Adobe Flash Professional offers several ways to include animation in your projects. This learning guide explains how to use all of these animation types in Flash Professional, whether creating tweened animations using the Timeline and Flash workspace, applying motion presets to a selection on the Stage, or make instances animate using ActionScript code. Explore the sections below to dive into whatever topic interests you.
Note: This learning guide introduces animation in Flash Professional and provides you with tools for developing your skills. Always consult the Flash Professional documentation first when learning to use new features in Flash.
Read an overview of improvements made to animation in Flash CS4 Professional.
Create movement with Flash, as well as minimize file size, using motion tweens.
Use timelines, keyframes, and layers to best effect for your animation projects.
Learn about creating custom commands and tools for motion objects using the updated JSAPI capabilities.
Learn why it's important to think about the frame rate when working with animations.
Make one shape appear to change into another over time, or create color and gradient animations.
Add animations easily and create a custom preset to reuse throughout your documents.
Customize and duplicate animations easily using the Motion Editor.
View multiple frames of a frame-by-frame animation using the onion skin tools.
Learn about moving, splitting, joining, and reversing motion tweens in Flash, and more.
See how manipulating motion paths can achieve special results in your animations.
Apply easing to make tweens appear more realistic.
Use ActionScript to add animation to a document, either by referencing an existing motion tween or by copying the animation from a tween span to ActionScript 3 code.
Note: The ActionScript samples in the Animation learning guide for Flash are written in ActionScript 3 and must be used within an ActionScript 3 file. See the Flash 8 version of this article for samples that can be used in an ActionScript 1 or ActionScript 2 file—or if you have not upgraded yet to the latest version of Flash.
Where to go from here
There's a lot more that Flash can do, even when it comes to animation. You can use scripted animation in your SWFs, use inverse kinematics to move characters around, or learn about specific animation techniques on blogs or from your friends. Here are a few places you might want to start:
About the authors
Jen deHaan was raised by wolves in the deep woods of the Canadian north. Later in life, Jen worked with Flash as a deseloper, then wrote about Flash for five versions, and then worked on stuff that didn't include much Flash. She came to her senses in 2007 by rejoining the fabled Flash team at Adobe as a QE, focusing on the good stuff—Motion (on timelines). Jen enjoys long walks in the rain pondering how many times she can use the word Flash in a bio, and admits that after numerous years in California she is no longer addicted to Tim Horton's coffee.
John Mayhew is a hopeless software developer, and has been for a very long time, but he still loves it. John likes being able to launch an app, demo a feature, and show people exactly what he creates for a living. Along the way he has worked for several small companies and consulted for many years. Among the more notable companies John worked for are Micrografx (ABC FlowCharter and their Graphics Suite offering) and Macromedia (mobile authoring tools), which eventually led him to the Flash authoring team. He has focused for the last few years on creating a simple, yet more powerful animation system in the Flash authoring tool. Achieving both of those goals has proven to be quite a challenge. You can see if John and his colleagues achieved those lofty ambitions in Flash CS4 Professional.