Flash CS5 Frames and Keyframes - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

The Timeline, located below the stage in Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5, is where your animation is created. Be sure to take a detailed look at the components that make the Timeline tick: frames, keyframes, and the playhead.

The Timeline is composed of a series of consecutive frames, each of which represents a point in time (much like a historical timeline). When Flash Player plays your movie, the playhead moves from left to right across the Timeline. The playhead is represented by a red, vertical line in the Timeline window. The numbers above the Timeline represent specific frame numbers.


Think of historical milestones represented at specific points on a timeline with prominent markers. On a Flash timeline, significant events (such as the beginning and end of an animation sequence) are represented as keyframes.

Every time you want to place a graphic, an animation, or a sound, first create a keyframe at the specific point on the Timeline where you want it to occur. When you create a new document, a single keyframe is automatically created on Frame 1. Keyframes look like standard frames, except with a hollow or black circle inside.

Add more keyframes as necessary to create animations or have graphics appear and disappear at specific points along the Timeline. Each layer can have its own keyframes.