Now to get things going, I would like to start off by covering some of the Flash basics so we know what we are doing in the software. We can take a little tour around the interface and we will get started by opening up the file that I have in the lesson one folder. Now, it is called “Robot Lesson One” and you will notice that it is a .fla extension, and that is going to be the master file format for the files that we will use in Flash. Our FLA file will contain everything that we have worked on. All of our controls for our animation, all of our elements that we have imported into the program into the library and of course, all the elements that we have on the stage.
Now, you might be used to the .swf extension. That is going to be our export format if we are finished creating our movie files and that is what you will be publishing out on the web. Now, when you start up any new document in Flash, the first thing that you are going to see is the stage which is the white area that we have here in the middle. That will be the same whether you are using the start screen or whether you are using the file and the new pull down up to the top. Now, I have already started this file up and included one graphic on the stage as you can see here. I have also set up some of the basic properties of our document and that is a good place to get started for your files as well. In this case, I have changed the default stage size to this size of 600X400 pixels and I have set the background color to white. Now, as we look around the workspace, there are two basic areas that I want to make sure that we have a good feel for and that is the tool section over here on the left hand side and the panels which are actually stretched around the right hand side and the upper and lower portion of the screen.
Now, everything in the interface is configurable to your liking so you can change settings. In fact, one of the settings that I may have changed from the default layout is that I am just going to click this little arrow up here at the top and reconfigure my tool pallet so that it fits on the screen that I am working on. It is also a good idea to go over the basic tools for manipulating your document. And the first tools that I want to take a look at are the zoom tool and the hand tool. The zoom tool, I am sure that you have used one of these before. You can use it to zoom in on your drawing. If you click on a specific area, it will zoom right in the area that you have selected. And if you hold down the alt or option keys, you could click to zoom out in the same manner. You can also click and drag to select an area and zoom that area to fill the screen as we have done here.
Now, we also get some feedback over on the right here as to the current stage size. Mine is showing 106%. And if you pull down this menu, you can choose a specific percentage to zoom in or you can also choose a show all which zooms to fit the graphics that you have on the screen and a fit in window which fits your stage into the current view of a window.
Now as I have mentioned, the white are is going to be referred to as our stage and that is going to represent your screen size for your finished movie. Any of the gray area outside of the white that we see here, we are going to refer to as the paste up board or you could even think of it as offstage.
Now, I am just going to zoom in on our robot head here a little bit and we will try out one other that is going to help us move around the workspace and that is the hand tool. So, if I just click on that, I can click with this tool and grab and move around the workspace. You can see that the entire stage is moving around with my selections right there. Now, these tools are going to be using a lot so I would like to also go over some nice keyboard shortcuts for these tools.
Now, for all the tools sets in the tool pallet, if I hover over the tools, you will notice that it shows the name of the tool but it also shows a couple of keys from the keyboard. These keys, you can directly use to switch your tool over. So, as we could see from the ho