Like films, Adobe Animate CC documents divide lengths of time into frames. In the Timeline, you work with these frames to organize and control the content of your document. You place frames in the Timeline in the order you want the objects in the frames to appear in your finished content.

A keyframe is a frame where a new symbol instance appears in the Timeline. A keyframe can also be a frame that includes ActionScript® code to control some aspect of your document. You can also add a blank keyframe to the Timeline as a placeholder for symbols you plan to add later or to explicitly leave the frame blank.

A property keyframe is a frame in which you define a change to an object’s properties for an animation. Animate can tween, or automatically fill in, the property values between the property keyframes in order to produce fluid animations. Because property keyframes let you produce animation without drawing each individual frame, they make creating animation easier. A series of frames containing tweened animation is called a motion tween.

A tweened frame is any frame that is part of a motion tween.

A static frame is any frame that is not part of a motion tween.

You arrange keyframes and property keyframes in the Timeline to control the sequence of events in your document and its animation.

Insert frames in the Timeline

  • To insert a new frame, select Insert > Timeline > Frame (F5).

  • To create a new keyframe, select Insert > Timeline > Keyframe (F6), or right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh) the frame where you want to place a keyframe, and select Insert Keyframe from the context menu.

  • To create a new blank keyframe, select Insert > Timeline > Blank Keyframe, or right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh) the frame where you want to place the keyframe, and select Insert Blank Keyframe from the context menu.

Select frames in the Timeline

Animate offers two different methods for selecting frames in the Timeline. In frame-based selection (the default), you select individual frames in the Timeline. In span-based selection, the entire frame sequence, from one keyframe to the next, is selected when you click any frame in the sequence. You can specify span-based selection in Animate Preferences.

  • To select one frame, click the frame. If you have Span Based Selection enabled, Control-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the frame.

  • To select multiple contiguous frames, drag the cursor over the frames, or Shift-click additional frames.

  • To select multiple non-contiguous frames, Control‑click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) additional frames.

  • To select all frames in the Timeline, select Edit > Timeline > Select All Frames.

  • To select an entire span of static frames, double-click a frame between two keyframes. If you have Span Based Selection enabled, click any frame in the sequence.

  • To select a whole span of frames (motion tween or inverse kinematics) click on it once if you have Span-based Selection enabled in the Preferences. If Span-based Selection is disabled, double-click on the span. To select multiple spans, click on each of them while holding the Shift key.

Label frames in the Timeline

You can label frames in the Timeline as a way of helping organize its contents. You can also label a frame in order to be able to refer to that frame in ActionScript by it’s label. That way, if you rearrange the Timeline and move the label to a different frame number, the ActionScript will still refer to the frame label and will not have to be updated.

Frame labels can only be applied to keyframes. A best practice is to create a separate layer in the Timeline to contain your frame labels.

To add a frame label:

  1. Select the frame you wish to label in the Timeline.
  2. With the frame selected, enter the label name in the Label section of the Property inspector. Press Enter or Return.

Enable span-based frame selection

Span-based frame selection allows you to select a range of frames between 2 keyframes with a single click.

  1. Select Edit > Preferences.
  2. Select the General category.
  3. In the Timeline section, select Span Based Selection.
  4. Click OK.

(Animate CC only) Distribute to KeyFrames

Distribute to KeyFrames option allows you to distribute multiple objects (Symbols and Bitmaps) on the Stage to individual KeyFrames each.

  1. Select multiple objects of any layer on the stage.
  2. Right-click anywhere on stage, and select Distribute to KeyFrames.

Copy or paste a frame or frame sequence

  • Do one of the following:
    • Select the frame or sequence and select Edit > Timeline > Copy Frames. Select the frame or sequence that you want to replace, and select Edit > Timeline > Paste Frames.

      • Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Macintosh) a keyframe to the location where you want to copy it.

Delete a frame or frame sequence

  • Select the frame or sequence and select Edit > Timeline > Remove Frame, or right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh) the frame or sequence and select Remove Frame from the context menu.

    Surrounding frames remain unchanged.

Move a keyframe or frame sequence

  • Select a keyframe or frame sequence and then drag the keyframe or sequence to the desired location.

Change the length of a static frame sequence

  • Control-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Macintosh) the beginning or ending frame of the span to the left or right.

To change the length of a frame-by-frame animation sequence, see Create frame-by-frame animations.

Convert a keyframe to a frame

  • Select the keyframe and select Edit > Timeline > Clear Keyframe, or right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh) the keyframe and select Clear Keyframe from the context menu.

    The Stage contents of the cleared keyframe and all frames up to the subsequent keyframe are replaced with the Stage contents of the frame preceding the cleared keyframe.

View a preview of frame content in the Timeline

In each keyframe of the Timeline, you can view a thumbnail preview of the items in the keyframe.

  • Choose Preview from the Timeline panel Options menu at the upper-right corner of the Timeline panel.

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