A Guide to Making a Flash Animation

Animation

How do you make a Flash animation? Before making an animated movie, let’s first start with a basic object to animate so you can familiarise yourself with how the Adobe Flash program works. Let’s make an animation of a bouncing ball.

1. Make a new file project in Adobe Flash. Configure your settings and familiarise yourself with the software’s interface.

2. Draw or import the image of the ball you intend to animate. You can use an existing image by importing it to Flash. Go to “File,” “Import,” and “Image into Library/Stage.” The area where the animation takes place is called the “stage.”

Another option is to directly draw the image using the program’s “Paint” or “Pencil” tool, both of which are located in the tool bar.

3. Separate your visual elements into layers so you can have the ability to individually edit each layer instead of having to create the entire image every time you want to make changes. Decide on how you will separate the layers of the image, either according to color, other small details, or a combination of both. You can create a new layer by clicking “Insert,” “Timeline,” and “New Layer.”

4. Make a symbol by selecting all layers in your “Timeline,” as seen from the top of the screen, then right click on your visual elements. Select “Convert to Symbol” so you can animate all the pieces of your image (initially separated into layers) at once. This process also creates a subsection under your main “Scene.”

Note that putting multiple images on a symbol or multiple symbols on one layer is not advisable because it can result in inconsistent movements in your animated content.

5. Name your symbol by going to the “Properties” bar located at the bottom of your workspace, then click on the first dropdown option. Select “Movie Clip” as your type of symbol, then simply choose an identifiable name in the blank “Instance Name” box found below it.

6. Start animating your ball image according to the symbols you made. For each symbol, create a layer in the main stage. Notice that there is a keyframe for each layer in the timeline, and for each symbol you have in your project. Create a new keyframe by pressing “F6” or clicking “Insert,” “Timeline,” and “Keyframe.” Go to your second keyframe and move your symbol to the area you want it to move to.

7. Press “F5” or click “Insert,” “Timeline,” and “Frame” to add frames containing the same information as the keyframe you initially selected. Each frame actually represents the animation’s running time. The number of frames determines the playback time. The more frames, the longer the animation will be.

8. Add the animation by initially clicking on one of the regular frames between one of your two keyframes, then look for the box that shows up on the “Properties” bar, which will give your animation status. Select “Motion” in the “Tween” dropdown menu. This will highlight the space between the two keyframes located in your timeline. Simply draw a straight line between the two keyframes.

Experiment on how the animated ball looks during playback, then use the “Motion Tween” process according to how you want the ball to move on screen.

9. Export your animated project by pressing “File” and “Export.” This creates a .swf file, which you can typically upload straight to the Internet. You may also want to convert the file into a video format like .mp4, .mov, .avi,.wmv, or .3gp, so you can upload and play it in a variety of video-playing programs and gadgets.

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