One of the first things you want to do when you start working with Flash is create cool animated effects. Some effects require a hefty chunk of work on your part. For example, if you want to create a complex custom effect such as a superhero dipping and diving across the screen while his cape flutters behind him and sparks shoot out of his fingertips, you need to roll up your sleeves and apply the tweening and frame-by-frame animation techniques in Chapter 3.
But if all you want to do is apply a basic, run-of-the-mill animated effect to an object on the Stage, Flash offers an alternative— Timeline effects. These effects handle things like text that starts out tiny and grows, so that it looks like it's coming straight at the audience, a heart that appears to be beating, or a line that looks like it's drawing itself on the screen. Using Timeline effects, you can click an object on the Stage, tell Flash which effect you'd like to apply, and sit back and relax while Flash cranks out the frames to make it so.
This chapter describes the built-in Timeline effects you can use, along with tips and hints for incorporating them into more complex animations. It also shows you an additional animated effect you can create (by hand) using a special type of layer called a mask layer.
Timeline effects are a boon to folks who are new to Flash, of course, because they deliver maximum animation punch for a minimum investment of time and know-how. But they're useful ...