It sounds like the tentacle animation occurs inside a movie clip symbol, when you might want to do it inside a graphic symbol instead. Ultimately, it's up to you, but there's a big difference in the way these two symbols operate. Both have timelines, but movie clip timelines run independently of the timeline the'yre in. In the authoring tool, you won't see a movie clip's inner timeline play out until you publish the SWF (as you've seen) or enter that symbol's timeline.
In contrast, graphic symbol timelines are locked in-step with the timeline they're in. For this reason, you need to give a graphic symbol enough room in its parent timeline to play out its animation. For example, if the tentacle-waving takes 100 frames, and if you make that symbol a graphic symbol, you'd need to give that symbol 100 frames on the main timeline to fully play through its animation. The upside is that if you do, you can then scrub the main timeline and actually see the animation from the main timeline, even while in the authoring tool.
Let me know if that makes sense. I can try to explain it in different terms if that doesn't seem clear.
Co-author, Foundation Flash CS4 for Designers
"Luck is the residue of good design."
Oh Ok. I didn't know that. It didn't mention that in the book at all. But, the problem is - this alien is on a motion line and within that i wanted him waving both arms so that's why I created the animated symbol - to move independently along with the motion line. So there is NO way to see the way this looks together without publishing? So you just have to keep publishing over and over until you get it right?
For such a sophisticated program, this is pretty much unacceptable.
Nah, you're cool. You can preview your animation from the main timeline -- it's just that your animation symbol needs to be a graphic symbol, rather than a movie clip symbol. You can change that by right-clicking the symbol in the library and choosing Properties, and then make sure to change its status on the timeline as well. To do that, select it on the stage and use the Propery inspector to turn it into a graphic symbol.
Again, graphic symbols synch up their own timelines with the timelines they're sitting in. In this case, the parent timeline seems to be the main timeline. That's cool. Then you'll be animating a graphic symbol along a straight line, using a tween. So far, so good. Now, since this is CS4, you might be using a motion tween, or you might be using a classic tween. Which if those are you using for this tentacle animation?
Adobe Community Expert
Dev blog, http://www.quip.net/blog/
"Luck is the residue of good design."
I am using a motion tween.
But, I found out you can Control+Enter to see your movie clip and it will show it in a separate window while Flash is open.
So how would I know which type to make? (movie clip or graphic - if you can edit a graphic and make it move without it being a movie clip).
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> I am using a motion tween.
I had forgotten, off the top of my head, if a motion tween was going to behave differently -- in this specific context -- from a classic tween, but they behave the same way, so it doesn't matter which you use. Again, that only applies to the example about about to discuss (generally speaking motion tweens and classic tweens are very different beasts!).
In order to answer your next question ...
> So how would I know which type to make?
... I'm going to step you though a quick experiment, and that should make everything clear. If not, we can just keep the conversation going until you get it. So, for the sake of discussion, try the following:
- Create a new FLA file.
- Use the Rectangle tool to draw a small rectangle on the stage.
- Select that rectangle and use Modify > Convert to Symbol to convert the rectangle into a symbol. Give it a name, and choose Graphic as the type of symbol. You'll notice the symbol appear in the library when you do this.
- Now that the rectangle is converted, select it again on the stage and use Modify > Convert to Symbol a second time. Once again, choose Graphic. At this point on the stage (and in the library), you have a graphic symbol that contains another graphic symbol.
- Double click the symbol on the stage to enter its timeline. At this point, you're inside the outer graphic symbol. The first symbol (the converted rectangle) is on the stage in front of you.
- Apply a motion tween to that first symbol. In the last frame of this tween, use the Free Transform tool to increase the size of the symbol. For the sake of dicussion, let's say this tween is 24 frames long. If you scrub the timeline you're currently in -- that is, the timeline of the outer symbol, which you're currently inside -- you'll see the motion tween perform its animation.
- Now return to the main timeline. You can do this by Edit > Edit Document. Now you're looking at the outer symbols, which only takes up a single frame of the main timeline.
- Apply a motion tween to this outer symbol. This second tween should be the same number of frames as the other way (e.g., 24 frames). In the last frame of this tween, drag the symbol sideways. At this point (if I understand your description), we've replicated the technique you're using in your own file: the outer movie clip moves from side to side, and if you scrub the main timeline, you'll see it do just that. Because this is a outer symbol is a graphic symbol, you'll also see the animation of the inner symbol (the increase in size) as you scrub the main timeline. This is one of the facets of graphic symbols, and why animators like them so much.
- Test your movie (Control > Test Movie), and you'll see that the published SWF behaves just like when you scrub the main timeline.
- Now ... scrub the main timeline back to frame 1. Select the outer symbol and use the Propery inspector to change it from a Graphic to a Movie Clip. It'll still be a graphic symbol in the library, but that doesn't matter.
- Scrub the main timeline again, and this time you'll only see the movement of the outer symbol from side to side. You will not see the increase-in-size animation of the inner symbol's timeline. Why? Because the outer symbol is a movie clip. That's how movie clips behave in the authoring tool.
- Text your movie again, and you'll see both animations again; that is, you'll see the side to side movement and you'll see the increase in size.
- Right-click on the tween span of the outer symbol in the main timeline. Remove its tween.
- Select frames 2 through 24 -- leaving frame 1 unselected -- then right-click and select Remove Frames. Now the outer symbol only occupies a single frame again on the main timeline.
- Test your movie. The side-to-side animation is gone, of course, because you removed that second tween. But the increase-in-size animation is still there. Why? Because the outer symbol is now a movie clip, and movie clips timelines run independently of the timeline they're in.
- Finally, select the outer symbol and use the Propery inspector again to change it from a Movie Clip to a Graphic.
- Test your movie one last time. This time, you don't see any animation in the SWF. Why? Because the outer symbol is now a graphic symbol, and graphic symbol timelines are locked in-step with the timeline they're in. Because the main timeline only has one frame at this point, only one frame of the graphic symbol's timeline plays.
In a nutshell, that's the main difference between movie clips and graphic symbols. At least, that's the main difference that animators care about. There are certainly other differences, and those may (or may not) matter to you. Movie clips support filters, such as drop shadows, blurs, glows, and the like. Graphic symbols do not. Movie clips support instance names, which allow ActionScript to "speak" to them with programming. Graphic symbols do not.
I could go on, but that should give you the basics.
In your particular case, I'm thinking you might want to use a graphic symbol to house your tentacle animation. You don't have to, but if you do, you'll be able to scrub a parent timeline and still see the animation.
Contributor, How to Cheat in Adobe Flash CS4
"Luck is the residue of good design."