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Editing symbols

From: Introduction to Flash Animation

Video: Editing symbols

In this movie, we're going to explore editing symbols, and we'll start from scratch. So, let's go to our File menu and choose New, click OK on action script three. And we'll import an Illustrator file that I drew. So, we're going to choose from the File menu, Import. Now, Import to Stage will not create a symbol out of the artwork that I'm pulling in, but Import to Library creates a symbol automatically. Once I've chosen Import to Library, I'll double-click to bring in my blue cat.

Editing symbols

In this movie, we're going to explore editing symbols, and we'll start from scratch. So, let's go to our File menu and choose New, click OK on action script three. And we'll import an Illustrator file that I drew. So, we're going to choose from the File menu, Import. Now, Import to Stage will not create a symbol out of the artwork that I'm pulling in, but Import to Library creates a symbol automatically. Once I've chosen Import to Library, I'll double-click to bring in my blue cat.

You'll notice that it shows all Illustrator layers and sublayers. This is just a cat with two eyes, so all I need is a single Flash layer. However, a lot of artists will create the steps in an animation, for example, the movement of maybe legs walking, as separate Illustrator layers. Bring them all into Flash, and that way they can accomplish the movement by using the different layers that originated in Illustrator. We're not doing that yet. So, I'm going to click OK. And you may say, well, where did it go? (LAUGH) Well, our stage is still empty and it went to the Library panel. That's where all of our symbols are stored.

Before I move on too far, it's a good habit to save. So, let me go ahead and Save this to my hard drive, to my Practice folder, and I'll call this Symbol Edit. And I always add my initials so I know that I created it, it wasn't one of the class files. Once my file is saved, now I want to put an instance of the symbol on the stage. I'll drag my blue cat over from the Library.

You'll notice that it chose, automatically, the simplest type of symbol, which is Graphic. We would need to create a button using Modify > Convert to Symbol, or Movie Clip if we want something more complex. Now, editing symbols. You can change the symbol type to a button or a movie clip, for example. However, graphic is all we need for what we're going to accomplish in this exercise. I'm going to drag a few more instances of the cat onto the stage.

That way you can see when I edit one symbol. These are just aliases, or references to the original, so all three of them will be modified. There are several different ways to edit a symbol. I could select the symbol, right-click or Ctrl click and choose Edit. I could double-click, which is my favorite way, on the symbol on the stage, or I can double-click on the symbol icon in the Library panel. There's even another one, but we'll just stick with that for now. So, what I did was double-clicked on any one of the instances of the symbol on the stage.

And we are now in Symbol Editing mode. You'll notice there's scene one and we're working on the placed bluecat.ai which is technically part of this document now. It is embedded. You don't need that original Illustrator file any longer. It doesn't reference the Illustrator file any longer. It's as if you drew it in Flash. Something I want to illustrate is this cat has several pieces. I'm going to use a power user shortcut, Cmd+Space Bar on the Mac, or Ctrl+ Space Bar on the PC. Temporarily, changes me to the Magnifying Glass tool so I don't have to click the Zoom tool, click and drag to zoom in, and then go back to my Selection tool. A single click just goes to a default zoom level. And if I want to zoom out, I could use all three in a row, on the Mac, Cmd+ Options+Space Bar, or on the PC, Ctrl+ Alt+Space Bar. The reason this is such a beautiful shortcut is because it works in most Adobe programs, Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash. It's just an excellent one to know.

I'm looking at the symbol of the cat. And if I double-click again, I've actually got the cat shape itself. You may not have noticed this because it happened quickly, but the eyes vanished. They're still there, it just brought the background blue color of the cat forward. So, you'll notice we have kind of bread crumbs for where we've traveled in our symbol editing. I'm on this drawing object, which is the shape that I drew in Illustrator. If I want to go back and see the whole symbol, I can click on bluecat .ai, but I'll double-click because I want to change the cat's background color.

Now, I'm on the shape of the cat. And then, a single click selects the object. I'll travel over to my Swatches panel and I'll make the cat red. And as soon as I do that, you'll notice all three instances of the symbol turned red. In the other two, I can still see the eyes. But you'll notice we're not actually editing those. However, they stay there nicely, ghosted back a little bit, so you can see how your overall stage looks. To go back and make an edit to the eyes, I'll travel back to the main symbol. And I'll zoom in a little more with Cmd+ Space Bar or Ctrl+Space Bar on the PC. And I'll select the eye and you'll notice this bound in box. The eye was actually two pieces grouped in Illustrator. So, I'll double-click to get inside and you'll see I'm on a group. Double-click again, and now I've got to that background black color. Click, and now I'll change it to a yellow.

Now, that only changed it for one eye. But let's go all the way back out to the blue cat, select the other eye. Double-click, there's the group, double-click again, there's the background black color. And I'll choose the same yellow. I could hit the Back button to go back one step at a time, or I can just hit Scene One to go all the way back to my main movie. So, I'm going to use Cmd+0 or Ctrl+0, a shortcut I assigned to fit in window, to see all the edits of my symbols.

So that is a brief tour of how you get in and out of the Symbol Editing mode, and how you might alter the color, or the position, or a shape of a symbol object. Once you double-click, you're in Symbol Editing mode, and you can keep double-clicking to get to the pieces. You can move the pieces, and it affects everything. I'm going to Undo that. To exit all the way back out, I'll just click back on Scene One. So, give this a try with our exercise files, or even with shapes that you've drawn yourself that you've turned into symbols.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Introduction to Flash Animation
Introduction to Flash Animation

32 video lessons · 7147 viewers

Kelly McCathran
Author

 
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  1. 1m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 38s
  2. 19m 35s
    1. Introduction to Flash CS5 and the Flash Player
      4m 28s
    2. FLA, SWF, and other file types
      5m 43s
    3. Flash feature comparison
      3m 58s
    4. Raster vs. vector
      5m 26s
  3. 27m 56s
    1. Overview of the interface
      7m 42s
    2. Panel modes and workspaces
      6m 54s
    3. Setting preferences
      4m 5s
    4. Choosing the proper document size
      9m 15s
  4. 28m 55s
    1. Merge Drawing mode vs. Object Drawing mode
      6m 43s
    2. Using primitive objects
      6m 37s
    3. Other shape tools
      6m 49s
    4. Selecting, modifying, and transforming objects
      8m 46s
  5. 17m 30s
    1. Your first animation
      6m 4s
    2. That's how the ball bounces
      6m 50s
    3. Working with multiple shape tweens
      4m 36s
  6. 34m 50s
    1. Creating and working with symbols
      8m 16s
    2. Editing symbols
      6m 38s
    3. The anatomy of a button
      4m 0s
    4. Building a button from scratch
      7m 18s
    5. The Library panel
      8m 38s
  7. 22m 42s
    1. The Timeline: Part one
      7m 48s
    2. The Timeline: Part two
      7m 7s
    3. The Timeline: Part three
      7m 47s
  8. 21m 32s
    1. Introduction to the Motion Editor
      6m 54s
    2. Using filters and color effects
      7m 29s
    3. Applying easing with the Motion Editor
      7m 9s
  9. 14m 56s
    1. Options for testing your movie
      3m 57s
    2. Full overview of Publish Settings and export options
      10m 59s
  10. 13m 31s
    1. Using sound in Flash movies
      5m 53s
    2. Importing sound into Flash movies
      4m 40s
    3. Adding sounds to a button
      2m 58s

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