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As described on the Macromedia site, Flash is an application for developing rich content, user interfaces, and web applications. It is a great tool for making interactive animations as well as slideshows and other fun projects.

Work Area
The work area in flash includes the stage and surrounding space where you actually make the movie. Flash also has a variety of toolbars and panels to assist you while you're working.

The timeline in flash is what allows the user to control time and content within a flash movie. The timeline is divided into layers, which can be helpful for organizing content. One important thing to know about layers is that only one object can be animated within a layer.

The Library and Symbols
The Flash library stores symbols, which are reusable elements. These symbols can be dragged onto the stage and used numerous times. You can alter the symbols by adding key frames, changing the artwork, etc. and place different instances of them into your movie. There are three different types of symbols that can be used: graphics, buttons, and movie clips.

  • A graphic is normally used for static images. Graphic symbols function with the start and stop of the timeline.
  • A button symbol is unique in that it is designed to respond to the mouse. Actions can be assigned to the button symbols.
  • Movie clip symbols are used for animated images. The movie clip will play whether or not the timeline of your movie is playing.

Using Flash you can create two types of animations: frame-by-frame or tweened.

  • In frame-by-frame animation you create the movements in each frame manually.
  • In tweened animation you create the first and last frame and flash can fill in the animation in between.