IN THIS CHAPTER
Using Guide layers for reference
Creating Motion guides to control animation
Setting up elements for animation with Distribute to Layers
Applying Mask layers for special effects
Masking animation and creating nested animated masks
Besides storing and organizing the contents of your project (.fla), Flash layers offer some special features that help you create more advanced animation. Standard layers can be locked, hidden, or displayed as outlines, but they can also be converted into Guide layers, Motion guides, or Mask layers. You can use each of these layer types to accomplish specific authoring tasks.
You can also use ActionScript to guide or control animation and to apply dynamic masking. For an introduction to these more advanced alternatives to Mask layers and Motion guides, refer to Chapter 27, "Interacting with Movie Clips."
Flash gives you the flexibility to quickly change the behavior of layers at any time in the authoring environment, so that you can take advantage of the special characteristics of each of these layer types as needed.
With the layer buttons at the lower-left corner of the Timeline window, you have the option of creating standard layers, Motion guide layers, and Folder layers. If you have already created a standard layer, you can convert it into any of the special layer types by using the contextual menu (invoked by right-clicking or Ctrl+clicking the layer bar), or by changing settings in the Layer Properties ...