Flash JSFL Commands: Symbol Sync Tools

You may recall that I generally avoid ever having “Sync” turned on in any of my classic tweens (see my post about motion tweens and sync for more details). Sometimes, though Sync was still necessary to keep symbols synchronized with themselves along a timeline with lots of keyframes. It just ended up causing too many problems, though, because I would forget it was turned on and then something would get screwed up somewhere and it would take me a while to figure out what the problem was.

My solution was to create some tools that make the syncing process explicit, rather than “turn it on and it’ll remain on indefinitely”. With these tools you can, at any time, tell Flash to synchronize a given symbol instance from this frame forward. It doesn’t do any of the problematic Sync functions, though, like swapping out symbols. All it does is deal with the looping options.

One of the huge advantages of my system is that you can work with multiple symbols on the same layer. It’ll only operate on instances of the same symbol. This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with my autotween animation method.

Over the years I’ve created several sync commands:

  1. Sync symbols

    Does what I described above: synchronizes looping properties (single frame / play once / loop, first frame) forward from this frame. Note that there isn’t a corresponding command to sync in reverse, since the results wouldn’t be well-defined. What should it do, for instance, if syncing a “play once” symbol backward would take it into the negatives?

  2. Sync Instance Names Forward, Sync Instance Names Backwards

    Makes sure all the instances of this Movie Clip symbol on this layer (either from here forward or from here back, depending on which command you run) have the same instance name.

  3. Sync Pivots Forward, Sync Pivots Backward

    I use these ones all the time. They synchronizes the position of the pivot point. Let’s say, for instance, you created an arm symbol. You put it on the stage, create a few keyframed poses, and then you realize you actually wanted to have the pivot point at the shoulder. All you need to do is set the pivot on the first keyframe, then run “Sync Pivots Forward.” Boom, they all have the same pivot. This is especially useful when dealing with classic tweens, where the symbol will jump at a keyframe if the pivot point changes.

The Obligatory Caveats

These commands all work with contiguous symbol instances. That is, if one of the commands is going forward syncing up symbol instances, if it encounters a frame where there isn’t an instance of that symbol then it will stop. If the symbol appears again on a later frame then you’ll have to run the command again there.

Video Demo

Download and Install

You can get the commands from the link below. Simply download and open to install.

download_iconSync Tools

If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below or send me email.

These tools are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 3.0 license.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.