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Controlling the timeline of an instance

From: ActionScript 3.0 in Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training

Video: Controlling the timeline of an instance

Controlling the playback of an animation is an important skill to have, and it goes without saying that it's sometimes necessary to control the Timelines of movie clips from within other objects. Let's take a look at the animation I have here. I'll test the movie, and you'll see the bear walks in, starts eating food out of the basket. This is an information video about how you shouldn't feed bears and how do put your food up on a rope in a tree to keep it away from a bear.

Controlling the timeline of an instance

Controlling the playback of an animation is an important skill to have, and it goes without saying that it's sometimes necessary to control the Timelines of movie clips from within other objects. Let's take a look at the animation I have here. I'll test the movie, and you'll see the bear walks in, starts eating food out of the basket. This is an information video about how you shouldn't feed bears and how do put your food up on a rope in a tree to keep it away from a bear.

So, aside from looking a little bit sloppy, this animation could be a lot better. For example, we could change the camera angles and have the animation cropped, focusing on the most important parts. So this animation is a movie clip, and I have different keyframes in the Timeline that are scaled and move the movie clip to focus on key parts of the animation. If you don't have access to the exercise files, just create any animation inside of a movie clip and then set different keyframes upon the main Timeline with different views of that movie clip.

So what we are going to do is go inside of the movie clip and communicate back to the main Timeline, and give it cues as to when it should change scenes. So, let's go to frame 1 and double-click the movie clip. So here you can see the animation. Again, if you don't have exercise files, just create any simple animation. So, when the animation starts, we want it to have the normal view, in other words the full, panned-out view.

So, the bear walks in, and then the bear starts munching on some food. I've actually already created a keyframe in the actions layer here. So we'll put a command to go to the appropriate frame on the main Timeline. The appropriate frame, if we go to Scene 1, is going to be frame 20; that's this frame right here. You can see where the keyframe is. So, let's go back into the animation. So I'll go up to frame one on the main Timeline and double-click the movie clip.

Then I'll scroll to frame 103, click on the first keyframe of the actions layer, and open up the Actions panel. So, we want to send a command to the parent. I want to use gotoAndStop so the playhead on the main Timeline isn't skipping around in different views on its own. I want to control all of that from within this movie clip. So gotoAndStop at frame 20. The problem is the parent property, if you remember, gives us a display object container, which doesn't have a property called gotoAndStop.

So we are going to Flash to treat the parent as a movie clip. So wrap the word in a parenthesis. Before the parenthesis, type MovieClip, capital M, capital C all one word. So this code tells Flash to treat the parent as a movie clip, which it is, and to gotoAndStop at frame 20. So let's the movie and see this in action. So, when the bear gets to the basket, the angle should change. There we have it! So now all there is left to do is update each one of the different scenes appropriately.

So, let's go back to the main Timeline. So we have a view of just the basket at frame 41, and then it pans out a little bit at frame 71. So, let's go to frame 1, go back inside the movie clip, and continue on, previewing the animation. So, the bear is eating out of the basket. Then it shows the basket by itself. So, this is a good place to show the close-up view of the basket.

Let's select that keyframe of the actions layer, on frame 196, open up the Actions panel, and we'll type the same code. Since we know where we are going from the beginning, I'll type MovieClip to start out with, capital M, capital C, some parentheses, put parent inside of the parentheses to treat the parent as a MovieClip .gotoAndStop. Then we'll pass in the frame, that's going to be 41. So, you can test the movie again. The bear goes to the basket.

There is a close shot and then the shot of just the basket by itself, and then when the basket goes up, we want to zoom out all the way. So, let's scroll forward to frame 243. That's where the animation starts of the basket going up, and in that keyframe of the actions layer, we'll do the same thing: MovieClip(parent), after the parenthesis .gotoAndStop, pass in frame 1. That will give us the original shot from the beginning.

I am just going to select this line and copy it now, and we'll apply it one more time. Close the Actions panel and go forward, and the last part of the animation is the bear reaching for the basket. So select that keyframe of the actions layer, which is on the frame 329, and open up the Actions panel, paste the code that you copied - it's Ctrl+V or Command+V to paste - and then change the frame number to 71.

Test the movie, and you can preview the entire animation. So once the bear gets to the basket, you have a close-up shot, then a close-up shot showing the basket by itself, then the basket being pulled up into the tree, and the bear trying to reach the basket, but he can't. So with dot syntax and some simple built-in properties and methods, it's easy to control Timelines of movie clips, even if they are nested within other objects.

Using the typecasting technique by wrapping the parent code inside of a movie clip, you won't have any errors either.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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  1. 3m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 17s
    3. Using the function keys
      42s
  2. 23m 38s
    1. Adjusting preferences for ActionScript fonts, colors, and formatting
      3m 25s
    2. Changing Flash Player and ActionScript versions in the Publish settings
      1m 35s
    3. Reading and solving errors through the Compiler Errors window
      2m 49s
    4. Using the Actions panel buttons to add and remove comments
      2m 33s
    5. Using the Actions panel to format code
      1m 49s
    6. Using the Actions panel Toolbox
      2m 4s
    7. Seldom-used but helpful functions of the Actions panel
      3m 14s
    8. Understanding code hinting
      2m 3s
    9. Reviewing the Code Snippets panel
      3m 7s
    10. Using help
      59s
  3. 45m 50s
    1. Understanding how ActionScript 3.0 code is processed in the Flash Player
      3m 22s
    2. Understanding variables
      4m 56s
    3. Understanding functions
      9m 1s
    4. Understanding events and event listeners
      5m 47s
    5. Working with conditional statements
      9m 49s
    6. Creating arrays and vectors
      6m 50s
    7. Using the For command to create a loop
      6m 5s
  4. 49m 9s
    1. Reviewing the display list
      3m 0s
    2. Understanding instances referenced through ActionScript
      2m 27s
    3. Using dot syntax to modify properties in an instance
      3m 25s
    4. Placing objects at the center of the stage
      4m 2s
    5. Placing objects at the edges of the stage
      5m 53s
    6. Using the methods of an instance
      3m 44s
    7. Accessing the parents, children, and grandchildren of objects
      5m 50s
    8. Creating instances from Library movie clips using ActionScript
      4m 23s
    9. Adding objects to the stage and changing parents with the addChild method
      5m 45s
    10. Removing objects from the stage with the removeChild method
      4m 17s
    11. Using the numChildren property to loop through a container's child objects
      3m 17s
    12. Using the getChildByName method
      3m 6s
  5. 56m 20s
    1. Understanding timelines
      4m 15s
    2. Using common timeline navigation methods
      5m 34s
    3. Using the currentFrame and totalFrames properties
      8m 2s
    4. Controlling the timeline of an instance
      6m 41s
    5. Detecting and navigating frame labels with ActionScript
      7m 57s
    6. Solving problems when timelines and ActionScript animation collide
      4m 16s
    7. Condensing a multi-frame timeline into one frame
      8m 33s
    8. Creating a simple slide presentation app in the timeline
      7m 51s
    9. Using one event handler with multiple buttons
      3m 11s
  6. 36m 5s
    1. Creating a class using Flash templates
      4m 43s
    2. Setting a document class
      6m 51s
    3. Preparing a class to be connected to a symbol
      4m 31s
    4. Using the Symbol Properties menu to connect a symbol to a class
      4m 55s
    5. Resolving problems with instances in a linked class
      7m 53s
    6. Understanding packages
      3m 17s
    7. Working with ActionScript source paths
      3m 55s
  7. 44m 32s
    1. Viewing the finished game
      51s
    2. Viewing the FLA file
      2m 9s
    3. Creating the DragDrop and Map classes
      2m 51s
    4. Linking the draggable class to Library symbols
      2m 47s
    5. Adding drag-and-drop functionality
      3m 38s
    6. Saving and resetting an object's position
      3m 33s
    7. Giving a target drop object to the draggable objects
      13m 16s
    8. Showing a Win screen
      7m 3s
    9. Resetting the game
      8m 24s
  8. 29m 6s
    1. Loading bitmap images from the Library
      4m 6s
    2. Loading bitmap images from external files
      5m 22s
    3. Adding mouse functionality to bitmap images
      3m 31s
    4. Using a loop to load multiple images
      6m 14s
    5. Creating a simple slideshow
      8m 37s
    6. Using Flash Player 10 color management
      1m 16s
  9. 27m 13s
    1. Loading an external SWF
      4m 14s
    2. Running ActionScript code in an external SWF from its parent
      5m 30s
    3. Running parent code in a child SWF
      5m 7s
    4. Creating a timeline-based preloader to load an external SWF file
      5m 3s
    5. Displaying playback progress of a loaded SWF file
      7m 19s
  10. 40m 10s
    1. Creating plain text files
      2m 8s
    2. Loading text from an external text file
      6m 26s
    3. Loading multiple text files
      6m 43s
    4. Rendering simple HTML in a text field
      5m 51s
    5. Creating a scroll bar for a text field
      5m 29s
    6. Scrolling a text field
      4m 59s
    7. Scrolling movie clips and other objects using masks
      5m 42s
    8. Modifying TLF text properties through ActionScript
      2m 52s
  11. 23m 40s
    1. Reviewing XML and E4X syntax
      3m 29s
    2. Loading an XML file
      3m 26s
    3. Using dot syntax to access XML data
      4m 2s
    4. Using XML data to populate a DataGrid component
      7m 4s
    5. Using XML data to load image files
      5m 39s
  12. 23m 33s
    1. Loading audio from the Library
      1m 41s
    2. Loading audio from external files
      3m 41s
    3. Playing, pausing, and stopping sounds
      5m 39s
    4. Muting all audio with the SoundMixer.stopAll method
      1m 28s
    5. Tracking load progress
      2m 38s
    6. Displaying sound position
      5m 5s
    7. Adjusting volume
      3m 21s
  13. 19m 54s
    1. Touring the FLA file
      5m 57s
    2. Controlling video playing and pausing with ActionScript
      1m 56s
    3. Working with ActionScript cue points to add closed captioning
      3m 35s
    4. Displaying video playback position
      3m 44s
    5. Adjusting video volume
      4m 42s
  14. 5m 32s
    1. Using new code snippets for AIR and mobile
      1m 13s
    2. Viewing the new code snippets HUD
      1m 17s
    3. Loading assets with the new ProLoader class
      1m 8s
    4. Understanding Flash Player premium features
      1m 54s
  15. 16s
    1. Goodbye
      16s

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