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Hour 12. Animating Using Movie Clip and ... > Task: Compare a Graphic Symbol to a ...

Task: Compare a Graphic Symbol to a Movie Clip Symbol

In a new file, select Insert, New Symbol (or press Alt+F8), name it Numbers, select Movie Clip for the behavior, and then click OK. (Notice that this takes you inside the master version of Numbers.)

In frame 1 of Numbers, use the Text tool and type 1 near the center of the screen. Insert a keyframe in frame 2 and change the onscreen number to 2. Continue inserting keyframes and changing the contents to match the frame number all the way to frame 10.

Get back to the main scene (make sure you're not still in Numbers) and drag an instance of Numbers onto the stage from the Library. Select Control, Test Movie (Ctrl+Enter)— remember, Test Movie is the only way to see Movie Clip animation. All 10 numbers appear in sequence, even though we used only 1 frame of the main Timeline.

Back in the scene, insert a frame (not a keyframe) in frame 5 (click frame 5 and then select Insert, Frame or press F5), which really just extends the life of this Timeline. Test Movie again and you should see no change.

Drag another instance of the Numbers Movie Clip onto the stage. For just this instance, change the behavior to Graphic by accessing the Properties panel while the instance onstage is selected. With the instance still selected, make sure the Options drop-down is set to Loop. Now test the movie again.

If it's playing too fast, try a lower framerate. The result is that only frames 1 through 5 of the Graphic instance are displayed while the Movie Clip continues to run. Back in the Timeline, try scrubbing back and forth in the main scene. Although the Graphic symbol shows only the first 5 frames (it has only 5 frames to live), it also gives you a good preview while scrubbing.

One last thing to try while you're testing the movie is to select Control, Stop. That stops the red current frame marker from advancing, but notice that the Movie Clip keeps right on playing. The Graphic is locked to the Timeline into which it's placed, while the Movie Clip plays independently.

There are a few additional points to notice. First, Movie Clips always loop. (There's no “Play Once” option.) In Hour 14 we'll learn how to create an ActionScript that says “Stop at the last frame.” But because of this, Movie Clips are sometimes extra work. Also, it may seem like a drag that only Graphic symbols are previewed when you scrub, but there's good reason for this. Graphics are previewed because they're locked to the Timeline, and therefore Flash knows exactly how they'll play. Movie Clips play at their own rate (and can be started or stopped any time through scripting). Therefore, Flash has no idea exactly how they'll play and can't give you a preview. If nothing else, just remember to always Test Movie if you want to see what the user will see.



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