame or keyframe, simply select it on the timeline and click on ‘edit’ then ‘copy’. Select the new location on the timeline and click ‘edit’ then ‘paste’. To cut and paste, perform the same task using ‘cut’ instead of ‘copy’. Note: Cutting and pasting will move the frame or keyframe from the old to new location.
Covert Keyframes to Frames
If you accidentally create a keyframe within a group of frames, it can interrupt the flow of your movie. You may also want to ‘clear’ the keyframe for other reasons (such as removing an element of an animation or an actionscript command). To convert a keyframe to a frame, simply select the keyframe on the timeline then right-click and select ‘clear keyframe’
Drag an Item from the Library Panel to the Stage to Add the Item to the Current Frame
When creating or importing objects into your movie, they are stored in the movie library. They remain in the library even if you delete them from the stage (or a frame). To access the library panel, simply click on ‘window’ then ‘library’ or press F11. If you have any objects in your movie, you can copy them to your stage or a frame by clicking and dragging them from the library to the desired location. Note that when you do this, it does not ‘move’ them from the library but merely creates an ‘instance’ of the object.
For example, if you had a company logo that you wanted to reuse in different areas in your movie, you would simply drag them from the library to all the desired locations in the movie. When the Flash movie is published, Flash will compile the library with the movie. When the movie is played, each time it hits a frame that has the company logo instance; it will know to grab it from the library. This is one way Flash keeps file sizes down by using a library of ‘reusable’ objects as opposed to having multiple copies of the same object in the movie. These reusable objects are referred to as ‘symbols’. Symbols will be covered later on in this course.
When adding instances of objects (or symbols) to your movie, you can remove them without affecting the library ‘master object’. If you remove objects from the library however, you will remove ALL instances of it in your movie (to remove a library object, simply right-click on it in the library and select remove).