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Hour 11. Using Layers in Your Animation > Task: Experiment with Hiding and Outl...

Task: Experiment with Hiding and Outlining Layers

Open the file created in the previous task and scrub a little to recall how it plays.

How do you know which circle is in which layer? If they intersect the same area, you'll see one in front of the other. Move the current frame marker to frame 1. By just looking, you can't really tell which one is which. You could read the layer name that you wrote—but Fast and Slow aren't very clear and, besides, you could have made a mistake. Because the layers contain instances of the same symbol, it's even more difficult to tell. To figure it out, we can temporarily change the Show/Hide option for one layer at a time. Try clicking the eye at the top of the Timeline. Notice that this hides every layer. Click the eye again, and they'll all be shown again. To hide just one layer, click the dot under the eye in the layer of your choice. Click the dot in the Fast layer. Not only do you see a red X over the dot (when it's hidden), but everything onstage from that layer is hidden (just temporarily). By process of elimination, we can figure out which layer is which by making one invisible.

Make all the layers visible again, and we can determine which Circle is which another way, using outlines. Click the square button on the top of the Timeline (see Figure 11.4) to Show All Layers as Outlines. This should make the contents onstage appear in outline form. Hopefully, they appear in different colors so that you can tell them apart.

Figure 11.4. The contents of layers can be viewed in outline form.

If both layers are showing up in the same color, just double-click the Show Layer as Outlines box for one layer. If you click the button once, it toggles between the Outline and Normal views. When you double-click, you're taken to the Layer Properties dialog box, similar to that shown in Figure 11.5. Alternatively, you can single-click a layer (to make it active) and then select Modify, Layer. We'll cover this dialog box more later, but for now, select a different color from the Outline Color swatch and then click OK. The outlines in that layer should have a different color now.

Figure 11.5. All layer settings are shown in the Layer Properties dialog box (accessible from Modify, Layer or by double-clicking the Page Curl icon or the Show Outlines icon).

Managing Layers

Flash MX added a new layer management feature called layer folders. On the surface it's a pretty straightforward feature. You can nest layers inside of folders. This way, if you have 100 layers they don't need to fill 100 rows. You can create layer folders by clicking the button (near the Insert Layer button) or selecting Insert, Layer Folder. Then you can click and drag layers inside of folders. You can even drag folders inside of folders.



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