Unit 8.  Layers (I)

The Layers. Let's understand them

Everybody has seen sometimes how the sketchers of cartoons work. And all we've seen how they place a semitransparent leaf with drawings on others and the superposition of all composes the final drawing. Why do they not draw everything on a same leaf? Why do they work with several levels and several drawings if they are going to finish all together?

The reasons are many, and these levels that use the sketchers, are equivalent to the Layers , which Flash uses. Each layer is, therefore, a level in which we can draw, to insert sounds, texts... with INDEPENDENCE from the rest of layers. It is necessary to take into account that all the layers share the same Timeline and therefore, its different frames will be reproduced simultaneously.

Let's clarify this with an example:


Let's suppose that we have 2 layers. In one layer, the frames from the 1 to the 10 contain the drawing of soccer goal. In the other layer, the frames from the 1 to the 5 contain the drawing of a goalkeeper (they are empty from 5 and further).

Then, this movie will initially display (during the time that lasts the first 5 frames) the goal with the goalkeeper, to show afterward (during the frames from the 5 to the 10) the goal without goalkeeper.

In such a way the goal is independent from the goalkeeper, and we can handle these objects freely, since they do not interfere among themselves.

Another reason to separate the objects in layers is that Flash makes us place each different animation in a layer. Otherwise, all the objects that are in this layer will compose the animation. If we want that an object doesn't form part of an animation, we'll have to delete it from the layer in which this animation is produced.

To proceed further with the example of the goalkeeper, it’s easy if we want to create a motion of the goalkeeper towards a side, but if the goal were in the same layer that the goalkeeper, then BOTH objects would move towards this side, with which it would be impossible to have only the goalkeeper moved. The solution is to separate the objects in 2 layers, since we've already done.

In addition, the layers have other utilities, they allow us to order our movie rationally, and they help us in the editing drawings (avoiding that they "are based" on only one, or blocking the rest of layers so that we can only select the layer that is of interest).

Working with Layers

The standard View of a layer is the one that shows the image. Let's see for what the different buttons are used and how to use them.

Insert Layers : As its name indicates, it is used for Inserting layers in the present scene. It inserts normal layers (in the following point the different types from layers will be seen).

Add Guide Layer : Insert a kind of guide layer. It is discussed in detail the following point.

Erase Layer : Erase the selected layer.

Change Name: To change Name: of a layer, it is enough to double click the current name.

Layer Properties: If we double click the icon , we'll be able to access a panel with the properties of the layer we've clicked. We'll be able to modify all the options that we've previously commented and some more of lesser importance.

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