Flash Animation 10: Creating a New Scene

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Introduction to Scenes

Now that we've got buttons, we need to create options to go with those buttons. In order to do that we're going to make new scenes in Flash; a scene is like a clip of a movie, which can be treated as an entire single unit all on its own and arranged around other clips. If you have multiple scenes in a Flash movie without any stops at the end of them, then all of your scenes will play consecutively in the order they were created. You can rearrange that order, or insert a stop at the end of any scene, which will cause the scene to hold until a trigger (like a button click) directs it to go to and play another scene or perform another action. You can also use ActionScripting to control the order that scenes are played in, and how often.

For this lesson we won't be doing any ActionScripting; we're just going to add new scenes to our animation, one for each option that we created buttons for.

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Creating a New Scene

If you look above your main editing stage, you'll see an icon that says "Scene 1", denoting that that's the scene we're in right now. To create a new scene, you'll go to the main menu and click Insert->Scene.

You'll instantly be placed on a blank canvas (mine's black because that's my document color) labeled "Scene 2"; it will look like Scene 1 has completely vanished, but don't panic. If you look to the far right of the bar above the stage but below the timeline, there are three buttons: one a dropdown that shows the zoom percentage, one that looks like geometric shapes with a black arrow on the lower right hand corner that expands to show a list of all objects in the scene, and one that looks like a little icon of a director's clapboard with another arrow in the right-hand corner. Clicking on that one will expand to show a list of all scenes in the movie, with the current one checked; you can click on any one in the list to switch to it.

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New Scene Content

Rather than copy my frames containing Lex over from my first scene, I'm going to reassemble him on this new stage from scratch using my imported GIFs from my library. The reason that I'm doing this is because if I copy over the movie clips from my last scene, then I'll end up duplicating the motion, as well. While the generic motions used are pretty much okay for use just about anywhere that doesn't require specifics, I don't want that--I just want Lex to be still in a certain pose, with only his head and mouth moving. You'll notice that I reused the left hands to make it look a little more natural, as the other hand was an open view of the inside of the palm; I just mirrored the hand using the Free Transform tool. It's not quite perfect, but I'd have to draw an entirely new hand to make it exact, and I'm not worried about that right now.

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Completing the New Scene

Now comes the part where I animate this scene to show the end result of the user choice. You should know how to create a simple animation to depict your user choice by now, so I'm not going to walk you through the steps of this. Create whatever end result pleases you for your first option; in my case, my first option was a blue shirt, so I'm going to draw in a blue shirt using the pen tool (I'm just keeping it simple and mousing it in, nothing fancy) with a little commentary from Lex and a few small head motions. Don’t forget the mouth motions, as well.

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Duplicating a Scene

And that's option one, out of the way. To do option two, we don't need to start yet again from scratch; in my case, the only things I need to change are the text and the color of the shirt, so there's no need to redo all of that yet again. Instead we're going to use the

Scene Dialogue

You can open this dialogue by going to Modify->Scene (Shift+F2). This window contains your primary scene controls; from here you can delete, add, or duplicate scenes, switch between them, and also arrange the order that they play in by clicking and dragging them in the listing

To duplicate Scene 2, just click on it and then click on the farthest-left button at the bottom of the window. A new listing will appear called "Scene 2 copy"; double-click on it to rename it to Scene 3 (or any option of your choice).

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Editing the Duplicate Scene

You can click on Scene 3 to switch to it, and then edit it to reflect your choices for the second option. Then for now you should be done, unless you have more than two options; just keep duplicating (if your options are similar and don't require entirely new assembly/animation) and editing until you're finished. In the next lesson, we'll tie in the buttons with the scenes for a new lesson in ActionScripting.