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Chapter 1. Flash Basics > Timeline Hierarchy

Timeline Hierarchy

A key concept that is critical to understanding Flash is nested timelines. Any time you select a shape and Insert, Convert to Symbol (F8), the shape is placed in the Library and you’re left with an instance of the symbol on the Stage. You also can select an instance of a symbol and Insert, Convert to Symbol, which nests an instance of the selected symbol inside a new symbol. The main thing to remember is that F8 takes whatever is selected and places it in the Library as a new symbol (even if you have a symbol instance selected). Such nesting of symbols has implications for both programming and animation structure.

Implications for Animation and Filesize

To see how nesting symbols applies to animation, consider how to create a symbol of a car containing moving wheels. First, draw a wheel and convert it to a Movie Clip symbol called “Wheel.” To create a rotating wheel symbol (that is, a Movie Clip containing an animation), you can convert an instance of the Wheel symbol to another Movie Clip called “Rotating Wheel.” Then edit the contents of the Rotating Wheel by making a simple Motion tween that rotates the Wheel symbol. Because only symbol instances can be used in a Motion tween, the extra step of placing the Wheel symbol inside the Rotating Wheel symbol is necessary. Finally, use two instances of the Rotating Wheel clip inside a third clip, “Car.” Then you can animate the car across the main timeline.


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