Unit 9.  Symbols (II)

Modify an Instance


We've previously seen that we can modify an instance of a symbol without modifying the original symbol. However, since it is not a vector graphic (we'll see what this means further), we cannot modify the instances with the drawing tools of Flash MX 2004, but with the Properties Panel, that allows the "external" manipulation of the instance.

    So, this panel, as we've seen, results to be very useful, it does not allow us to modify the basic structure of the instance, but other properties, i.e. we can make the instance to be more bright, but we cannot transform a star into a circle. 


Properties Panel of Instance

To access the properties panel of an instance, firstly, we have to select the instance that we want to modify and then open the Properties Panel .

If we select a Flash object that isn't a symbol, the Properties Panel will show the properties of this object, but not the own characteristics of the symbols (changes of color, swaps etc...)

At the moment when we select a symbol, a series of properties and options will appear:

Instance Name and its corresponding icon: The name of the instance is very important, since it allows to identify it during the movie. At a quick glance, the associated icon lets us know what type of symbol is.

Instance Type or Behavior of the instance. By default, it shows the type the original symbol belongs, but we can change it, so that it changes its behavior, though you can continue maintaining its initial structure (on the image it's a "Movie Clip").

Name of the Selected Instance (Instance of:) This option shows the root symbol from which the instance under our modification comes from. This symbol exists in the library and every change on it affects all the instances which are derived from it.

Swap: This option is worth of an especial attention, since it's very useful and will save many of our efforts whenever it will be necessary to use it. Its function consists in changing any symbol by another that we have in our Library. It might seem simple, but during development of a professional work the need of checking out situations quickly appears.

Thanks to this option we can work quietly with an "outline" and substitute it in an effective way (the new symbol inherits the properties of the previous one, including the name of instance, the actions that will affect it, graphics effects etc...) when the moment comes.

In the image you can see the dialog box of Swap Symbol.

In addition, this panel incorporates the button Duplicate Symbol . It is very useful when we want to probe a symbol and don't want to loss it. We duplicate it and work with the copy.

Effects on Instances (I)


To access the effects, which are applicable to any instance, we have to go once more to the Properties Panel, from here we could access all the effects that Flash provides us. In the image to the right it can be seen the tab Color: of the Properties Panel.


There are various types of effects. If the symbol has been just created or if it hasn't assigned effect it will appear the tab None.

In the next section we'll comment the different effects that are applicable to an instance.


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