How to Animate with Adobe Flash

In this walkthrough, we've shared how to animate with Adobe Flash, so you can build animated sequences for a movie, game, or website. 

Setting Up a Flash Project
1. First, launch Flash Professional and choose "ActionScript 3.0" on the welcome screen. By default, the program will create a 550 x 400 pixel video. You can change it by clicking on the Properties tab (choose "Window" > "Properties" if you don't see it). Click on the Size section to change the dimensions. For 1080 HD, you'll want a 1920 x 1080 pixel video.  

2. Next, choose the Brush Tool from the Tools panel (or press the B key), and start drawing. You can change the brush color by clicking on Fill Color (the paint bucket) and selecting a new shade. Below the Fill Color, you'll see other settings like Brush Size and Use Pressure. The latter option affects pressure sensitivity when using a Wacom tablet. If you push harder on the tablet, you'll create a thicker brush stroke. 

3. In Flash, there are two main types of art: fill art and stroke art. Fill art is created with a brush, and stroke art is created with the Pencil Tool. To change the pencil color, click on the Stroke Color icon (it looks like a pencil). When drawing with a shape tool (like the Oval), your shape's border will be the Stroke Color, and the fill will be the Fill Color. 

Creating a Background
Before building a character animation, you can set up the scene background. First, click on the dropdown menu above the top right corner of your stage, and choose "Show Frame". The entire stage will now be visible on screen. If necessary, you can zoom out even more by pressing Ctrl/Command+minus.  

Now, start drawing the background for your scene! Using the Brush, Pencil, and various shape tools, you can create a complex background with fills and strokes. 

How to Animate with Adobe Flash
1. To access your animation timeline, go to "Window" > "Timeline". The Timeline uses a layer-based system to organize visual assets. Click on your background layer to rename it. Then, click the "New Layer" icon in the bottom left corner of the Timeline to add more layers.  

2. Just like Photoshop, Flash's layers are stacked on top of each other, starting with the top layer in the list. In your new blank layer, start drawing a character with the Brush tool. 

3. Now, right-click on Frame 2 in the Timeline, and choose "Insert Blank Keyframe". When you do this, the background layer will disappear, because it hasn't been copied to Frame 2. To fix this, right-click on Frame 2 in the background layer and choose "Insert Frame". 

4. To create a smooth animation, we need to be able to see the previous frame while drawing the current one. Flash has a feature called Onion Skin, which allows you to see previous frames in a sequence. You'll find Onion Skin in the bottom section of the Timeline, somewhere in the middle. When you select it, you should see a playhead above the Timeline, which you can drag on to specify which frames will show an onion skin. 

5. Continue drawing your character animation on subsequent frames, while using the onion skin as a guide. You can drag on the playhead to preview your animation, and then adjust it if necessary. Finally, To extend your background layer, click on the last frame and press F5 to paste it throughout the entire sequence. 

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