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Lesson 9. Creating a Flash Movie > Converting Existing Graphics into Symbols

Converting Existing Graphics into Symbols

As mentioned earlier, the Flash Library holds imported assets, such as the bitmaps you just imported, and symbols. Symbols are just reusable graphics with special built-in capabilities. In this task, you'll convert a couple graphics on the stage to a symbol, to take advantage of the symbol's special capabilities when you begin scripting the movie in the next lesson.

Click Frame 47 of the button layer. Choose Edit > Deselect All. Holding down the Shift key, click to select each of the two triangle shapes that make up the arrow button.

Though the shapes might look like a button, right now, as far as Flash is concerned, they are just a pair of vector shapes.

Choose Modify > Ungroup.

Flash automatically groups all vector graphics imported from Freehand. In the next lesson, you need to edit the triangles, and it will be easier if they are not grouped. Notice that their appearance changes after you choose this option: Rather than being surrounded by a blue bounding box, they have a cross-hatch pattern on them, indicating they are selected.

Choose Modify > Convert to Symbol. In the Convert to Symbol dialog, name the button next, and choose Button as its Behavior. Click OK.

Each symbol must have a unique name, which is how the symbol is tracked in the Library. In addition, all symbols must be one of three types, called Behaviors: movie clip, button, or graphic.

If you look in the Library now, you'll see a button called “next.”

Back on the stage, the two triangles are once again surrounded by a blue bounding box, this time indicating that the two triangles are now actually an instance of a symbol, as opposed to simple vector art on the stage.

Click Frame 67 of the button layer.

The two blue bounding boxes surrounding each of the two triangles indicates that once again, these are just a pair of vector graphics, and not a button at all. You already have a button for these in the Library; what's needed here is a new instance of that button.

Choose Edit > Deselect All. Hold down the Shift key and select each of the two triangles, and press Delete.

Don't delete the word Restart!

You don't need these triangles any more, because you are about to replace them with a button symbol instance.

With the Library open (Window > Library), press and drag an instance of the next button out of the Library, and release it on the stage. Use the Arrow tool to position it next to the word Restart.

Creating an instance is a matter of dragging and dropping from the Library. When you complete this step, the movie has two instances of the next button, one in the second screen and one in the third. Though each has a different label (one says, Next and the other says, Restart), both are linked to the parent symbol. Thus, if you update the parent symbol—and you will in the next lesson—you'll update both instances at the same time.

Save the file.

You have reached the end of the lesson. You might be surprised that you have spent an hour and a half or so in Flash, and still haven't created any animation or interactivity. The ability to create animation or interactivity is dependent on placing the elements in an appropriate architecture: the timeline, layers, keyframes, the Library, and so on. You've done all that in this lesson, and you are finally ready to turn to the fun parts of Flash: animation and interactivity.



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