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How to Choose Tweened or Frame-by-Frame Animation in Flash CS5

Traditional animation artists may want to create Flash CS5 animation the old-fashioned way: frame by frame. Adobe Flash Creative Suite 5 easily supports this method, but you should decide which method you want to use based on the type of animation you want to create.

Both methods have advantages: Although motion and shape tweens give you the power to create sleek animations quickly and easily, you may find that they’re limited. Frame-by-frame animation is significantly more time-consuming and complex to create, but it can afford some detail and flexibility that you can’t otherwise achieve.

To create a frame-by-frame animation, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new Flash document to work in.

  2. Create a blank keyframe for each frame you want to include in your animation. You can do this easily by clicking a frame and using the F7 shortcut key.

    Frames don’t have to be consecutive; you can leave space between keyframes to control the time that elapses between each one.

  3. Draw (or insert) a graphic for each state of your animation on the appro-priate keyframes.

  4. Play back your animation by pressing the Enter or Return key.

If your goal is simply to move an object from one location to another, to create fades, or to transform size and rotation, it makes sense to use motion tweens and let Flash do the thinking for you. If you’re trying to create highly complex animations that tweens can’t handle (for example, a person running), you may want to try the more traditional frame-by-frame approach.

In some cases, you can break artwork into individual moving parts (like wheels on a bicycle) across several layers to achieve effects similar to frame-by-frame animation by using motion tweens.

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