building flash templates

Creating a Background

4. Create your background

Having a background image or graphic is a very popular style in Flash multimedia projects. In this step, drag the background.jpg image to your stage.

To align your image with the stage, open the "align" pane under the window menu.

Aligning to Stage in Flash

To align, you must first set the To stage: option to "on," then click the buttons to align to the left edge of the stage and the top edge of the stage.

Next, double click on name of the layer up in the timeline and name it to "background." You might have noticed that the keyframe on this sole layer has now turned black to indicate that there is something on that keyframe. Next, click the little page icon to create a new layer, which is where we will put our title.

Creating a new layer in Flash
Name the new layer "title." (Important! After you create the title layer, LOCK your background layer. Why? Accidentally placing content on the wrong layer is very easy to do in Flash. Lock your layers when you’re not using them to prevent you from accidentally selecting them or putting content on them.)

5. Creating a graphical title for your project

You want the title to be attractive and easily descriptive. Titles are typically not as long as headlines in a newspaper, but serve a very similar purpose. You can also rely on subtext to describe your project in greater detail.

Use the text tool to draw a box on your stage. And type in "Disappearing in Darfur."

Text tool in Flash

When you click on the text tool, you might have noticed your properties box has changed to show you all of the options related to text. Here you can change the color of your text, the font, and the style.

Text properties in Flash

You want to make sure you are using Static Text (like it sounds, it's text that never changes). This is the most common form of text you will use for titles, captions, or text that is "static" and unchanging.

(Fonts: Unlike Web design, you are free to use ANY font you want. Flash converts all fonts into something called "vector outlines" so go wild! But follow standard graphic design principles. Weird or crazy fonts are best for titles and simple easy to read fonts are best for blocks of text.)

6. Adding Filter Effects to your Text

You can add effects, such as drop shadows, to your text by clicking on the filters tab in your property inspector:

Adding filters to text in Flash

Press the small plus symbol "+" and choose "Drop Shadow" from the pull down menu.

Here you can adjust all of the settings for the drop shadow, including the amount of blur, the angle of the shadow, and the distance from the text.

Sample project with drop shadow text

(Note on Quality: Most filters have quality settings. Setting them to the highest quality seems like the natural thing to do, but doing so can make your project very "process intensive" which means older or slower computers might struggle to display these graphics. Generally this not an issue unless you have several filters (10 to 100) running at the same time on different pieces of text. In these situations, you should consider using a lower quality filter.)