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Author: G. Bruce | Website: http://www.acsfla.com

A beginners guide to FLASH animation and Interactivity:


To the novice developer, Flash can appear quite overwhelming.
In truth the interface is more like that of a video editing software than a standard graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop. Keeping this in mind you can begin to understand how FLASH animations are created.

The Timeline:

The basic idea behind any animation goes back to the early days of the paper flipbook animations. As you flip through the pages, the "animated" character begins to move.
In FLASH, one can relate the timeline and each of its keyframes to individual sheets of flipbook paper. Each key frame contains a different instance of the animation and when played in succession creates an animated movie.

Let's assume for the sake of this tutorial that you have just opened FLASH and are looking at it for the first time. Scared??? Well don't be. Once you understand these basic concepts the mysteries of interactive animation will reveal themselves to you.

Basic Animation:

Begin by looking at the main stage (also known as that big white space in the center).
Now, go to the tool bar and select the tool that looks like a paintbrush. Once you have the paintbrush selected paint a scribble on the stage area, (which is also the first keyframe of your animation). Having done that, you will see that on the timeline your first keyframe now has a dot on it. Move your mouse up to the next keyframe in the timeline. Now right click, (your other right.) good. Choose the option for inserting a blank keyframe. Now, use the mouse to draw another scribble on the "stage" area.
If you have done this correctly you will see another dot appear in the second keyframe.
Take your mouse and click on the red tab at the top of the timeline. By dragging it across the two frames you can now see how basic animations are created.

The Layers:

If you have ever seen how a cartoonist creates an animation with multiple sheets of thin paper, than you can begin to understand layers.
Just as each keyframe can represent a new frame of animation, each layer can hold one or a series of frames stacked on top of each other. For example, let's say you have a picture of a sunny day in the park with big white fluffy clouds in the sky. Now, we want our animated character to walk across our landscape sunny day. It stands to reason that unless our animated walker is very tall, the clouds would appear behind him. To achieve this in FLASH, we create our animated character on a new layer above the layer that holds the picture of the sunny day. Much like those thin sheets of paper used by Walt Disney and many others, layers help add depth, interactivity, and organize content. In FLASH a new layer is created by pressing the + sign under the layers area.

» Level Basic

Added: 2002-05-17
Rating: 5.95 Votes: 107
» Author
GAGE is a graphic artist and designer for Associated Computer Systems, Inc. a software development, hosting, design firm located in Brandon Florida.
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