building a slideshow with flash
Starting Out With Flash
This tutorial will take you through the process of creating a photo slideshow in Flash step-by-step. If you don't have a copy of the Flash authoring program, you can download a 30-day trial version from Adobe's Web site: http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/. You can also download a copy of the finished .fla file of this tutorial here.
File Types in Flash
There are many file types you will deal with in Flash, but only two are the most common:
.FLA - This is the extension of the main project file that you will be working on.
.SWF - Pronounced "swift", this is the exported Flash file that will go on the Web when you're done.
It's important to know that the .FLA contains all of the media that you import into Flash. For example, if you import 10 photos into your library, those photos will be stored in the .FLA file and will be available to any person who opens the .FLA from their computer. Another thing to know about the .SWF file is that it is locked. This means that you cannot give someone a .SWF to open and manipulate; it is considered the finished exported project.
Here are some other, more rare, file types you may encounter in advanced Flash situations:
.FLV - This is a Flash Video file. It cannot be opened on a computer without a special player.
.AS - This is a special ActionScript file that has code that some advanced projects need.
.MXP - This is a Flash component file that you can install on your computer. Many components are downloadable from the Internet. If you find one, you will have to install it only once.
Creating a Slide Show in Flash
First, let's take a look at the finished product:
As you can see, this slideshow has four photos. Here's what is happening:
1) It starts out blank
2) A photo fades up
3) Displays for a brief second
4) Then fades out while the next photo fades up.
We will manually create each four steps of these fades from scratch using a mechanism in Flash called tweening. Let's take a look at the completed timeline:
While this may look confusing a first glance, it becomes simple once we break down each element. Each bar on the timeline represents a different layer of the project. When creating animation using tweens, each layer can only have one element on it; in this case, a photograph. The dots represent keyframes, which are special frames that indicate change. In this case, these points indicate the start and end points of the fades.