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Reading the Flash Timeline

Reading the Flash Timeline

Let’s take a quick look at how the Timeline is structured for imported Captivate projects within Flash MX 2004.

Timeline after importing a Captivate project

Figure 15. Timeline after importing a Captivate project

Notice that there are nine layers for this project:

  1. Actions: This layer contains the slide title number and any actions (ActionScript) that the piece uses.
  2. Playback: This layer contains the playback controls for the movie, if you imported any. This layer is locked; you shouldn’t modify it.
  3. Background transition: This layer is also locked; you shouldn’t modify it.
  4. Mouse Path: This layer contains the path the mouse takes during the simulation.
  5. Mouse Sounds and Effects: This layer contains any sounds pertaining to the mouse, as well as any special effects.
  6. Objects 1 through 8: These are the elements of the Captivate project.
  7. Sounds and effects: This layer is where all music and sound effects play.
  8. Slide background: This layer displays the slide backgrounds .
  9. Movie background: This layer contains any movie background you might have had (note that this is different from the individual slide backgrounds).

The Timeline itself is broken down by slide numbers. For example, here is the partial Timeline for Slide 4:

Partial Timeline

Figure 16. Partial Timeline for Slide 4

The Timeline stretches to match the length of the slide itself. For example, Slide 4 extends from frame 505 to frame 593. Some frames can be very large depending on the number of elements and the length of time they are on the screen.

In Frame 1, there is an action where Flash loads an animation. The ActionScript for that process looks like this:

Figure 17. ActionScript for Flash loading animation.

Before finishing, take a look at the imported Captivate project after Flash publishes it, even after you have added no changes:

launchPlay the demo: The Captivate project exported from Flash

Note: The SWF file is almost exactly the same as the Captivate version with only minor differences.

Where To Go from Here

This tutorial doesn’t cover the details of how Captivate and Flash work together. I recommend that you create your own pieces, export them into Flash and play with the results.

With all the new capabilities and features that have been added to Captivate, you may never need to go to Flash. The capability is there, but I doubt you will need to use it often.

In most cases, you will probably create a Flash framework with menus, calling smaller Captivate SWF files as needed.

The Macromedia Captivate team has done a superb job of integrating Captivate with Flash so you can extend it if you need to. Have fun with it!