Adobe Flash Professional CS5 : Creating Frame-by-Frame Animation - Understanding Frame-by-Frame Animation

12/27/2013 3:05:04 AM

1. Introduction

Flash provides several methods for creating animation. In addition to shape and motion tweening, you can create frame-by-frame animations. The frame-by-frame method is derived from the traditional animation process whereby the content is redrawn on each frame with slight differences from the last frame. When these frames are played in sequence, there is an illusion of movement. In Flash, you utilize keyframes in the Timeline to accomplish this. A keyframe defines a change to the artwork placed on the Stage. There are a number of ways to create and edit keyframes, as they are editable objects. Keyframes can be moved, copied, and pasted to and from any Timeline in your Flash movie or between different Flash documents. Frame-by-frame animations can be previewed in the Flash development environment so you can quickly see the results and check your work as you animate. They can also be viewed in the Flash Player using the Test Movie options.

Additionally, there is an Onion Skin mode that allows you to see the active frame in context to the frames around it, making it easier to fine-tune keyframe changes. The versatility of the Timeline and the strength of the Flash Player allow you to implement animation in your movie and give it life.

2. Understanding Frame-by-Frame Animation

Animation is the illusion of movement. It is comprised of a series of pictures, each slightly different from the last, that when played sequentially imply movement. Motion pictures work the same way. What you see when you view a film is a long strip of images played at specific intervals. In this way, the content in the pictures moves and seems to imitate real life.

Traditional cell animators draw a picture onto a frame of celluloid and then draw the same thing onto the next frame but with slight changes made to the drawing. Static parts of the scene (such as a background) are copied and only the objects that change are redrawn. In this way the process is more efficient.

The principles for animating in Flash have derived from this process. In Flash, you create frame-by-frame animations in the Timeline through the use of keyframes. Each keyframe defines a change on the Stage, and when played in succession, the content can seem to evolve, or move. When you export your movie, Flash will play these frames in succession at specific intervals depending on the frame rate you set. A good introduction to this concept, as well as the basics of animation, is the dissection a character walk cycle. When human beings walk, they are essentially repeating the same motion over and over again. In an animated walk cycle, the same thing occurs, though instead of drawing the cycle over and over again, the motion is spaced out so that the last frame (the last image drawn) meets up with the first frame. If this animation is looped, the character will seem to walk perpetually.

Frame-by-Frame Animation

Frame 1

Frame 2

Frame 3

Frame 4

Frame 5

Frame 6

Frame 7

Frame 8

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