Basic Methods of Animating in Flash


1. Frame-by-Frame animation

This is the most basic form of animation. You manually change the contents of each individual keyframe. This method is ideal for complex animations that need very subtle changes such as small facial expressions.

Frame-by-frame animation is very time consuming and tedious to draw the art work for each frame, and it contributes to a large file size.

When using the frame-by-frame technique most animators will want to make use the the Onion Skinning features. There are two options Onion Skin and Onion Skin Outlines.
Onion Skin
will show grayed-out art work over multiple frames. Onion Skin Outlines will show coloured art work over multiple frames. The number of frames visible can be controlled by the Modify Onion Markers menu.


2. Tweening animation

Tweening is one of the most powerful features of flash animation. It allows the animator to quickly create transitions between images. You only need to establish the starting point and the ending point, Flash will generate the in-beTweens. Tweening can be used to render changes in shape, position, rotation, colour, transparency, size and skew.

Tweening also minimizes the filesize, Flash only saves the start image, end image and the values needed to make the change.

Flash has two types of tweens:

Shape tween - useful for morphing basic shapes eg. turn a star into a circle

Motion Tween - move an image from one place to another as well as rotate, change colour, transparency, size and skew images.
Flash has the feature of Motion tween along a path, this lets the animator draw a path for the motion tween to follow.


3. Timeline Effects

New to Flash MX 2004 is Timeline Effects. These are pre built scripts that you can control what happens. There are three categories of Timeline effects (check Insert > Timeline Effects menu)

Assistants- gives you a more streamlined way to complete tasks
-Copy to Grid: create multiple symbol instances and render them in rows or columns
-Distributed Duplicate: create multiple symbol instances, with changes in alpha or colour

Effects - modify the graphic content of the original item
-Blur: similar to a soften fill edges
-Drop shadow: adds a 'shadow' effect with settings for colour, alpha, and offset
-Expand: Animator can choose the direction and amount an item will stretch and squash and distort.
-Explode: Self explanatory, animator chooses size, direction, distance and speed the pieces fly

Transform/Transition: Some effects similar to the motion tween, but quicker to use
-Transform: change an items position, scale, rotation, colour, and alpha
-Transition: Fade/Wipe and item in or out