Movie clips are self-contained movies within the Flash movie. They have their own timeline (which looks just like the main timeline) but - and this is something to note - when placed in the main timeline, a movie clip only takes up ONE FRAME! In other words, a movie clip timeline can have as many frames and layers as needed, but when it plays in the main timeline it will only occupy one frame. Movie clips are very useful for animation that you want to reuse in multiple places within your movie. Movie clips also allow you to have multiple animations that play independently of one another.
Steps for making a new movie clip are:
- open the Library panel and click New Symbol… button at the lower left corner
- in the Create New Symbol window name the symbol and make sure the name ends with _mc to denote that it is a movie clip (for example: dance_mc); also make sure you select Movie Clip as the symbol type, and then click OK (notice that once you click OK the Library panel will now have a new movie clip symbol, denoted by a movie clip icon)
- after clicking OK the Movie Clip editor opens and it resembles the look and feel of the main Stage, however, the name of the Movie Clip will appear in the upper left corner of the screen (to the right of the Scene name) and that is how you know you are no longer in the Scene but now in the Movie Clip
- also notice that the Stage looks different from the Main Stage, and there is a + in the center of the screen
- create the Movie Clip (it can be a frame-by-frame animation or a tween or even contain a button, and the clip can be as short or as long as you need it to be); notice that the Movie Clip timeline is completely and totally separate from the main movie timeline!
- exit the Movie Clip and return to the Scene by clicking the Scene name in the upper left corner of the screen
To use a movie clip, simply drag an INSTANCE of the movie clip from the Library onto the Stage. You can motion tween a movie clip, and also drag more than one instance of it onto the Stage and have it on the same layer as the other movie clip. Remember, an instance is just a copy of the original clip, and the original clip resides in the Library.
Attributes of Movie Clips to keep in mind:
- Movie clips have their own Timelines.
- You know you are in a movie clip Timeline because the name of the movie clip will be displayed in the upper left corner, to the right of Scene 1.
- The movie clip stage does not have the white rectangle surrounded by the gray border, and it has a + in the middle of the stage.
- To return to the main Stage and Timeline, click Scene 1 in the upper left corner.
- In the Library a movie clip is denoted by an icon that looks like a blue gear and in the Type column it is listed as a movie clip.
- To use a movie clip, drag an instance of it from the Library on to the Stage.
- A movie clip plays independently of the main Timeline and takes up just 1 frame of the main Timeline.