#34 Editing in the Timeline
Once you've created and previewed an animated sequence, you'll almost always decide to go back and modify it. You may want to make parts of it longer or shorter, change its position in the Timeline, add more action to it, or take some action away.
We won't try to give you an exhaustive list of menu commands and keyboard shortcuts for editing; you can get that information from the Help menu. Instead, here are some general hints to help you deal with the less-intuitive aspects of working in the Timeline. (Note that any hints dealing with F6 apply to F7 as well.)
- If you want to insert a new keyframe between two existing keyframes, don't select one of the keyframes and press F6. (All that happens is that the playhead moves to the next keyframe; there are no changes at all in the Timeline.) Instead, select the first of the two keyframes and press F5 to insert a regular frame after it. The second of the two keyframes, and everything beyond it, moves one frame to the right. Then select the newly inserted frame and press F6 to turn it from a regular frame to a keyframe.
- If you want to delete a selected keyframe, don't choose Modify > Timeline > Clear Keyframe. That menu command and its keyboard shortcut, Shift-F6, will turn the keyframe into a regular frame instead of deleting it. Instead, choose Edit > Timeline > Remove Frames or press Shift-F5 to delete the selected keyframe.
- If you want to move a keyframe to another location in the Timeline, don't try to click it and drag it in one motion. Although this technique works in most programs, it doesn't work in the Flash Timeline—all you'll end up doing is selecting a series of frames. Instead, click the keyframe to select it; release the mouse button; then click again to drag the keyframe.
- If you want to paste frames from one part of the Timeline to another, don't use the standard Edit > Cut, Edit > Copy, and Edit > Paste menu commands or their keyboard shortcuts. Those commands work only for objects on the Stage, not for frames in the Timeline. Instead, use the special commands Edit > Timeline > Cut Frames, Edit > Timeline > Copy Frames, and Edit > Timeline > Paste Frames.
- If you have a series of regular frames at the end of your movie and you want to extend the series farther into the Timeline, don't select the last frame in the series and drag it; if you do, Flash may insert a keyframe after it. Instead, click the cell where you want the series to end and press F5. The series of frames will extend to meet the cell you selected.
- Similarly, if you want to shorten a series of regular frames (that is, have it end sooner), don't select the last frame in the series and drag it backward. Instead, find the frame that you want to end the series, click the frame immediately following it, and Shift-click the current last frame in the series. Then choose Edit > Timeline > Remove Frames, or press Shift-F5, to delete the selected frames.
- To extend a portion of a movie and keep all of its layers in sync, select a block of frames by clicking the frame at the upper-left corner and Shift-clicking the frame at the lower-right corner (Figure 34). Then drag the whole block of frames at once.
Figure 34 You can select a block of frames across multiple layers.