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Snapping to the Grid

In this task, you will add several elements to the stage at one time. Then you'll use the grid to align these elements quickly and easily.

Drag these cast members to frame 15 in the score, starting in channel 5.

14: PrivationDimChannel 5
12: LineamentDimChannel 6
16: ReserveDimChannel 7
8: BiographyDimChannel 8
6: QuestionDimChannel 9
10: EXITDimChannel 10

These cast members represent the selections users will be able to make from the main menu when they view the presentation. They will appear on the right side of the stage after you position them in the following steps. For now, they are all centered on the stage, and the Sprite Overlay panel you see contains properties that belong to the last sprite you placed in the score.

Figure .

Notice that you're leaving two channels empty in the score. There are two reasons for this. First, you'll be filling in one of the empty channels with another sprite in the next task. Second, leaving space in the score like this makes the score easier to read. The space helps you visually group the types of sprites that will be on the stage. The sprites currently in channels 1 and 2 make up the overall background of the main menu, while the sprites in channels 5 through 10 make up the menu selections.

In the Score window, you can now begin to see the advantage of having set your cast and sprite preferences earlier. The 13-frame duration is long enough to let you read the cast member number and name in the score, and you did not have to devote additional time to adjusting the length of the sprites.

Figure .

In the score, select the sprite in channel 5 and click the Sprite Properties icon in the Sprite Overlay. Then set the sprite's X location to 480 and Y location to 60.

After you select the sprite in the score, the Sprite Overlay you see on the stage identifies the sprite you selected. Clicking the Sprite Properties icon in the Sprite Overlay panel then opens the Property Inspector for the selected sprite.

Figure .

Setting the left and top location of a sprite is easy to do when, as in this project, you know the position in pixels where the sprite must appear. Depending on the project, you may be able to drag a sprite to a location on the stage that is simply pleasing to the eye. You would probably prefer that method, but here you have selected a sprite that is below all the sprites in channels 6 through 10, and clicking the center of the stage would likely select one of the other sprites. When you're working with a sprite in a lower-numbered channel that is at the same screen location as other sprites, the best way to isolate the sprite is to use the Sprite Overlay panel to make changes to the sprite properties.

Figure .

This sprite now appears in the location where it will appear as a menu option on this screen, which is the main menu for the multimedia art gallery. The other sprites you dragged to the score in step 1 will appear in a column below this sprite at the right of the stage. The sprites in channels 5, 6, and 7 will be spaced at 120-pixel intervals from each other, and the remaining sprites will be spaced at 25-pixel intervals from the sprites above them. A quick way to place the sprites precisely is to use the grid.

Choose View > Grids and Guides > Settings.

The Property Inspector appears with the tab set to show settings for grids (the lower half) and for guides (the upper half). Grids and guides are similar in that they both allow you to position reference lines across the stage and enable sprites to snap into position based on the lines. Grids set up a grid of lines over the entire stage. Guides allow you to define each horizontal and vertical guide line individually.

Figure .

On the Guides and Grid tab, select the Visible and Snap to Grid check boxes. Set the grid spacing to a width of 50 and a height of 25.

You should now see on the stage a grid of lines that are 50 pixels wide by 25 pixels high.

Figure .

Sprites actually don't just automatically snap to a grid; there is a little trick to it. The trick also lets you snap different areas of the sprite to the grid. If you click and hold down the mouse on a sprite (while Snap-To is in effect), a cross will appear. If you place the mouse near the upper-left corner, the cross will be in that corner; if you place the mouse near the center, the mouse will be in the center; and so on. The cross determines which part of the sprite snaps to the grid. Just move the cross near a grid, and the sprite will slip to the grid. For a menu like the one you are creating, you will probably want to use the upper-left corner of the sprite for alignment.

Figure .

Using the following illustration as your guide, click each sprite that remains at the center of the stage and drag it to the right side of the stage.

Because grid snapping is turned on, the graphics jump to the grid lines, which makes aligning them much easier. The Sprite Overlay panels for each sprite tell you which cast member relates to the selected sprite so you can identify which sprite you are moving. This is helpful since the sprites contain blurred text and are difficult to identify otherwise.

Figure .

Turn off the grid and grid snapping.

To do this, select the Guides and Grid tab in the Property Inspector and uncheck the Visible and Snap to Grid check boxes.

Next you'll change the end frames of the sprites that make up the main menu.



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