Here we discuss the basic methods and tools used to create animations in Flash. Animation is the process of creating the effect of movement or change over time.
Animation can be the movement of an item from one place to another, or it can be a change of color over a period of time. The change can also be a morph, or change in shape, from one shape to another. Any change of either position or appearance that occurs over time is animation. In Flash, changing the contents of successive frames (over a period of time) creates animation.
This can include any or all of the changes discussed previously, in any combination. There are two basic methods of Flash animation; frame by frame and tweened animation:
Frame-by-frame animation is achieved by changing the individual contents of each of any number of successive frames.
Tweened animation is achieved by defining the contents of the end points of an animation, and then allowing Flash to interpolate the contents of the frames in between. As discussed previously, this is often referred to as tweening. There are two kinds of tweening in Flash shape tweening and motion tweening.
The most basic form of animation is frame-by-frame animation. Because frame-byframe animation employs unique drawings in each frame, it’s ideal for complex animations that require subtle changes for example, facial expression. However, frame-by-frame animation also has its drawbacks. It can be very tedious and timeconsuming to draw unique art for each frame of the animation. Moreover, all those unique drawings contribute to a larger file size. In Flash, a frame with unique art is called a keyframe. As shown below, frame-by-frame animation requires a unique drawing in each frame, which makes every frame a keyframe.
You can see the progression across seven frames because onion skinning has been activated. (Note the cursor, having just clicked the Onion Skinning button.)
All of the source files, including the files that were used to generate these shapes for the lunar phases, are included on the CD-ROM they’re in the frame-by-frame folder of the ch11 folder. The timeline shown above is from the file named moon_phases _fbf_ 06.fla. If you examine the files leading to this animation, you’ll gain an insight into one process for generating unique drawings. The final .SWF plays like an elapsed time-shot of the moon; 14 days in less than 1 second!
To add a keyframe to the timeline, select the frame that you would like to turn into a keyframe. Then, do one of the following:
Right-click or Control+click the keyframe and select Insert Keyframe.
Select Insert➪Keyframe from the main menu.
Press F6 on the keyboard.
Creating frame-by-frame animation
Here are the steps for creating a frame-by-frame animation:
To create your own frame-by-frame animation, start by selecting the frame in which you’d like your frame-by-frame animation to begin.
If it’s not already a keyframe, use Insert➪Keyframe (F6) to make it one.
Then, either draw or import the first image for your sequence into this keyframe. Wherever possible, use symbols and flip, rotate, or otherwise manipulate them to economize on file size.
Then click the next frame and make it another keyframe. Change the contents of this second keyframe.
Continue to add keyframes and change the contents of each keyframe until you’ve completed the animation. Finally, test your animation by returning to the first keyframe and then selecting Control➪Play from the menu.