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Flash Animation Learning Guide

Flash Animation Learning Guide

Macromedia Flash Basic 8 and Flash Professional 8 offer several ways to include animation and special effects in your document. For example, you can create tweened animations using the Timeline and Flash workspace, automated Timeline effects (by making selections in a dialog box), or ActionScript code.

To create tweened animations, you create starting and ending frames and let Flash create the animation for the frames in between. Flash varies the object’s size, rotation, color, or other attributes between the starting and ending keyframes to create the appearance of movement. You can also create animation by changing the contents of successive frames in the Timeline. You can make an object move across the Stage, increase or decrease its size, change its color or shape, rotate it, and even fade in or out. Changes can occur independently of, or in concert with, other changes. For example, you can make an object rotate and fade in as it moves across the Stage. In frame-by-frame animation, you create the image in every frame.

You have several options when creating tweened animations. You can create traditional frame-by-frame animations (see the section, Creating Frame-by-Frame Animations), motion tweens (see Creating Motion Tweens), or shape tweens (see Creating Shape Tweens).

Timeline effects include animated vector effects such as blur, expand, and explode (see Figure 1). This feature makes it easy to animate an object: you can simply select the object and then select an effect and specify its parameters. With Timeline effects, you can accomplish in a few easy steps a previously time-consuming task that required more advanced knowledge of animation.

Figure 1. Animation created using the Blur Timeline effect without any need for code or motion tweens

You can also create an animation by writing ActionScript code, which is sometimes called scripted animation. There are different ways you can script animation: you can write ActionScript to handle all aspects of the animation or you can use prebuilt classes and simpler code to create an animation. Using prebuilt classes makes animating with code quite easy.

Using code to create animations and effects often reduces the file size of your finished application, and can also improve the performance and consistency of the animation itself. At times, ActionScript-based animations might even reduce your workload: code can be faster to write, and it’s easy to apply to many instances at once or reuse in other applications. The following sections introduce you to scripted animation fundamentals, animation using the Tween and TransitionManager classes, and integrating animation with both the Drawing API and filter classes.


To make this most of this tutorial, you need to install the following software and files:

Macromedia Flash Basic 8

or Macromedia Flash Professional 8

Tutorials and sample files:

Prerequisite Knowledge

A basic knowledge of the Flash user interface.