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Combining prjoects into 1 timeline

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David Sandwisch
Combining prjoects into 1 timeline
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:15:18 pm


I have 2 animations in 2 separate FLA files that I would like to combine into 1 FLA file to make 1 movie. I want to stick FLA #2 at the end of FLA #1's timeline so the movie will play FLA #1 then FLA #2 seamlessly. Make sense? Think of it as combining two movies in Premiere or FCP back to back and making 1 new MASTER movie. My client wants everything in 1 FLA file as the deliverable. It should never have been split into two FLA files but they originally told me the wrong thing.

I tried to combine the SWFs in After Effects by importing them and lining the layers up back to back and then import the sound and export the whole thing but the AE SWF played back horribly and the audio was off by 10 seconds or more at the beginning. AE can make a correct MASTER QT of the file but not a MASTER SWF. And it can't make one FLA anyways.

If I can get my two FLAs combined into 1 MASTER FLA project, I can make 1 MASTER SWF that will play correctly.

How do I do that or is FLASH not able to do this?


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Brodd Nesset
Re: Combining prjoects into 1 timeline
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:50:07 pm

Copy & Paste?
It really is that simple, but you have to do it right. This is how it works well for me, most of the time:
- Since CS4 at least, you can have several projects open at once, in panes.
- Shift-click the entire area of the Timeline you want to copy from (you can zoom out on the Timeline to facilitate this).
- Important: right-click and select 'copy frames'. Ordinary Ctrl+C is not the same thing here.
- Click on the other project pane, and click inside an empty keyframe at the position where you want the pasted stuff to start. You can create a blank keyframe by clicking in a cell and hit F7.
- Right-click, and select 'paste frames'. Again Ctrl+V is not the same thing.
You should now see the copied content added (appended) to the Timeline.

Problems you might run into:
- The Layer numbers doesn't line up. What used to be Layer 1, 2 and 3 in the previous project, is now Layers 4, 5 and 6, or it might even happen that the content in the new file gets shifted instead... I don't know how to foolproof this. It is not a real problem however; at worst it makes your Timeline a little messy. It doesn't affect performance or ActionScripts.
- If you have library items with the same names but different content, they can't co-exist. You must rename in one project before you do the copy-paste.

A different option is to import the second project as an SWF into the library, and place it in the Timeline as you would with any MovieClip. Actually, an SWF is a MovieClip, technically speaking...

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

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David Sandwisch
Re: Combining prjoects into 1 timeline
on Mar 3, 2011 at 5:18:04 am

Thanks for your thoughts Brodd. You would think a simple copy / paste would work as I did. As you described, it gets messy when layer 1 isn't the same element in both projects but that isn't a huge deal.

This method seems to work but just messy. The make a SWF and then import it method definitely DOES NOT WORK.

That's actually how I did it originally and here is what happened. The generated SWF file plays correctly in a FLASH player. When imported into the 1st project a new layer is created with 1 keyframe for ever frame of the SWF. Seems fine to me but the result in the main timeline of project 1 looks very wrong with gross render errors. My main character's hair color disappears for example even though the SWF generated by the 2nd project IS CORRECT when viewed in a FLASH player.

After a lot of experimentation, every time FLASH imports the SWF, different render errors are created. Eventually it will import the SWF and it will look mostly correct. I copied / pasted layers and put them on top of the SWF to fix the mistakes like color disappearing and got the final result to look correct but it was a huge pain and several hours of work.

Then I wanted to wrap this SWF in the 1st project into a movie clip as my other thread described but the result is the SWF nested in the movie clip is stuck on frame 1 and will not play. If I open the movie clip, the SWF will play within that timeline but not the main timeline that contains the movie clip it is nested in. I can turn the frozen animation black and white as I want but can't get it to play.

That is why I am frustrated. I think I'm doing pretty well for having never touched this program in my life until 2 weeks ago. Now I know how to conform a FLASH timeline to a ProTools timeline so I can edit audio and have it line up in FLASH without moving my animation around. THAT is a huge pain and ADOBE needs to fix a very bad audio import bug.

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Eric Santiago
Re: Combining prjoects into 1 timeline
on Jul 4, 2011 at 2:42:11 am

I have the same problem just need different results.
We purchased an fla file and edited to our liking.
We wanted this file to be imported as part of the original fla gui.
This doesnt seem to work no matter what step (copy/paste, import library and place on stage, etc...)
What did work was to open the stubborn fla (the purchased one) and edited to the point that it looks like our original fla gui.
Now of course this is just dumb since I remember back before AS, you could these things.
I am not a Flash designer and have asked local Flash gurus for help.
It seems that its not an easy task since none of them have stepped in to help.
Maybe they just hate me :).
If you manager to figure this out, please reply.

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