Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Think of the stage as the canvas on which a painter of the frame in which a photographer composes pictures. Sometimes you’ll want a graphic to begin outside the stage and then animate onto the stage. Off the stage is the gray area around the outside of the white area. You can see the “off Stage” area only when the view menu shows a check mark next to pasteboard. The default setting (Pasteboard checked) is preferable because it means that you can position graphics off the stage. Realize, however, that any changes you make to the view menu affect only what you see. Changes here have no effect on what the user sees.
There’s not too much to learn about the stage – it’s simply your visual workspace. However, two important concepts are worth covering now: stage size and Zoom level. By default, the stage is a rectangle that is 550pix wide by 400pix tall. In the “document Properties” section, you’ll see how to change the width and height of a movie. However, the specific dimensions in pixels are less important than the resulting shape of the stage (called the aspect ratio). The pixel numbers are unimportant because when you deliver a Flash movie to the web, you can specify that flash scale to any pixel dimension.
Aspect ratio is the ratio of width to height. Any square or rectangular viewing area has an aspect ratio. For example, television has a 4:3 aspect ratio-that is, no matter how big a standard TV screen is, it’s always four units wide and three units tall. 35mm film has an aspect ratio of3:2 (such as a 4*6-inch print), and high-definition television (HDTV) uses a 16:9 ratio as do many widescreen laptops, most computer screen resolutions have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (640*480, 800*600, and 1024*768). You can use any ratio you want in a web page; just remember that the portion of the screen you don’t use will be left blank. A ‘wide-screen’ ratio (as wide as 3:1, like film) has a much different aesthetic effect than something with a square ratio (1:1).
To scale means to resize as necessary. A flash movie retains its aspect ratio when it scales, instead of getting distorted. For examples, you could specify that a flash movie in a web page scale to 100% of the user’s browser window size. You could also scale a movie with the dimensions 100*100 to 400*400.
Not only can you deliver a flash movie in any size (because Flash scales well), but while working in flash. You can zoom in on certain portions of the stage to take a closer look without having any effect on the actual stage size. The following task introduces a couple of tools that are important to the stage.