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Managing Your Library

The library is a container where Flash stores and organizes symbols, bitmap graphics, sound clips, video clips, and fonts. Flash makes files easy to identify because it uses a different icon for each type of file. The nice thing about your library is that it is attached to the .FLA file that you are working with. This means that the files in your library actually travel with the .FLA file.

When your library is full of symbols, it may look something like this. You can create folders to help you organize symbols in a project which can be very helpful when working with many symbols.

To Access Your Library

1. Open snowflake.fla

2. Choose Window > Library > OR Press Control + L
This will bring up the Library Panel seen below.

Your Library should look like this:

3. Choose the snowflake symbol and drag it to your stage area

Notice that it places an instance of the symbol on your main timeline in frame 1 on layer 1.

4. Rename the layer as snowflake1

5. Create 5 more layers and place an instance of the snowflake on each layer

Your Flash document should appear as seen below:

 

Note - Staggering these snowflakes above the stage is important as we will be using this proper placement for animation in the next lesson.

 

Importing To The Library

In the previous example you created a drawing inside of a symbol. Although you will use this often, there will be times when you have to use files that were created outside of Flash. This may include audio files, bitmap images from the internet, or even graphics created in other drawing programs (i.e. illustrator or photoshop). This feature is much appreciated by artists as Flash does not have the easiest drawing tools to use.

To Import Files

Start by right-clicking and save the graphic below to your Assignment 7 Folder as snowman.jpg

6. Choose File > Import > Import to Library

7. Choose the file "snowman.jpg" and choose Open

This file should appear in your library as a bitmap as seen below.

***Note*** Bitmap images you import into Flash will act as bitmaps until they are converted to symbols. This means that they will be just like a picture and not a drawn object. If your graphic has a transparent background, Flash will support the transparency.

8. Create a new layer called snowman

9. Create a new keyframe in frame 41 on the snowman layer.

10. Drag the "snowman.jpg" file onto your stage while frame 41 is selected.

This file will still be a bitmap.

11. Using the Arrow Tool, select the graphic on the stage area

12. Choose Modify > Convert to Symbol

13. Name the new symbol snowman

Note - So long as you respect the naming rules (listed above) flash will allow this. You can have files in your library with the same name, so long as they are different file types. I.E. snowman symbol is different than snowman.jpg

14. The snowman on your timeline is now a symbol.

Now this symbol can be inserted on your main timeline over and over again (multiple instances) throughout your animation and only be loaded once. This isn't the only nice thing about working with symbols. Symbols make it possible to tween, which is where the true power of animation lies.

Save this flash animation as snowflake.fla and move on to the next lesson.