How to Create Frame-by-Frame Animation in Adobe Flash CS6

If you come to Adobe Flash CS6 from a traditional animation background, you may want to create animation the old-fashioned way: frame by frame. Flash 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 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 appropriate keyframes.

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

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 by using motion tweens.

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