The Flash Symbol 101 Series

These simple exercises will walk you through the basic principles of working with Flash symbols.
They form the basis of 90% of what you can do with Flash as an Animator.
For programmers – turn all the symbols in these exercises to Movie Clips, and you’ll get a great head start too.

The 3 skills you MUST get a good grip on are:

  • Converting an object to a symbol
  • Navigating in and out of Flash symbols – and their respective timelines
  • Understand the difference between creating a new instance vs. duplicating a symbol.

Once you REALLY GET these 3 things – learning the rest will be easy.

List of exercises:

Exercise 1: Create a new Flash Symbol
Exercise 2: Convert to Symbol + Break Apart
Exercise 3: Create Multiple Instances + Distribute to Layers
Exercise 4: Transform instances + color effects
Exercise 5: Edit Symbol + Navigate in and out of symbols
Exercise 6: Nested Symbols: Sun animation
Exercise 7: Duplicate Symbol + Swap Symbols

For an in-depth discussion of what a symbol is, the 3 types of symbols, and working with them as an animator (and not as a programmer), please read this article about The Flash Symbol.
Also, browse this Flash FAQ for Animators to find answers to typical problems.

OK, let’s get our hands dirty:

Pre-flight Checklist:

  • Open a new document. Any version of Flash will do.
  • Just to form a good habit, set the document to 25 fps (frame per second).
  • Make sure the following windows are open (if not, check them in the “Window” menu):
  1. Stage
  2. Timeline
  3. Library
  4. Properties
  5. Tools
  6. Color
  7. Align

Check, Check, Check and Check? GREAT!!

Go to Exercise 1: Create a New Flash Symbol

Browse the Flash FAQ for Animators


What do you say? Leave me a comment in the box below



Flash Tutorials


mask tutorial

the transformation point (why does the pivot jump?)

Drawing in Flash - How to draw a cat
Part 1 - body
Part 2 - face

Flash Animation FAQ


Flash 101 Series:

Flash Symbol Explained part 1 and part 2

Flash 101 series main page

Exercise 1: Create a new Flash Symbol

Exercise 2: Convert to Symbol + Break Apart

Exercise 3: Create Multiple Instances + Distribute to Layers

Exercise 4: Transform instances + color effects

Exercise 5: Edit Symbol + Navigate in and out of symbols

Exercise 6: nested symbols: Sun animation

Exercise 7: Duplicate + Swap


Flash Cut Out Animation Tuts

Butterfly Animation Tutorial:
Part 1Part 2, Part 3

Rabbit Animations Tutorial

Download the source files for these tutorials!



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