What is a Flash CS5 Movie Clip? - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5’s powerful and versatile movie clip symbol type can include entire, independent Flash CS5 animations yet be placed and maintained in your movie just as easily as graphic symbols. The movie clip is one of three symbol types in Flash, and just like graphic symbols, they can be easily duplicated and maintained from a single master symbol in the library.

Movie clips are unique in that each one contains its own timeline that looks and works just like the main one. This timeline is completely self-contained, so animations in movie clips don’t depend on or rely on the length of an animation contained within the main Timeline. Movie clips can almost be thought of as movies within a movie.

Movie clips behave just like other symbols, so several instances of the same movie clip can be dragged to the main stage to easily duplicate animations. If you need to change an animation that appears several times throughout a movie, you need to modify only the original movie clip in the library that contains it.

Movie clips have all the same features as graphic symbols: You can easily drag multiple instances to the stage, and each instance can have its own scaling, tint, alpha, and rotation applied.

Because a movie clip can contain independent animations, it’s a useful way to break down complex animations into smaller, more manageable pieces. Trying to coordinate too many animations across the main Timeline may be not only quite difficult but also in some cases impossible, depending on what you’re trying to create.

Movie clips can also be nested inside other movie clips, giving you virtually unlimited levels of depth and complexity.

The frame rate, a global setting for your movie, sets the rate for all movie clips as well as for the main Timeline. To speed up or slow down individual movie clip animations, consider modifying the length of any included tweens before adjusting the overall frame rate.

In conjunction with Flash Player 10, movie clips provide 3D support, allowing you to rotate and position in the 3D realm the 2D artwork contained in movie clip symbols. In addition, all 3D properties can be animated, opening the door for stunning camera, rotation, and depth effects.

Flash CS5 includes the 3D Rotation and 3D Translation tools, which let you transform movie clip instances along the x, y, and z axes. You can animate 3D properties as part of a standard motion tween and modify them from the Motion Editor panel.