Before creating tweens, it is helpful to understand the following Flash Pro concepts:
- About tween animation
- Applying motion presets
- Create tween animation
- Edit the motion path of a tween animation
- Edit animation tween spans in the Timeline
- Working with Motion tweens saved as XML files
- (Deprecated with Flash Professional CC) Editing animation property curves with the Motion Editor
- Show All
About tween animation
Like most things in Flash, animation does not require any ActionScript. However, you can create animation with ActionScript if you choose.
Drawing on the Stage
Timeline layers and the stacking order of objects within a single layer as well as across layers
Moving and transforming objects on the Stage and in the Property inspector
Using the Timeline, including object lifetime and selecting objects at specific points in time. See Frames and keyframes to learn the basics.
Symbols and symbol properties. Tweenable symbol types include movie clips, buttons, and graphics. Text is also tweenable.
Nested symbols. Symbol instances can be nested inside other symbols.
Optional: Bezier curve editing using the Select and Subselect tools. These tools can be used for editing tween motion paths.
A motion tween is an animation that is created by specifying different values for an object property in different frames. Flash Pro calculates the values for that property in between those two frames. The term tween comes from the words “in between”.
For example, you can place a symbol left of the Stage in frame 1, and move it to the right of the Stage in frame 20. When you create a tween, Flash Pro calculates all the positions of the movie clip in between. The result is an animation of the symbol moving from left to right, from frame 1 to frame 20. In each frame in between, Flash Pro moves the movie clip one 20th of the distance across the Stage.
A tween span is a group of frames in the Timeline in which an object has one or more properties changed over time. A tween span appears in the Timeline as a group of frames in a single layer with a blue background. These tween spans can be selected as a single object and dragged from one location in the Timeline to another, including to another layer. Only one object on the Stage can be animated in each tween span. This object is called the target object of the tween span.
A property keyframe is a frame within a tween span where you explicitly define one or more property values for the tween target object. These properties could include position, alpha (transparency), color tint, and so on. Each property you define has its own property keyframes. If you set more than one property in a single frame, then the property keyframes for each of those properties reside in that frame. You can view each property of a tween span and its property keyframes in the Motion Editor. You can also choose which types of property keyframes to display in the Timeline from the tween span context menu.
In the preceding example of tweening a movie clip from frame 1 to frame 20, frames 1 and 20 are property keyframes. You can use the Property inspector, the Motion Editor, and many other tools in Flash to define values for properties you want to animate. You specify these property values in the frames of your choosing, and Flash Pro adds the required property keyframes to the tween span. Flash Pro interpolates the values for each of these properties in the frames in between the property keyframes you have created.
Beginning in Flash Professional CS4, the concepts of a “keyframe” and a “property keyframe” have changed. The term “keyframe” refers to a frame in the Timeline in which a symbol instance appears on the Stage for the first time. The separate term “property keyframe” refers to a value defined for a property of an object at a specific time or frame in a motion tween.
If a tweened object changes its location on the Stage during the tween, the tween span has a motion path associated with it. This motion path shows the path the tweened object takes during its movement around the Stage. You can edit the motion path on the Stage using the Selection, Subselection, Convert Anchor, Remove Anchor, and Free Transform tools, and commands in the Modify menu. If you are not tweening position, no motion path appears on the Stage. You can also apply an existing path as a motion path by pasting the path onto a tween span in the Timeline.
Tweened animation is an effective and efficient way to create movement and changes over time while minimizing file size. In tweened animation, only the values for the property keyframes you specify are stored in the FLA file and published SWF file.
The types of objects that can be tweened include movie clip, graphic and button symbols, and text fields. The properties of these objects that can be tweened include the following:
2D X and Y position
3D Z position (movie clips only)
2D rotation (around the z-axis)
3D X, Y, and Z rotation (movie clips only)
3D motion requires that the FLA file target ActionScript 3.0 and Flash Player 10 or higher in the publish settings. Adobe AIR also supports 3D motion.
Skew X and Y
Scale X and Y
Color effects include: alpha (transparency), brightness, tint, and advanced color settings. Color effects can be tweened only on symbols and TLF text. By tweening these properties, you can make objects appear to fade in or fade from one color to another.
To tween a color effect on classic text, convert the text to a symbol.
Filter properties (filters cannot be applied to graphic symbols)
Flash Pro supports two different types of tweens for creating motion. Motion tweens, introduced in Flash CS4 Professional, are powerful and simple to create. Motion tweens allow the greatest control over tweened animation. Classic tweens, which include all tweens created in earlier versions of Flash Pro, are more complex to create. While motion tweens offer much more control of a tween, classic tweens provide certain specific capabilities that some users need.
The differences between motion tweens and classic tweens include the following:
Classic tweens use keyframes. Keyframes are frames in which a new instance of an object appears. Motion tweens can only have one object instance associated with them and use property keyframes instead of keyframes.
A motion tween consists of one target object over the entire tween span. Classic tween allows tweening between two keyframes, containing instances of the same or different symbols.
Both motion tweens and classic tweens allow only specific types of objects to be tweened. When you apply a motion tween to non-allowed object types, Flash offers to convert them to a movie clip when the tween is created. Applying a classic tween converts them to graphic symbols.
Motion tweens consider text a tweenable type and do not convert text objects to movie clips. Classic tweens convert text objects to graphic symbols.
No frame scripts are allowed on a motion tween span. Classic tweens allow frame scripts.
Any object scripts on a tween target cannot change over the course of the motion tween span.
Motion tween spans can be stretched and resized in the Timeline and are treated as a single object. Classic tweens consist of groups of individually selectable frames in the Timeline.
To select individual frames in a motion tween span, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the frames.
With classic tweens, eases can be applied to the groups of frames between the keyframes within the tween. With motion tweens, eases apply across the entire length of a motion tween span. Easing only specific frames of a motion tween requires the creation of a custom ease curve.
You can use classic tweens to animate between two different color effects, such as tint and alpha transparency. Motion tweens can apply one color effect per tween.
Only motion tweens can be used to animate 3D objects. You cannot animate a 3D object using a classic tween.
Only motion tweens can be saved as Motion Presets.
With motion tweens, you cannot swap symbols or set the frame number of a graphic symbol to display in a property keyframe. Animations that include these techniques require classic tweens.
There can be more than one classic or motion tween on the same layer, but there can't be both types of tween on the same layer.
The following articles and resources are available about the differences between motion tweens and classic tweens:
Applying motion presets
Motion presets are pre-configured motion tweens that you can apply to an object on the Stage. You simply select the object and click the Apply button in the Motion Presets panel.
Using motion presets is a quick way to learn the basics of adding animation in Flash Pro. Once you see how presets work, making your own animations is even easier.
You can create and save your own custom presets. These can be from existing motion presets that you have modified, or from custom tweens that you have created on your own.
The Motion Presets panel also allows you to import and export presets. You can share presets with people you are collaborating with or take advantage of presets shared by members of the Flash Pro design community.
Using presets can save significant production time during design and development of your projects, especially if you use similar kinds of tweens often.
Motion presets can only contain motion tweens. Classic tweens cannot be saved as motion presets.
The following video tutorials demonstrate how to use motion presets. Some videos may show the Flash Pro CS3 or CS4 workspace, but are still applicable to Flash Pro CS5.
Each motion preset included with Flash Pro has a preview that you can watch in the Motion Presets panel. The preview gives you a sense of what the animation looks like when applied to an object in your FLA file. For custom presets that you create or import, you can add your own preview.
While a tweenable object (symbol instance or text field) is selected on the Stage, you can click the Apply button to apply a preset. You can apply only one preset per object. If you apply the second preset to the same object, the second preset replaces with the first one.
Once a preset is applied to an object on the Stage, the tween created in the Timeline no longer has any relationship to the Motion Presets panel. Deleting or renaming a preset in the Motion Presets panel has no effect on any tweens previously created with that preset. If you save a new preset over an existing one in the panel, it has no effect on any tweens already created with the original preset.
Each motion preset contains a specific number of frames. When you apply a preset, the tween span created in the Timeline contains this number of frames. If the target object already had a tween of a different length applied to it, the tween span adjusts to match the length of the motion preset. You can adjust the length of the tween span in the Timeline after the preset is applied.
Motion presets that contain 3D motion can only be applied to movie clip instances. The tweened 3D properties do not apply to graphic or button symbols, or to classic text fields. You can apply 2D or 3D motion presets to any 2D or 3D movie clip.
Motion presets that animate the z-axis position of a 3D movie clip will cause the movie clip to appear to change its x and y position as well. This is because movement along the z-axis follows the invisible perspective lines which radiate from the 3D vanishing point (set in the 3D symbol instance Property inspector) to the edges of the Stage.
The motion is applied so that the motion starts at the current position of the movie clip on the Stage. If the preset has a motion path associated with it, the motion path appears on the Stage.
To apply the preset so that its motion ends at the current position of the object on the Stage, Shift-click the Apply button or select End at Current Location from the panel menu.
You can also apply a motion preset to multiple selected frames on separate layers, as long as each selected frame contains only a single tweenable object.
If you create your own tween or change a tween that you applied from the Motion Presets panel, you can save it as a new motion preset. The new preset appears in the Custom Presets folder in the Motion Presets panel.
To save a custom tween as a preset:
You cannot undo saving, deleting, or renaming custom presets.
Motion presets are stored as XML files. Import an XML tween file to add it to the Motion Presets panel. Note that the motion presets imported as XML files can only be added to classical tweens.
You can remove presets from the Motion Presets panel. When you remove a preset, Flash Pro deletes its XML file from disk. Consider making a backup of any presets you might want to use again later by exporting copies of them first.
You can create a preview for any custom motion presets that you create. Do this by storing a SWF file that demonstrates the tweened animation in the same directory with the motion preset XML file.
Create tween animation
The steps in creating tweened animation.
Before you begin animating properties, keep in mind the following:
ActionScript is not necessary. Like many things in Flash, animation does not require any ActionScript. However, you can create animation with ActionScript if you choose.
Basics of timeline and editing properties. Before working with motion tweens, become familiar with the basic use of the Timeline and editing properties. See Frames and keyframes to learn the basics.
You can edit individual property keyframes on Stage, in the Property inspector, or in the Motion Editor. Note that using the Motion Editor is optional when creating many types of simple motion tweens.
Motion Editor is deprecated with Flash Professional CC.
Symbol Instances and text fields only. Flash tweens only symbol instances and text fields. All other object types are wrapped in a symbol when you apply a tween to them. The symbol instance can contain nested symbols, which can themselves be tweened on their own timelines.
Single object per tween. The minimal building block in a tween layer is a tween span. A tween span in a tween layer can contain only one symbol instance or text field. The symbol instance is called the target of the tween span. However, a single symbol can contain many objects.
Changing the target. Adding a second symbol or text field to the tween span replaces the original symbol in the tween. You can change the target object of a tween by dragging a different symbol from the library onto the tween span in the Timeline or by using the Modify > Symbol > Swap Symbol command. You can delete the symbol from a tween layer without removing or breaking the tween. You can then add a different symbol instance to the tween at a later time. You can also change the type of the target symbol or edit the symbol at any time.
Editing motion paths. When a tween contains motion, a motion path appears on the Stage. The motion path shows the position of the tweened object in each frame. You can edit the motion path on the Stage by dragging its control points. You cannot add a motion guide to a tween/inverse kinematics layer.
For information about tweening with Inverse Kinematics, see Animate an armature.
It converts the layer to a tween layer.
It creates a new layer to preserve the original stacking order of the objects on the layer.
If there are no objects on the layer other than the selection, the layer changes to a tween layer.
If the selection is at the bottom of the stacking order of the layer (under all other objects), Flash creates a layer above the original layer. This new layer holds the non-selected items. The original layer becomes a tween layer.
If the selection is at the top of the stacking order of the layer (above all other objects), Flash creates a new layer. The selection is moved to the new layer and that layer becomes a tween layer.
If the selection is in the middle of the stacking order of the layer (there are objects above and below the selection), Flash creates two layers. One layer holds the new tween and another one above it holds the non-selected items at the top of the stacking order. The non-selected items at the bottom of the stacking order remain on the original layer, below the newly inserted layers.
A tween layer can contain tween spans as well as static frames and ActionScript. However, frames of a tween layer that contain a tween span cannot contain objects other than the tweened object. To add additional objects in the same frame, place them on separate layers.
Video: Tween the position of an object. Creating motion tweens (length: 2:04, Adobe TV)
Video: Creating motion tweens: Part 1 (length: 10:53, Adobe TV)
Video: Creating motion tweens: Part 2 (length: 5:55, Adobe TV)
Video: Tween position and alpha (transparency), edit the motion path, save a tween as a motion preset. Create Animation in Flash CS5 (length: 5:34, Adobe TV)
Video: Tween position, alpha, 3D rotation, filters, Motion Editor overview, adding eases, copy/paste tween properties, edit motion path, manipulate tween spans in the Timeline, save, and apply motion presets. Flash Downunder: Motion Tweening (length: 29:57, Adobe TV)
Video: Layers TV: Episode 71: Animated text (length: 20:19, Adobe TV)
Video: When to use motion tweens and classic tweens. Flash Motion Tweening (length: 10:13, Layers Magazine)
Tutorial: Tween alpha (transparency). How to Create a Motion Tween in Adobe Flash (eHow.com)
Tutorial: Creating a tween, editing the motion path. Timeline animation in Flash (Layersmagazine.com)
Video: Understanding Timeline icons in an object-based tween (Length = 5:08, Peachpit.com)
Select a symbol instance or a text field to tween on the Stage. The object can reside in any of the following layer types: Normal, Guide, Mask, or Masked.
If the selection contains other objects, or it contains multiple objects from a layer, Flash offers to convert your selection to a movie clip symbol.
Choose Insert > Motion Tween.
Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Macintosh) the selection or current frame and choose Create Motion Tween from the context menu.
If the “Convert selection to symbol for tween” dialog box appears, click OK to convert the selection into a movie clip symbol.
If the tweened object was the only item on the layer, Flash Pro converts the layer containing the object to a tween layer. If there are other objects on the layer, Flash Pro inserts layers to preserve the stacking order. Flash places the tweened object on its own layer.
If the original object resided in only the first frame of the Timeline, the length of the tween span is equal to one second in duration. If the original object was present in more than one contiguous frame, the tween span contains the number of frames occupied by the original object.
Drag either end of the tween span in the Timeline to shorten or extend the span to the desired number of frames. Any existing property keyframes in the tween move proportionally with the end of the span.
To move the end of the span without moving any existing keyframes, Shift-drag the end of the tween span.
To add motion to the tween, place the playhead on a frame within the tween span and then drag the object to a new position.
A motion path appears on the Stage showing the path from the position in the first frame of the tween span to the new position. Because you explicitly defined the X and Y properties of the object, property keyframes are added for X and Y in the frame containing the playhead. Property keyframes appear as small diamonds in the tween span.
By default, the Timeline displays the property keyframes of all property types. You can choose which types of property keyframes to display by right-clicking (Windows) or Command-clicking (Macintosh) the tween span and choosing View Keyframes > property type.
To create multiple tweens at once, place tweenable objects on multiple layers, select them all, and choose Insert > Motion Tween. You can also apply motion presets to multiple objects in the same way.
The Create Motion Tween command lets you animate most properties of a symbol instance or text field, such as rotation, scale, transparency, or tint (symbols and TLF text only). For example, you can edit the alpha (transparency) property of a symbol instance to make it fade onto the screen. For a list of the properties you can animate with motion tweens, see Tweenable objects and properties.
With the object selected on the Stage, set a value for a non-position property, such as alpha (transparency), rotation, or skew. Set the value with the Property inspector or with one of the tools in the Tools panel.
You can display different types of property keyframes in tween spans. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Macintosh) a tween span and choose View Keyframes > property type from the context menu.
You can also tween properties along an entire tween with the Motion Editor. See Editing property curves with the Motion Editor for more information.
You can add additional tweens to an existing tween layer. This allows you to use fewer layers when creating Flash content with animation.
- Add a blank keyframe to the layer (Insert > Timeline > Blank Keyframe), add items to the keyframe, and then tween the items.
- Drag a static frame from another layer to the tween layer and then add a tween to an object in the static frame.
- Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Macintosh) to dulicate an existing span from the same layer or a different layer.
You can copy the target object of a motion tween to the clipboard at any frame in the tween span.
Edit the motion path of a tween animation
You can edit or change the motion path of a motion tween in the following ways:
Change the position of the object in any frame of the tween span.
Move the entire motion path to a different location on the Stage.
Change the shape or size of the path with the Selection, Subselection, or Free Transform tools.
Change the shape or size of the path with the Transform panel or Property inspector.
Use the commands in the Modify > Transform menu.
Apply a custom stroke as a motion path.
Use the Motion Editor.
You can use the Always Show Motion Paths option to show all motion paths on all layers on the Stage simultaneously. This display is helpful when designing multiple animations on different motion paths that intersect each other. When a motion path or tween span is selected, you can choose this option from the Property inspector options menu.
With the Selection and Subselection tools, you can reshape a motion path. With the Selection tool, you can reshape a segment by dragging. Property keyframes in the tween appear on the path as control points. With the Subselection tool, you can expose the control points and Bezier handles on the path that correspond to each position property keyframe. You can use these handles to reshape the path around the property keyframe points.
When you create a non-linear motion path such as a circle, you can have the tweened object rotate as it moves along the path. To maintain a constant orientation relative to the path, select the Orient to Path option in the Property inspector.
A tweened object not oriented to the motion path (left) and oriented to the motion path (right).
Video: Custom motion paths in Flash (3:51, SchoolofFlash.com. Motion tweens, editing a motion path, creating a custom motion path and applying it to a tween.)
Video: Flash Downunder: Motion Tweening (29:57, Adobe TV. Shows how to edit a motion path. Jump to time code 05:00 in the video.)
Tutorial: Timeline animation in Flash (Layersmagazine.com. Creating a tween, editing the motion path.)
Video: Altering the curve of a motion path (Length = 3:45, Peachpit.com)
The simplest way to edit a motion path is to move the target instance of the tween on the Stage in any frame of the tween span. If the current frame does not already contain a property keyframe, Flash Pro adds one to it.
The motion path updates to include the new location. All other property keyframes in the motion path remain in their original locations.
To move the tween target instance and the motion path by specifying a location for the motion path, select both and enter the X and Y locations in the Property inspector. To move a tweened object that has no motion path, select it and enter X and Y values in the Property inspector.
You can also perform free transforms on the motion path by selecting it with the Subselection tool and then pressing the Control (Windows) or Command (Macintosh) key. Pressing the key displays the same controls as the Free Transform tool. You can then drag to perform transforms while pressing the key.
Because the playback head is in the first frame of the tweens, the scaling applies to all tweened frames. No new property keyframes are created.
You can then paste the path into another layer as a stroke or as a motion path for another motion tween.
A roving property keyframe is a keyframe that is not linked to a specific frame in the Timeline. Flash adjusts the position of roving keyframes so that the speed of motion is consistent throughout a tween.
Roving keyframes are available only for the spatial properties X, Y, and Z. They are useful when you have edited a motion path on the Stage by dragging the tweened object to different locations in different frames. Editing motion paths this way often creates path segments in which the motion is faster or slower than the other segments. This is because the number of frames in the path segment is greater or smaller than other segments.
Using roving property keyframes is helpful for making the speed of an animation consistent throughout a tween. When property keyframes are set to roving, Flash adjusts the position of the property keyframes in the tween span so that the tweened object moves the same distance in each frame of the tween. You can then use easing to adjust the movement so that the acceleration at the beginning and end of the tween has a realistic appearance.
When you paste a custom path onto a tween, Flash sets the property keyframes to roving by default.
To enable roving keyframes for an entire tween:
Right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the tween span in the Timeline and choose Motion Path > Switch keyframes to roving in the context menu.
Right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe in the Motion Editor panel and choose roving in the context menu. For more information about the Motion Editor, see Editing property curves with the Motion Editor.
When property keyframes are set to roving, they appear as round dots instead of squares in the Motion Editor.
If you enable roving keyframes for a tween span and then disable them, the keyframes retain their locations in the span that resulted from enabling roving.
A motion path with roving keyframes turned off. Note the uneven distribution of frames, resulting in uneven speed of motion.
The same motion path with roving keyframes turned on, resulting in even distribution of frames along the path and even speed of motion.
Edit animation tween spans in the Timeline
When creating animation in Flash Pro, it is often appropriate to set up tween spans in the Timeline first. By establishing the initial arrangement of objects in layers and frames, you can then finish the tweens by changing the tweened property values in either the Property inspector or the Motion Editor.
To select tween spans and frames in the Timeline, do any of the following. Be sure that Span-based Selection is turned on in the General Preferences (Edit > Preferences).
To select an entire tween span, click the span.
To select multiple tween spans, including non-contiguous spans, Shift-click each span.
To select a single frame within a tween span, Ctrl+Alt-click (Windows) or Command+Option-click (Macintosh) the frame inside the span.
To select multiple contiguous frames within a span, Ctrl+Alt-drag (Windows) or Command+Option-drag (Macintosh) inside the span.
To select frames within multiple tween spans on different layers, Ctrl+Alt-drag (Windows) or Command+Option-drag (Macintosh) across multiple layers.
To select an individual property keyframe in a tween span, Ctrl+Alt-click (Windows) or Command+Option-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe. You can then drag it to a new location.
A complete list of keyboard modifiers for working with tween spans in the Timeline is available at Flashthusiast.com.
To move a span to a new location in the same layer, drag the span.
note: Locking a layer prevents editing on the Stage but not the Timeline. Moving a span on top of another span consumes the overlapped frames of the second span.
To move a tween span to a different layer, drag the span to the layer or copy and paste the span into the new layer.
You can drag a tween span onto an existing normal layer, tween layer, guide layer, mask layer, or masked layer. If the new layer is a normal empty layer, it becomes a tween layer.
To duplicate a span, Alt-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Macintosh) the span to a new location in the Timeline, or copy and paste the span.
To delete a span, select the span and choose Remove Frames or Clear Frames from the span context menu.
To move the breakline between two contiguous tween spans, drag the breakline.
Each tween is recalculated.
To separate the adjacent start and end frames of two contiguous tween spans, Alt-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Macintosh) the start frame of the second span.
This allows you to make room for frames between the two spans.
To split a tween span into two separate spans, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) a single frame in the span and then choose Split Motion from the span context menu.
Both tween spans have same target instance.
note: You cannot split motion if more than one frame is selected. If the tween that was split had easing applied, the two smaller tweens may not have the same motion as the original.
To join two contiguous tween spans, select both spans and choose Join Motions from the span context menu.
To change the length of an animation, drag the right or left edge of the tween span.
Dragging the edge of one span into the frames of another span replaces the frames of the second span.
To extend the presence of a tweened object on Stage beyond either end of its tween, Shift-drag either end frame of its tween span. Flash Pro adds frames to the end of the span without tweening those frames.
You can also select a frame after the tween span in the same layer and press F6. Flash Pro extends the tween span and adds a property keyframe for all properties to the selected frame. If you press F5, Flash Pro adds frames but will not add a property keyframe to the selected frame.
note: To add static frames to the end of a span that is immediately adjacent to another span, first move the adjacent span to make room for the new frames.
To remove frames from within a span, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Macintosh) to select frames and choose Remove Frames from the span context menu.
To cut frames from within a span, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Macintosh) to select the frames and then choose Cut Frames from the span context menu.
To paste frames into an existing tween span, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Macintosh) to select the frames to replace and choose Paste Frames from the span context menu.
Simply pasting an entire span onto another span replaces the entire second span.
Select the span and then drag the new symbol from the Library panel onto the Stage.
Select the new symbol in the Library panel and the target instance of the tween on the Stage and choose Modify > Symbol > Swap Symbol.
Select the span and paste a symbol instance or text from the clipboard.
To remove the target instance of a tween span without removing the tween, select the span and press the Delete key.
To view frames containing property keyframes in a span for different properties, select the span and choose View Keyframes from the span context menu and then choose the property type from the submenu.
To remove a property keyframe from a span, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe to select it and then right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe and choose Clear Keyframe for the property type you want to delete the keyframe for.
To add property keyframes for a specific property type to a span, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) to select one or more frames in the span. Then right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Macintosh) and choose Insert Keyframe > property type from the span context menu. Flash Pro adds property keyframes to the selected frames. You can also set a property of the target instance in a selected frame to add a property keyframe.
To add a property keyframe for all property types to a span, place the playhead in the frame where you want to add the keyframe and choose Insert > Timeline > Keyframe, or press F6.
To reverse the direction of motion of a tween, choose Motion Path > Reverse Path from the span context menu.
To change a tween span to static frames, select the span and choose Remove Tween from the span context menu.
To convert a tween span to a frame-by-frame animation, select the span and choose Convert to Frame by Frame Animation from the span context menu.
To move a property keyframe to a different frame in the same tween span or a different tween span, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe to select it and then drag the property keyframe to the new location.
To copy a property keyframe to another location in the tween span, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe to select it and then Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Macintosh) the property keyframe to the new location.
You can duplicate or move tween spans and parts of tween spans by dragging them in the Timeline panel.
Drag a tween span to move it to different location in the Timeline.
Alt-drag a tween span to duplicate it in a new location in the Timeline.
You can copy the tweened properties from one tween span to another. The tweened properties are applied to the new target object, but the location of the target object is not changed. This allows you to apply a tween from one area of the Stage to an object in another area without repositioning the new target object.
You can copy the properties from a selected frame to another frame on the same tween span or a different tween span. The property values are added only to the selected frame when the properties are pasted. The copied property values of color effects, filters, and 3D properties are only pasted if the tweened object at that frame has the color effect, filter, or 3D properties already applied. 2D position properties cannot be pasted onto a 3D tween.
These instructions assume that Span-Based Selection is turned on in the preferences (Edit > Preferences).
Flash Pro creates a property keyframe for each of the pasted properties in the selected frame and reinterpolates the motion tween.
You can convert a classic or motion tween span to frame-by-frame animation. In frame-by-frame animation, each frame contains separate keyframes (not property keyframes) which each contains separate instances of the animated symbol. Frame-by-frame animation does not contain interpolated property values. For more information, see Frame-by-frame animation.
Copy the properties that define a motion tween in the Timeline as ActionScript 3.0 and apply that motion to another symbol, either in the Actions panel or in the source files (such as class files) for a Flash Pro document that uses ActionScript 3.0.
Use the fl.motion classes to customize the Flash Pro-generated ActionScript for your specific project. For more information, see the fl.motion classes in the ActionScript 3.0 Language and Components Reference.
Copy Motion As ActionScript 3.0 can capture the following properties of a motion tween:
Orientation To Path
Cache As Bitmap Setting
3D rotation and position.
- Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) the tween span or the tweened instance on the Stage and choose Copy Motion As ActionScript 3.0.
Flash Pro copies to your system’s clipboard the ActionScript 3.0 code that describes the selected motion tween. The code describes the tween as a frame-by-frame animation.
To use the copied code, paste it into the Actions panel of a Flash Pro document that contains a symbol instance that you want to receive the copied tween. Uncomment the line that calls the addTarget() function and replace the <instance name goes here> text in that line with the name of the symbol instance you want to animate.
To name the symbol instance you want to animate with the pasted ActionScript, select the instance on the Stage and enter the name in the Property inspector.
You can also name a motion tween instance by selecting the tween span in the Timeline and entering a name for the motion tween in the Property inspector. You can then reference the tween span in ActionScript 3.0 code.
For more information about animating with ActionScript 3.0, see the fl.motion classes in the ActionScript 3.0 Language and Components Reference.
Working with Motion tweens saved as XML files
Flash Pro allows you to work with Motion Tweens as XML files. Natively, Flash Pro allows you to apply the following commands on any Motion Tween:
- Copy Motion as XML
- Export Motion as XML
- Import Motion as XML
- Create a Motion Tween.
- Select any keyframe on the Timeline.
- Go to Commands > Copy Motion as XML.
- Create a Motion Tween.
- Go to Commands > Export Motion as XML.
- Browse to a suitable location where you want to save the file.
- Provide a name for the XML file, and click Save.
- Select an Object any object on the Stage.
- Go to Commands > Import Motion as XML.
- Browse to the location, and select the XML file. Click Ok.
- On the Paste Motion Special dialog, select the properties that you want to apply on the selected object.
- Click Ok.
(Deprecated with Flash Professional CC) Editing animation property curves with the Motion Editor
Video: Control the properties of an animation. Adjust the x and y values and property keyframes. Add effects using filters. Getting Started: Using the Motion Editor (3:40)
Video: Finely control the tweening of individual properties. Apply ease curves to individual property tweens. Using the Motion Editor (6:08)
Video: Using the Motion Editor (Length = 7:42, Peachpit.com)
Article: List of keyboard modifiers for working with motion tweens (Flashthusiast.com)
The Motion Editor panel lets you view and change all tween properties and their property keyframes. It also provides tools for adding precision and detail to tweens. The Motion Editor displays the properties of the currently selected tween. Once you have created a tween in the Timeline, the Motion Editor allows you to control the tween in several different ways.
Using the Motion Editor is optional for many types of common simple motion tweens. The Motion Editor is designed to make it easy to create more complex motion tweens. It is not used with classic tweens.
Set the value of individual property keyframes.
Add or remove property keyframes for individual properties.
Move property keyframes to different frames within the tween.
Copy and paste a property curve from one property to another.
Reverse the keyframes for individual properties.
Reset individual properties or property categories.
Exert fine control over the shape of the tween curves of most individual properties using Bezier controls. (The X, Y, and Z properties do not have Bezier controls.)
Add or remove filters or color effects and adjust their settings.
Edit the motion path of a tween.
Add different preset eases to individual properties and property categories.
Create custom ease curves.
Add custom easing to individual tweened properties and groups of properties.
Enable roving for individual property keyframes for X, Y, and Z properties. Roving allows the property keyframe to move to different frames or between individual frames to create smooth motion.
(CS5.5 only) Play, rewind, skip forward and backward, and loop animations using the Playback buttons at the bottom of the panel.
The Motion Editor.
A. Property values B. Reset Values button C. Playhead D. Property curve area E. Previous Keyframe button F. Add or Remove Keyframe button G. Next Keyframe button
When you select a tween span in the Timeline or a tweened object or motion path on the Stage, the Motion Editor displays the property curves of the tween. The Motion Editor displays the property curves on a grid representing the frames of the Timeline in which the selected tween occurs. The playhead appears in both the Timeline and the Motion Editor, always in the same frame number.
The Motion Editor represents tweened property values using a two-dimensional graph for each property. Each property has its own graph. Each graph represents time horizontally (from left to right), and the change to a property value vertically. Each property keyframe for a specific property appears as a control point on the property curve for that property. If an ease curve is applied to a property curve, a second curve appears as a dashed line in the property curve area. The dashed line curve shows the affect of the ease on the property values.
Some properties cannot be tweened because they can have only one value for the life of an object in the Timeline. An example is the Quality property of the Gradient Bevel filter. These properties can be set in the Motion Editor, but do not have graphs.
You can precisely control the shape of most property curves in the Motion Editor by adding property keyframes and manipulating the curve with standard Bezier controls. For the X, Y, and Z properties, you can add and remove control points on the property curves, but you cannot use Bezier controls. When you change the control points of a property curve, the changes appear on Stage immediately.
The Motion Editor also allows you to apply easing to any property curve. Applying easing in the Motion Editor lets you create certain types of complex animation effects without creating complex motion paths. Ease curves are graphs that show how the values of a tweened property are interpolated over time. By applying an ease curve to a property curve, you can create complex motion with little effort.
Some properties have minimum or maximum values that cannot be exceeded, such as Alpha transparency (0-100%). The graphs for these properties cannot apply values outside the acceptable range.
In the Motion Editor, you can control which property curves appear, and the size of the display of each property curve. Property curves that are displayed at a large size are easier to edit.
To adjust which properties appear in the Motion Editor, click the triangle next to a property category to expand or collapse the category.
To control the number of frames of a tween shown in the Motion Editor, enter the number of frames you want to display in the Viewable Frames field at the bottom of the Motion Editor. The maximum number of frames is the total number of frames in the selected tween span.
To toggle a property curve between expanded and collapsed views, click the property name. The expanded view provides a lot more room to edit the property curve. You can adjust the size of the collapsed and expanded views with the Graph Size and Expanded Graph Size fields at the bottom of the Motion Editor.
To enable or disable tooltips in the graph area, select Show Tooltips from the panel options menu.
To add a new color effect or filter to a tween, click the Add button in a property category row and choose the item you want to add. The new item appears in the Motion Editor immediately.
The Motion Editor allows you to precisely control the shape of each property curve of a tween, except for X, Y, and Z. For all other properties, you can edit the curve of each graph with standard Bezier controls. Using these controls is similar to how you edit strokes with the Selection tool or the Pen tool. Move a curve segment or control point upward to increase the property value, move it downward to decrease the value.
By working with property curves directly, you can:
Create complex curves for complex tweened effects.
Adjust property values at property keyframes.
Increase or decrease property values along the entire property curve.
Add additional property keyframes to a tween.
Set individual property keyframes to roving or non-roving.
In the Motion Editor, the basic motion properties X, Y, and Z are different from other properties. These three properties are linked together. A frame in a tween span that is a property keyframe for one of these properties must be a property keyframe for all three of them. In addition, control points on the X, Y, and Z property curves cannot be edited with Bezier controls.
Control points of property curves can be either smooth points or corner points. When a property curve passes through a corner point, it forms an angle. When a property curve passes through a smooth point, it forms a smooth curve. For X, Y, and Z, the type of a control point in the property curve depends on the type of the corresponding control point in the motion path on the Stage.
In general, it is best to edit the X, Y, and Z properties of a tween by editing the motion path on the Stage. Use the Motion Editor for minor adjustments to the property values or to move their property keyframes to different frames of the tween span.
To change the shape of a curve segment between two control points, drag the segment. When you drag a curve segment, the control points at each end of the segment become selected. If the selected control points are smooth points, their Bezier handles appear.
To reset a property curve to a static, non-tweened property value, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property graph area and choose Reset Property.
To reset an entire category of properties to static, non-tweened values, click the Reset Values button for the category.
To reverse the direction of a property tween, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property graph area and choose Reverse Keyframes.
To copy a property curve from one property to another, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the graph area of the curve and choose Copy Curve. To paste the curve to another property, the graph area of the property and choose Paste Curve. You can also copy curves between custom eases and between custom eases and properties.
You can edit the shape of a property curve by adding, removing, and editing property keyframes along each graph.
To add a property keyframe to a property curve, place the playhead in the desired frame and click the Add or Remove Keyframe button for the property in the Motion Editor.
You can also Ctrl-click (Windows) or Option-click (Macintosh) the graph in the frame where you want to add the property keyframe.
You can also right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property curve and choose Add Keyframe.
To remove a property keyframe from a property curve, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Option-click (Macintosh) the control point for the property keyframe in the property curve.
You can also right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the control point and choose Remove Keyframe.
To toggle a control point between corner point and smooth point modes, Alt-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the control point.
When a control point is in smooth point mode, its Bezier handles are exposed and the property curve passes through the point as a smooth curve. When a control point is a corner point, the property curve forms an angle when it passes through the control point. Bezier handles are not exposed for corner points.
To set the point to smooth point mode you can also right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the control point and choose Smooth Point, Smooth Right, or Smooth Left. To set the point to corner point mode, choose Corner Point.
A property curve showing a smooth point (frame 8) and a corner point (frame 17).
To move a property keyframe to a different frame, drag its control point.
You cannot drag a property keyframe past the keyframes that follow or precede it.
To toggle a property keyframe for the spatial properties X, Y, and Z between roving and non-roving, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the property keyframe in the Motion Editor. For more information about roving keyframes, see Edit the motion path of a tween.
You can also turn off roving for an individual property keyframe in the Motion Editor by dragging the roving keyframe to a vertical frame divider.
To link associated pairs of X and Y properties, click the Link X and Y Property Values button for either one of the properties you want to link. When the properties are linked, their values are constrained so the ratio between them is preserved when you enter a value for either of the linked properties. Examples of associated X and Y properties include the Scale X and Scale Y properties and the Blur X and Blur Y properties of the Drop Shadow filter.
The following videos and articles provide additional detailed information about working with the Motion Editor.
(Deprecated with Flash Professional CC) Easing tween animations
Easing allows you to speed up or slow down the beginning or end of an animation for more realistic motion or more pleasing effects. It is a technique for modifying the way that Flash calculates the property values in between property keyframes in a tween. Without easing, Flash calculates these values so that the change to the value is the same in each frame. With easing, you can adjust the rate of change to the values for more natural or more complex animation.
An ease is a mathematical curve that is applied to the property values of a tween. The final effect of the tween is the result of the combination of the range of property values in the tween and the ease curve.
For example, if you animate a picture of a car across the Stage, the motion is more realistic if the car starts from a stop and slowly gains speed and then slowly comes to a stop at the other side of the Stage. Without easing, the car would go from a stop to full speed instantly and then stop instantly at the other side of the Stage. With easing, you can apply a motion tween to the car and then make that tween start and end slowly.
A motion path with no ease applied. Note the even distribution of frames along the path.
The same motion path with the Stop and Start (Medium) ease applied. Note the concentration of frames near the ends of the path, resulting in more realistic acceleration and deceleration of the car.
You can apply easing in the Property inspector or the Motion Editor. Eases applied in the Property inspector affect all of the properties that are included in a tween. Eases applied in the Motion Editor can affect a single property, a group of properties, or all properties of a tween.
An ease can be simple or complex. Flash includes a range of preset eases that you can apply for simple or complex effects. In the Motion Editor, you can also create your own custom ease curves.
One of the many common uses of easing is when you have edited a motion path on the Stage and enabled roving keyframes to make the speed of motion consistent in each segment of the path. You can then use easing to add more realistic acceleration and deceleration at the ends of the path.
When you apply an ease curve to a property curve, a visual overlay of the ease curve appears in the property curve graph area. By showing the property curve and the ease curve in the same graph area, the overlay makes it easier to understand the final tween effect that you see on the Stage when testing the animation.
Because ease curves in the Motion Editor can be complex, you can use them to create complex motion on the Stage without creating complex motion paths on the Stage. You can also use ease curves to create complex tweens of any other properties in addition to the spatial properties X, Y, and Z.
Tutorials and Articles:
Tutorial: Modifying and applying custom eases (Flashthusiast.com)
Tutorial: Easing between keyframes (Flashthusiast.com)
Tutorial: Creating and Applying a Custom Ease (Kirupa.com)
Video: Flash Motion Easing (Length = 7:40, LayersMagazine.com)
Video: Setting the ease property of an animation (Length = 5:10, Peachpit.com)
When you apply an ease to a tween with the Property inspector, the ease affects all of the properties that are included in the tween. The Property inspector applies the Simple (Slow) ease curve, which is also available in the Motion Editor.
You can apply a preset ease to an individual property or a category of properties in the Motion Editor.
The shapes of the ease curves included with Flash.
To use eases in the Motion Editor, add an ease curve to the list of eases available to the selected tween and then apply the ease to the properties you choose. When you apply an ease to a property, a dashed-line curve appears overlaid onto the graph area of the property. The dashed-line curve shows the affect of the ease curve on the actual values of that property of the tween.
To add an ease to the list of eases available to the selected tween, click the Add button in the Ease section of the Motion Editor and then select the ease to add.
To add an ease to a single property, select the ease from the Selected Ease menu for the property.
To add an ease to a whole category of properties, such as motion, transformation, color effect, or filters, select an ease type from the Selected Ease menu for the property category.
To enable or disable the effect of the ease for a property or category of properties, click the Enable/Disable Ease checkbox for the property or category of properties. This allows you to quickly see the effect of an ease on property curves.
To remove an ease from the list of available tweens, click the Remove Ease button in the Eases section of the Motion Editor and then select the ease from the pop-up menu.
In the Motion Editor, you can edit the properties of the preset ease curves and make your own custom ease curves.
To edit a preset ease curve, set the value for the ease in the field next to the ease name.
For simple ease curves, the value is a percentage representing the strength of the application of the ease curve to the property curve. Positive values increase the ease at the end of the curve. Negative values increase the ease at the beginning of the curve.
For ease curves that are waves, such as the sine wave or sawtooth wave, the value represents the number of half-cycles in the wave.
To edit a preset ease, first add it to the list of available eases with the Add button in the Ease section of the Motion Editor.
To edit a custom ease curve, add an instance of the Custom ease curve to the list of eases and then edit the curve using the same techniques as for editing any other Bezier curve in Flash. The initial value of the ease curve must always be 0%.
You can also copy and paste the curve from one custom ease to another, including to custom eases in separate motion tweens.