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Using flash for animating

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Using flash for animating

i have recently decided to try animating on the computer and decided the capabilities of flash would help me, along with it being relatively cheap, however i have fallen upon a snag.... i did some research looking at different ways of animating using this software... scanning pictures in, using a tablet or carving images out of the oval and rectangle shapes with the arrow tools.. each method seems to have plus's and minus's and i was looking for some help on the matter. creating an image is easy but then animating it brings up all different problems and it never turns out right.. i've seen flash animations on numerous web sites such as, but cant work out their method... can anyone give me a helping hand on how to effectively use this software :)

Alternatively you could try using a program called Moho. I've not used Flash but colleagues of mine who have told me that this is better for animating with. So although i personally can't compare the two from what i've seen so far Moho looks pretty cool.

You can download for free a full version ( which includes all the tutorials you'd ever need (you just can't render out without their logo) The first few tutorials are a bit dull but stick with it. Basically the program allows you to create your character, or bring it in from Illustrator. Then you add a skeleton to animate it with and away you go. Well in theory, i'm only up to the tutorial about adding the skeleton.

But if you were going to buy it it's only £50 ($99) which seems pretty cheap.

If there's anyone from Moho reading this i'm available for conferences, children's parties and barmitzva's............. :D

I personally use the pencil tool a lot to do my animations. I construct my basic characters then set keyframes and modify to fit the action.

Symbols are the key thing need to wrap yourself around that concept if you haven't got that down you need to work on it. Go over to: and look at the tutorials.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Flash production method for broadcast animation

Flash is an excellent tool for animation. I started teaching it to my students at Capilano College ( in 1999, before any cartoon studios considered it for broadcast animation. My graduates then went out to traditional jobs, but took their Flash skills with them. The studios started to realize that you could do US Animation type work with it. Bardel (Mucha Lucha for WB), Atomic Cartoons (Atomic Betty), Studio B (Yakkity Yak, Being Ian) and Pork and Beans productions all had my grads working for them during the rise of Flash and several of them are now animation directors at those studios. Vancouver became the center for broadcast Flash but Nelvana in Toronto was also an early starter with one of the first series, "Quads". I visited them in 2000 when they started production, to get tips on teaching Flash for broadcast and they asked me more questions than I had for them!

Procedure for animation:
The way Flash is used in broadcast production is very specific. You build your character's first pose on one layer, in pieces (graphic symbols) that register to each other the way limited animation (think Flintstones) does. You then move the symbols' pivot points to logical areas of the symbol so you can rotate a piece without having to reposition it.

Once the pose is created you select the characters symbols (which are on one layer) and make THAT a symbol. Then you open the symbol up (editing mode) and distribute all the pieces to their own layers within the symbol (Distribute to Layers command). Now you can create a new pose and use the tweening tool (or not) to get each "piece" now on it's own layer, to that next pose.

That's a general procedure. All the studios in town (Vancouver) use it that way. They then composite the animation and add effects and sound with other software.

USAnimation is trying to break into the Flash broadcast market with their new "Opus" and I know at least one studio in Ottawa has moved to it saying it's easier to learn (but way more expensive) The local studios I've spoken with tell me they plan to stick with Flash.

Flash allowed for animation to be produced at home rather than sending it overseas. Studios in India ( and other countries are learning Flash now too, so it could shift back but the quality coming out of Vancouver (check out Being Ian and Atomic Betty, both shows with Capilano College trained directors) is so high, you forget it's Flash after a few minutes of watching it and overseas animators haven't been able to get to that level....yet :eek:

I agree that Flash can produce animation of a higher quality than Macromedia intended. It's tricky, though, because it wasn't originally created for broadcast animation. I think it takes a while to get used to doing things the way Flash wants it done. One extra bonus to using Flash... the actionscript programming: you can use procedural routines to really speed up some of the development process. For instance, this site ... ALL of the character animation is generated by code, no keyframes set by animator.


Though I'm not at the same level as broadcast Flash animation, I do have my fair share of decent Flash floating around the Internet with a lot of success.
This one, I'm most proud of:
as am I of this one, too:
(Forgive me, this message board's new and it doesn't look like I can use HTML tags).
Anyway, it's a wonderful medium with great potential be it online or off. Though it does take some work to get used to the way Flash wants you to do things as was already stated, it gets pretty straightforward after only a few nights worth of frustration!
Granted, there is a lot of crap out there, you can find some really great stuff if you know where to look... , for instance.
Still, I do have a quick question that I hope I can bother a few of you with. I saw that there's some limited conversation about schools, and as I'm currently looking for a school to perfect my own style, I'm curious: Can some of you tell me what a good school (preferrably in Vancouver, B.C.) would be to further my skills in Flash animation and commercial graphic design? I've been looking at VanArts and have been impressed so far, but for $15,000US a year, I feel a little more than obligated to do my homework.
Thanks in advance.

thanks to everyone who replied to my question all your help was great,!!!! :D

i have been lucky enough to make flash a valid career. have been doing so for a couple of years. flash is a great tool for animation - and it will only get better in the next release :)

i have not tried MOHO but i hear its good - toon boom as well - i suggest tring as many trial versions as possible because software can often times be a matter of personal preference.