Manipulating motion tweens

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There are numerous ways you can select frames of an animation and move them around on a timeline. There are also many ways to modify your animation so it plays exactly the way you want it to when you publish your files.

Tween layers can contain tween spans, static frames, and blank keyframes. You can use the static and blank frames to draw on the frame, paste graphics, import a bitmap to the selected frame, and so on. These spans and frames can be moved within the same layer, or to most other layers. A tween layer cannot contain IK spans or classic tweens.

Tween spans cannot contain an ActionScript either on the frame or attached to a tweened object. However, a frame outside a tween span on a tween layer can contain an ActionScript. Ensure to put all your code on its own layer called actions (typically the topmost layer on the main Timeline).

Use the following context menu options in the tween layers to manipulate tweens: 

  • Refine tween: Removes the motion tween from the selected tween span.
  • Remove tween: Removes the motion tween from the selected tween span.
  • 3D tween: Adds or removes the 3D properties of a tween (you can see them in the Motion Editor). 3D is automatically activated if you use a 3D tool with the instance before or after you add the motion tween. 
  • Convert to Frame by Frame Animation: Converts the currently selected span into a frame-by-frame animation. 
  • Save as Motion Preset: Saves the currently selected span as a Motion Preset.
  • Insert Frame: Inserts the number of selected frames into the tween span. 
  • Remove Frames: Removes the selected frames from the tween span or static frames. If an entire span is selected, it removes the entire span.
  • Insert Keyframe: Lets you choose what type of property keyframe to insert from a submenu. For example, you can insert a rotation property keyframe using this menu. 
  • Insert Blank Keyframe: You can use this option to insert a blank keyframe on an empty frame. This option is dimmed if your selection is within a tween span.
  • Clear Keyframe: If used within a tween span, you can select from a submenu to remove a type of property keyframe from the currently selected frames. The option does not remove the keyframe at frame 1. Outside a tween span, use this option to remove the selected keyframes.
  • View Keyframes: Use this option to choose which kinds of property keyframes you would like to see on the selected tween span. The default setting is All, but you can choose to one or more types of property keyframes.
  • Cut/Copy/Paste Frames: Use this option to cut or copy some or all frames from a tween span, and paste them to a new location. 
  • Clear Frames: You can use Clear Frames to turn the selected frames into blank frames. If your selection is in the middle of a tween span, it creates two individual tween spans around the blank frames.
  • Select All Frames: Use this option to select all frames on a timeline.
  • Copy/Paste Motion: Use these options to copy all the properties of the selected motion, and paste it to another instance. 
  • Copy/Paste Properties: Use these options to copy the property keyframes from an individual frame and paste property keyframes at a different frame. Ensure that you select one frame to use this option. 
  • Paste Properties Special: Use this option after you have copied the properties of a selected frame. 
  • Split Motion: Use Split Motion to turn a single tween span into two tween spans. This option is available when you select a single frame. 
  • Join Motions: Use Join Motions to turn contiguous tween spans into a single tween span. This option is available when you select two or more contiguous tween spans. 
  • Reverse Keyframes: Use this option to reverse the keyframes for all the properties of a selected tween span. 
  • Motion Path > Switch keyframes to roving/non-roving: Use this option to switch the keyframes of a selected span between roving and non-roving.

See also

Copy and paste a motion tween

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. You can apply a tween from one area of the Stage to an object in another area without repositioning the new target object.

  1. Select the tween span that contains the tweened properties you want to copy.
  2. Select Edit > Timeline > Copy Motion.
  3. Select the tween span to receive the copied tween.
  4. Select Edit > Timeline > Paste Motion.
  5. Animate applies the tweened properties to the target tween span and adjusts the length of the tween span to match the copied tween span.

To copy a motion tween to the Actions panel or use it in another project as ActionScript®, use the Copy Motion as ActionScript 3.0 command.

Copy and paste motion tween properties

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. 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).

  1. To select a single frame in a tween span, Ctrl+Alt-click (Windows) or Command+Option-click (Macintosh) the frame.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the selected frame and choose Copy Properties from the context menu.
  3. Select a single frame to receive the copied properties by Ctrl+Alt-clicking (Windows) or Command+Option-clicking (Macintosh) the frame. The destination frame must be in a tween span.
  4. To paste the copied properties into the selected frame, do one of the following:
  • To paste all the copied properties, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the selected frame of the target tween span. Choose Paste Properties from the context menu.
  • To paste some of the copied properties, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) the selected frame of the target tween span. Choose Paste Properties Special from the context menu.
  • In the dialog box that appears, select the properties to paste and click OK.
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