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Hour 11. Using Layers in Your Animation > Task: Use a Guide Layer to Define the...

Task: Use a Guide Layer to Define the Off-Limits Area

Suppose we're building a presentation that includes onscreen text and a graphic frame that provides borders. We would like to position the text onscreen without overlapping the borders. A shape in a Guide layer can serve to define the areas safe for text. Just follow these steps:

In a new file, first draw a filled box the size of the Stage. Select the shape, and use the Info panel to set the shape's top-left corner to coordinate 0,0. Then use the Pencil tool (with the Pencil Mode set to Smooth) to draw an enclosed irregular box within the box you just drew. Select the center shape with the Arrow tool and delete, as shown in Figure 11.6. Select the entire shape and convert to symbol (call it Frame Shape). Name this layer Registration. This will become our Guide layer.

Figure 11.6. This will become our Guide layer.

Select Insert, Layer and name the new layer Interface. On this layer, a copy of the Frame Shape will tween into place late in the Timeline (which will better demonstrate the need for Guide layers). First select the instance of Frame Shape on the Registration layer and copy. Then go to frame 25 of the Interface layer and select Insert, Keyframe (or press F6). Verify that the current layer is Interface (if not, click the layer name) and then Edit, Paste In Place (Ctrl+Shift+V) on frame 25.

Click frame 35 of the Interface layer and select Insert, Keyframe (or press F6). Now move the current frame marker to frame 25 and scale the instance of Frame Shape much larger so that you can't actually see the borders onscreen (as in Figure 11.7). Finally, set Motion Tween in the Properties panel when frame 25 is selected. (Scrub to see that the Frame Shape won't appear until frame 25, when it tweens from outside the Stage.)

Figure 11.7. The first place Frame Shape appears is in frame 25. Here we scale it larger than the Stage so it will appear to tween from outside.

Click in frame 35 of the Registration layer. Select Insert, Frame (or press F5) to make this layer last as long as the other layer. Now click the Layer Outline button for Registration (so that only this layer shows as an outline). Scrub from the beginning of the movie to the end. Notice that the outlined Registration layer gives a clear idea where the Frame Shape will eventually appear, so that we can avoid placing text in that area. However, if you select Control, Test Movie, you'll see that the Registration layer is visible the entire time. Until we change this layer to a Guide layer, it will export with the rest of the movie.

To make the Registration layer a Guide layer, just access the Layer Properties dialog by either double-clicking the Page Curl icon to the left of the layer name or (with the layer selected) selecting Modify, Layer from the menu. In the Layer Properties dialog box (shown in Figure 11.5 earlier), select the radio button for Guide, the check box for Lock, and the check box for Show Layer as Outlines; then click OK.

Insert a new layer (select Insert, Layer) and name this layer Text. Verify that all your layers are normal except Registration, which is a Guide. (If they're not, access each layer's properties individually and set them appropriately.)

In frame 1 of the Text layer, create a block of text with a moderately large font size, such as 40. Type as much text as you can, being careful not to exceed the borders shown in the outline in the Registration layer. (See Figure 11.8.)

Figure 11.8. Using the outlined shape in the Guide layer, we can place the text precisely so that it doesn't interfere with the borders.

Test the movie. You may want to turn off Loop from the Control menu while it's playing.



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