Flash - being organized

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This is a reminder of a few simple "how to work with the Flash environment" tips.

1 The workspace

  • Learn how to dock panels and how to save the workspace (menu Windows)
  • Learn about F4 (hiding/showing panels)
  • Learn how to pin down the AS panel (use pin at the bottom of the panel).

2 Drawings

Unless you are gifted,

  • keep your drawings simple
  • Draw in "object" mode (as opposed to merge mode)
  • Use external clipart.

Always make sure:

  • to lock layers you don't work with
  • to know at which level you edit ! (scene level or symbol edit mode).

3 Layers

Use a separate layer

  • for each object you want to animate
  • for each script
  • for each sound
  • for each complex background drawing

Use layer folders if you get too many layers

4 Names

Always name things:

  • Layers
  • Scenes
  • Keyframes into which users can navigation
  • Symbols in the library
  • Instances

Use conventions for naming (more later)

5 Scenes

If you can divide an animation into scenes, use different scenes

  • Name each scene

6 Library

Use folders
  • at least for complex projects
Create your own external library
  • If you work on several projects copy your important artwork to a separate *.fla file.
  • You can use your own *.fla file as library: Menu File->Import->Open External library.
  • Dock it next to the "normal" library.
Remove junk
  • Remove really useless stuff from the library of each project
  • Remove teen objects made by error (but make sure that they are not used in an animation). If they are, break these apart, insert the object as symbol in the library, then rebuild your animation with these symbols. Only then kill the tween.

7 Quality

Even for small projects:

  • Identify clear goals, i.e. what the user should experience
  • Work with a simple but effective user-centered design method.
  • Make sure that he will be able to experience (cognitive ergonomics)
  • Make sure your application is usable.
  • Make sure you understand what you did (use explit names for instances, library objects and AS variables and function names)
  • Remove errors (broken tweens for example)
  • Document your code, i.e. use comments in AS code, fill in the documentation: menu Modify-Document (CS3), File->Document Info (CS6).