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The program Flash was the brainchild of Jonathan Gay, who developed the idea while in college and extended it
while working for Silicon Beach Software and its successors.

Adobe Flash (previously called Macromedia Flash) is a multimedia platform originally acquired by Macromedia
and currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems. Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become a
popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages; Flash is commonly used to create
animation, advertisements, and various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more
recently, to develop rich Internet applications.

Flash can manipulate vector and raster graphics and supports bi-directional streaming of audio and video. It
contains a scripting language called ActionScript. Several software products, systems, and devices are able to
create or display Flash content, including Adobe Flash Player, which is available for most common web
browsers, some mobile phones and other electronic devices (using Flash Lite). The Adobe Flash Professional
multimedia authoring program is used to create content for the Adobe Engagement Platform, such as web
applications, games and movies, and content for mobile phones and other embedded devices.


 Flash is an authoring tool that designers and developers use to create presentations, applications, and
other content that enables user interaction.

 Flash projects can include simple animations, video content, complex presentations, applications, and
everything in between. In general, individual pieces of content made with Flash are called applications,
even though they might only be a basic animation. You can make media-rich Flash applications by
including pictures, sound, video, and special effects.

 Flash includes many features that make it powerful but easy to use, such as prebuilt drag-and-drop user
interface components, built-in behaviors that let you easily add ActionScript to your document, and
special effects that you can add to media objects.

 When you author content in Flash, you work in a Flash document file. Flash documents have the file
extension .fla (FLA). A Flash document has four main parts:

1. Stage
2. Timeline
3. Library
4. ActionScript

The Stage is where your graphics, videos, buttons, and so on appear during
playback. The Stage is the rectangular area where you place graphic content,
including vector art, text boxes, buttons, imported bitmap graphics or video
clips, and so on when creating Flash documents. The Stage displays in the
center of the screen. You create your movie on the Stage.

Figure 1: The Stage is where you compose individual frames in a movie.

The Timeline is where you tell Flash when you want the graphics and other elements of your project to appear.
You also use the Timeline to specify the layering order of graphics on the Stage. Graphics in higher layers

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appear on top of graphics in lower layers. Timeline appears in the upper portion of the screen. You use the
Timeline to lay out the sequence of your movie.

Figure 2: Timeline

The Library panel is where Flash displays a list of the media elements in your Flash document.

Figure 3: Library Figure 4: ActionScript

ActionScript code allows you to add interactivity to the media elements in your document. For example, you
can add code that causes a button to display a new image when the user clicks it. You can also use ActionScript
to add logic to your applications


With the wide array of features in Flash, you can create many types of applications. The following are some
examples of the kinds of applications Flash can generate:

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1. Animations. These include banner ads, online greeting cards, cartoons, and so on. Many other
types of Flash applications include animation elements as well.
2. Games. Many games are built with Flash. Games usually combine the animation capabilities of
Flash with the logic capabilities of ActionScript.
3. User interfaces. Many website designers use Flash to design user interfaces. The interfaces
include simple navigation bars as well as much more complex interfaces.
4. Flexible messaging areas. These are areas in web pages that designers use for displaying
information that may change over time. A flexible messaging area (FMA) on a restaurant website
might display information about each day's menu specials
5. Rich Internet applications. These include a wide spectrum of applications that provide a rich user
interface for displaying and manipulating remotely stored data over the Internet. A rich Internet
application could be a calendar application, a price-finding application, a shopping catalog, an
education and testing application, or any other application that presents remote data with a
graphically rich interface.


The menu bar at the top of the Flash application window displays menus with commands for controlling Flash
functionality. The menus include File, Edit, View, Insert, Modify, Text, Commands, Control, Window, and Help.
The edit bar, at the top of the Timeline, contains controls and information for editing scenes and symbols, and
for changing the magnification level of the Stage.


Click Flash Document. The screen shown here


The upper left corner of the screen displays the Tools

palette, which contains tools you can use to create or
modify graphics and text. You select a tool by clicking
on it. Tool modifiers for the selected tool display below
the Tools palette. You use modifiers to set tool


• Selection Tools

Arrow or Selection Tool

- You can select an object with the arrow tool by either clicking on it directly or dragging a rectangular shape
around the object with the left-mouse button pressed.

Smooth and Straighten modifiers of the Arrow tool

Straighten and Smooth, are most commonly used on lines drawn with the pencil

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The two modifiers act like buttons and they smoothen or straighten a line when clicked. For example, repeated
clicking of the straighten button will make the selected line less curved.

Lasso Tool
The Lasso tool provides a much more free form for selection. It is
generally used to select irregularly shaped objects.

Drawing Tools

Line Tool - used for making straight lines.

Oval Tool - the oval tool is employed for making ovals

and circles

Rectangular Tool - makes squares and rectangles.

The Round Rectangle Radius is employed to make
rounded rectangles.

Figure 3: Tools Window

Pencil Tool - functions similar to an ordinary pencil.

The Pencil Mode determines how the lines drawn with the
pencil tool are processed by Flash.

Straighten mode- lines that are approximate straight

are straightened, highly irregular curves are smoothed and
separate lines are connected together.

Smooth option, irregular lines are converted to smooth curves

No processing takes place in the Ink Mode, thus,
you are left with what you had drawn.

Text Tool

Text Tool - add text to Flash.

Three types of text fields:

1. Label text (Static text fields): This is the simplest type of text. It is
generated whenever you click on the stage with the text tool. Label
text keeps extending as you type and may continue beyond the
movie boundaries. You have to explicitly press the 'ENTER' key to
start a new line. The Label Text field is recognized by a small circle
at the top-right corner.

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2. Text Box (Dynamic text fields): A text box
is created by left-clicking once on the
stage, keeping the button pressed and
dragging out an area with the mouse. It is
recognized by a small square at the top-
right corner. As you type text in a text box,
Flash automatically wraps it.
3. Editable text (Input text fields):: Text
placed in this field is editable and can be
modified by the user. It is generally used
to make text fields in forms that gather
visitor input such as name, password etc.
It carries a small square at the bottom-
right corner.

Brush Tool

The Brush tool draws brush like strokes, as if you were painting. It lets you create special effects,

Brush Modifier
Brush Mode Selector

• Paint Normal paints over lines and fills on the same layer
• Paint Fills paints fills and empty areas, leaving lines
• Paint Behind paints in blank areas of the Stage on the same
layer, leaving lines and fills unaffected.
• Paint Selection applies a new fill to the selection when you
select a fill in the Fill modifier or the Fill box of the Property
inspector. (This option is the same as simply selecting a
filled area and applying a new fill.)
• Paint Inside paints the fill in which you start a brush stroke
and never paints lines. This works much like a smart coloring
book that never allows you to paint outside the lines. If you
start painting in an empty area, the fill doesn't affect any
existing filled areas.

Original image, Paint Normal, Paint Behind, Paint Selection,

Paint Fills, and Paint Inside

Lock Fill Toggle button

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Gradients can also be used to paint objects. If this option is used to paint various objects/areas, all of then will
be painted with the same gradient and will appear part of a single shape.

Transforming Gradient Fills

Tranform Fill modifer - used to change the location, size and rotation of gradient fills.
To transform a fill of an object, select the Paint Bucket tool and activate transform fill by clicking on the icon and
then click inside the object.

The Paint Bucket

You can use either a solid color or a gradient to fill objects with the bucket. However, since Flash is a vector
based program, its paint Bucket also has a feature of closing any gaps in the objects' outline. (Note: Very large
gaps cannot be closed automatically with the bucket. You have to do this manually using the Arrow tool).

Ink Bottle

To change the stroke color, width, and style of lines or shape

outlines, you can use the Ink Bottle tool. You can apply only
solid colors, not gradients or bitmaps, to lines or shape outlines.

Dropper Tool
Eyedropper tool - use to copy fill and stroke attributes from one
object and immediately apply them to another object.

The Hand and Magnifier Tools

The Hand tool lets you pick the movie display window and
place it at the desired location.
You can zoom in and out using the Magnifier tool.

Eraser Tool

Erasing with the Eraser tool removes strokes and fills. You can quickly erase everything on the Stage, erase
individual stroke segments or filled areas, or erase by dragging. You can customize the Eraser tool to erase only
strokes, only filled areas, or only a single filled area.

To quickly delete everything on the Stage: Double-click the Eraser tool.

To remove stroke segments or filled areas:1.
Select the Eraser tool and then click the Faucet modifier 2. Click the stroke segment or filled area that you
want to delete
• Erase Normal erases strokes and fills on the same layer
The Erase Mode modifier changes the •wayErase
the tool handles
Fills erasesobject components.
only fills; strokes are not affected
• Erase Lines erases only strokes; fills are not affected
• Erase Selected Fills erases only the currently selected fills and
does not affect strokes, selected or not. (Select the fills you want to
erase before using the Eraser tool in this mode.)
• Erase Inside erases only the fill on which you begin the eraser
stroke. If you begin erasing from an empty point, nothing will be
erased. Strokes are unaffected by the eraser in this mode. - aebihis

Here are some examples:


The Timeline organizes and controls a movie's content over time in layers and frames. Like films, Flash movies
divide lengths of time into frames. Layers are like multiple film strips stacked on top of each other, each
containing a different image that appears on the Stage. The major components of the Timeline are layers,
frames, and the playhead.

Layers in a document are listed in a column on the left side of the Timeline. Frames contained in each layer
appear in a row to the right of the layer name. The Timeline header at the top of the Timeline indicates frame
numbers. The playhead indicates the current frame displayed on the Stage.
The Timeline status display at the bottom of the Timeline indicates the selected frame number, the current frame
rate, and the elapsed time to the current frame

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Panels in Flash help you view, organize, and change elements in a document. The options available on panels
control the characteristics of symbols, instances, colors, type, frames, and other elements. You can use panels
to customize the Flash interface, by displaying the panels you need for a specific task and hiding other panels.

Panels let you work with objects, colors, text, instances, frames, scenes, and entire documents. For example,
you use the Color Mixer to create colors, and the Align panel to align objects to each other or the Stage. To view
the complete list of panels available in Flash, see the Window menu.

Align Panel Info Panel

Scene Panel Transform Panel

Color Swatches Panel

Color Mixer Panel

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traditionally called "ShockWave Flash" movies, "Flash movies" or "Flash games"

.swf .swf files are completed, compiled and published files that cannot be edited with Adobe Flash. However,
many '.swf decompilers' do exist. Attempting to import .swf files using Flash allows it to retrieve some
assets from the .swf, but not all.

.fla files contain source material for the Flash application. Flash authoring software can edit FLA files and
compile them into .swf files.

.xfl files are XML-based project files that are equivalent to the binary .fla format. Flash authoring software
.xfl will use XFL as an exchange format in Flash CS4. It will import XFL files that are exported from InDesign
and AfterEffects.

.as files contain ActionScript source code in simple source files. FLA files can also contain Actionscript
.as code directly, but separate external .as files often emerge for structural reasons, or to expose the code to
versioning applications. They sometimes use the extension .actionscript

.swd files are temporary debugging files used during Flash development. Once finished developing a Flash
project these files are not needed and can be removed.

.asc files contain Server-Side ActionScript, which is used to develop efficient and flexible client-server
Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX applications.

.abc files contain actionscript bytecode used by the Actionscript Virtual Machine AVM (Flash 8 and prior),
and AVM2 (Flash 9 or later).

.flv files are Flash video files, as created by Adobe Flash, ffmpeg, Sorenson Squeeze, or On2 Flix.

.flv either used from within .swf files or played through a flv aware player, such as (VLC), or QuickTime and
Windows Media Player with external codecs added

.f4v .f4v files are standard mp4 files that can be played back by Flash Player 9 Update 3 and above.

.f4p .f4p files are mp4 files with digital rights management.

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.f4a .f4a files are mp4 files that contain only audio streams.

.f4b .f4b files are mp4 audio book files.

.swc files are used for distributing components; they contain a compiled clip, the component's ActionScript
class file, and other files that describe the component.

.jsfl files are used to add functionality in the Flash Authoring environment; they contain Javascript code and
access the Flash Javascript API.

.swt .swt files are 'templatized' forms of .swf files, used by Macromedia Generator

.flp files are XML files used to reference all the document files contained in a Flash Project. Flash Projects
.flp allow the user to group multiple, related files together to assist in Flash project organization, compilation
and build.

.spl .spl files are FutureSplash documents.

.aso files are cache files used during Flash development, containing compiled ActionScript byte code. An
ASO file is recreated when a change in its corresponding class files is detected. Occasionally the Flash
.aso IDE does not recognize that a recompile is necessary, and these cache files must be deleted manually.
They are located in %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application
Data\Macromedia\Flash8\en\Configuration\Classes\aso on Win32 / Flash8.

These files are created by the freeware program called liveswif.They are used to save the animation in an
editable file , but can also be converted into an .swf file to produce online content for the web. This file has
nothing to do with adobe flash Fla file , with the only similarity being that they both hold editable data that
can be converted into a swf file.

.sol files are created by Adobe Flash Player to hold Local Shared Objects (data stored on the system
running the Flash player).

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