Define: Layer

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Layers

Layers are part of the Flash Timeline. Layers enable you to By default the Timeline has to have at least one Layer:


The default Layer: Layer 1


A Flash file with many Layers and Layer Folders.


Layer Names
You can change the Name of a Layer by double clicking the existing Layer Name:


a Layer renamed to: My Layer.

Important Note: Layer names have no significance in Actionscript.


Inserting Layers

In the Timeline use the Insert Layer button to add additional Layers:

Objects in higher Layers cover objects in Lower Layers:


Objects in top Layers cover those underneath.


Layer Folders

A Layer Folder is just like any other computer folder. It is a place to store things. In this case it stores Layers. This is done to help organise your work and has no effect to the final Flash Movie. To create a Layer Folder go to the Timeline and click on the Insert Layer Folder button:

You can then drag existing Layers into the Folder and open and close the Folder.


A Closed Folder


An Open Folder


Layer Visibility

You can switch off a Layers visibility. This is an editing effect only as the Layer will still be visible in the published Movie. To switch the visibility on and off go to the Timeline and click the dot just next to the Layer Name and just under the eye:


Turning Visibility On and Off.

Note: You cannot work in a Layer that has it's visibility off:


Locked Layers

It is possible to lock a Layer so that you do not edit the Layer by mistake. To lock a Layer go to the Timeline and the click the dot just next to the Layer Name and just under the Lock:


Locking a Layer.


Layer Outlines
Outlines is an edit mode that shows only the objects outlines (if you are not familiar with this it can be confusing). To switch Outline mode on and off go to the Timeline and the click the dot just next to the Layer Name and just under the Outline Icon:


Turning Outlines on and off. The green is the Outline Mode.

Note: Outline Mode is an edit effect and has no impact on the final published Movie.


Special Layers
There are several types of ways that a Layer can be used to create effects:

Guide Layers
Guide Layers do not publish with the final Flash Movie so you can place objects in a Guide Layer and they have no impact on the Final Movie. To create a Guide Layer right click (Mac: Ctrl click) on the Layer name and select Guide:


Adding a Guide Layer.


A Guide Layer has a special Blue Hammer Symbol icon:


Motion Guide Layers
A Motion Guide layer is similar to a Motion Tween but the guide layer gives you more flexibility in that the animation will follow the a line drawn in the Guide Layer. The guide is not visible in the final Movie:


A Motion Guide Layer always has a red and blue symbol:


Example of spiraling Tween which uses a Guide Layer.

Cross Ref: See the tutorial: Tweening with Motion Guides


Mask Layer
A Mask Layer enables you to hide part of a Layer so that you can see though to the Layer below. It is a bit like poking a hole in a piece of paper to revel the desk below.


A Masked layer and the under Layer to see through to.


A Movie with multiple masks.

To create a Mask Layer right click on the Layer Name and select: Mask Layer

Cross Ref: See the tutorial: Animated Masks


Shape Tweens

A Shape Tweens is not a type of Layer but is placed in a Layer and enables you to animate an objects Shape from one Shape to another.


A Shape Tween layer has a green arrow.


Shape Tween Animation: Circle into a Square and visa versa.

Cross Ref: See the tutorial: Shape Tween


Motion Tween

A Motion Tweens is not a type of Layer but is placed in a Layer and is a form of animation that enables you move an object around and change it's properties.


A Motion Tween has an arrow with light blue background.


A Motion Tween Animation.

Cross Ref: See the tutorial: Motion Tweening

 

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