Although Scratch is designed for people totally new to programming, it can still be a challenging program to wield. Consisting of a script, paint, and sound editor, it has complexity to its structure. This tutorial is aimed at individuals completely new to all programming and looking to understand the concepts of Scratch.
- Main article: Project
Projects are animations, stories, art, pen, and games — and just about everything else made in Scratch. The Scratch project editor is used to make Scratch projects, which can be shared to the world using the Scratch Community. In other terms, a project is the created coding in Scratch.
Offline Editor Versus Online Editor
Scratch offers two editors: an online one, and an offline one. Both are very similar, but have minor differences. The online editor can be accessed by clicking the Create tab on the website or by clicking here. The offline editor can be downloaded here. The current version of Scratch is Scratch 3.0.
- Main article: Scratch User Interface
The Scratch interface is divided into two sections: the project running environment and the project development. In the top-right of Scratch is the Stage, shown at the top of the image on the right. The stage is where a Scratch project is physically run, so when one plays a game, the Stage is the window in which it is run. By default, the Scratch Cat is on the stage. The Scratch Cat is simply one of many sprites, or characters, buttons, etc. in a project. Characters are programmed to perform what a Scratcher desires them to do. The flexibility of Scratch allows the creator to be imaginative and actually make the desired project. That is when programming comes into place, as it "makes things do what they should".
Before getting more into the interface, the quickest way to understand how sprites are programmed in Scratch is by testing things out. Follow the steps below when the Scratch program is opened with a clean, new project.
1. Access this area of the Scratch program:
3. Release the mouse to place the block; make sure the block is placed in the darker grey, technically called the scripts area.
4. When done, click anywhere on the block except the white middle, and watch what happens to the Scratch Cat... it moves 10 steps.
5. Check out the other block categories and test out what each one does!
As shown above, blocks are the building "blocks" of a Scratch project. They have specific commands which function uniquely from one another. Some blocks can even fit inside other blocks, as shown below:
1. Assemble the following "script", or connection of blocks, by accessing the various blocks by color and category.
2. Assemble the blocks into this formation:
3. Grab the blue key sensing block that is still in the void and place it into the hexagonal input area of the orange "if" block:
4. Click the Green Flag to run the project, and see what it does!
5. Unless you were holding down the space key, nothing should have happened. Why is that? Take a look at the script again; remember, a script is a fully connected chain/stack of blocks.
when gf clicked if <key [space v] pressed?> then move (10) steps end
The script begins with "when green flag clicked", which was done. When the green flag is clicked, it triggers the script beginning with the "when green flag clicked" block to run. When the script ran, it first detects if the space key is down, and if it is, then the sprite will move 10 steps. Run the project again while holding the space key down, and the sprite will move 10 steps.
- Main article: Paint Editor
- Main article: Sound Editor
Scratch even includes its very own paint editor and sound editor. A paint editor is a program used for designing and editing images. The Scratch paint editor can be used to draw the images for sprites (the characters, buttons, etc.). The sound editor is used for importing, recording, and modifying sounds used in a project. To access these two editors, click on the tabs above the blocks palette:
Sprites are like the characters of a project. Each sprite has its own blocks, and they can communicate with each other using Broadcasts. Each sprite can do its own job. For example, in a game where a dinosaur chases the Scratch Cat, the dinosaur is programmed to chase the cat, while the cat is controlled by the player. These two sprites do different things. A project can have hundreds of sprites, each doing its own job.
Accessing different sprites can be done in the sprites pane, located below the stage. The currently selected sprite always has a blue box around it; by simply clicking on a different sprite, its data can be accessed. The sprites pane is shown in the image to the right.
Creating New Sprites
Most projects on Scratch have more than one sprite. At the bottom-right of the sprites pane is a button for creating a new sprite. Hovering over it opens up four options:
With these buttons, a new sprite can be imported as either a plain image or one that already has scripts. The buttons, going from bottom to top, do the following:
- Selecting a sprite from the sprite library,
- Opening the Paint Editor to draw a sprite,
- Getting a surprise sprite,
- and uploading an image from the computer using Scratch.
The background of a project can also do a job as well. Backdrops cannot move, but they can play music, send broadcasts, and much more. Like sprites, they also have a picture that can be edited using the Paint Editor. Below the backdrop, there is a button to create a new backdrop.
To learn more about sharing projects, click [[Project Sharing|here]!
|Note:||You must confirm your email address in order to share.|
One can share a project from either the unshared project's page or directly in the editor.
In the project editor, in the top-middle next to the project name, there is a "Share" button which appears for an unshared project. Clicking this will share the project, opening the project page as well.
In the offline editor, to share a project, open an empty project online and select File > Load from your computer. Your project should appear in the editor. Then, share it using the steps above.
- Main article: Remix
The Scratch Website is filled with many projects. Scratchers that find projects they consider well-made or interesting may remix them, using the following steps:
- Click the "See Inside" button in the corner of the project.
- Change the project to personalize it.
- Click the orange remix button in the top-middle
- The edited project is now owned by the new user.
|Caution:||Make noticeable changes to your project. If there are no changes, you are stealing/plagiarizing the original user's project and your project can be reported by another Scratcher.|
One possible way to advance a beginner's knowledge with Scratch is by playing around with it. Trying out different blocks, testing tools in the paint editor, and seeing all the nifty sound editor features can help one learn more about the program. Resources such as the Scratch forums and Scratch Wiki can be utilized as help when necessary. Creating many quality, hard-worked projects is arguably the best way to learn about Scratch.
- Main article: Project Tutorials
Tutorials can be checked out in Scratch. In the project editor, click the Tutorials button on the top blue bar. Choose a tutorial, and start creating using it.