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Frame-by-frame animation in Animate

  1. Adobe Animate User Guide
  2. Introduction to Animate
    1. What's New in Animate
    2. Visual Glossary
    3. Animate system requirements
    4. Animate keyboard shortcuts
    5. Work with Multiple File Types in Animate
  3. Animation
    1. Animation basics in Animate
    2. How to use frames and keyframes in Animate
    3. Frame-by-frame animation in Animate
    4. How to work with classic tween animation in Animate
    5. Brush Tool
    6. Motion Guide
    7. Motion tween and ActionScript 3.0
    8. About Motion Tween Animation
    9. Motion tween animations
    10. Creating a Motion tween animation
    11. Using property keyframes
    12. Animate position with a tween
    13. How to edit motion tweens using Motion Editor
    14. Editing the motion path of a tween animation
    15. Manipulating motion tweens
    16. Adding custom eases
    17. Creating and applying Motion presets
    18. Setting up animation tween spans
    19. Working with Motion tweens saved as XML files
    20. Motion tweens vs Classic tweens
    21. Shape tweening
    22. Using Bone tool animation in Animate
    23. Work with character rigging in Animate
    24. How to use mask layers in Adobe Animate
    25. How to work with scenes in Animate
  4. Interactivity
    1. How to create buttons with Animate
    2. Convert Animate projects to other document type formats
    3. Create and publish HTML5 Canvas documents in Animate
    4. Add interactivity with code snippets in Animate
    5. Creating custom HTML5 Components
    6. Using Components in HTML5 Canvas
    7. Creating custom Components: Examples
    8. Code Snippets for custom Components
    9. Best practices - Advertising with Animate
    10. Virtual Reality authoring and publishing
  5. Workspace and workflow
    1. Creating and managing Paint brushes
    2. Using Google fonts in HTML5 Canvas documents
    3. Using Creative Cloud Libraries and Adobe Animate
    4. Use the Stage and Tools panel for Animate
    5. Animate workflow and workspace
    6. Using web fonts in HTML5 Canvas documents
    7. Timelines and ActionScript
    8. Working with multiple timelines
    9. Set preferences
    10. Using Animate authoring panels
    11. Create timeline layers with Animate
    12. Export animations for mobile apps and game engines
    13. Moving and copying objects
    14. Templates
    15. Find and Replace in Animate
    16. Undo, redo, and the History panel
    17. Keyboard shortcuts
    18. How to use the timeline in Animate
    19. Creating HTML extensions
    20. Optimization options for Images and Animated GIFs
    21. Export settings for Images and GIFs
    22. Assets Panel in Animate
  6. Multimedia and Video
    1. Transforming and combining graphic objects in Animate
    2. Creating and working with symbol instances in Animate
    3. Image Trace
    4. How to use sound in Adobe Animate
    5. Exporting SVG files
    6. Create video files for use in Animate
    7. How to add a video in Animate
    8. Draw and create objects with Animate
    9. Reshape lines and shapes
    10. Strokes, fills, and gradients with Animate CC
    11. Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
    12. Color Panels in Animate CC
    13. Opening Flash CS6 files with Animate
    14. Work with classic text in Animate
    15. Placing artwork into Animate
    16. Imported bitmaps in Animate
    17. 3D graphics
    18. Working with symbols in Animate
    19. Draw lines & shapes with Adobe Animate
    20. Work with the libraries in Animate
    21. Exporting Sounds
    22. Selecting objects in Animate CC
    23. Working with Illustrator AI files in Animate
    24. Applying blend modes
    25. Arranging objects
    26. Automating tasks with the Commands menu
    27. Multilanguage text
    28. Using camera in Animate
    29. Graphic filters
    30. Sound and ActionScript
    31. Drawing preferences
    32. Drawing with the Pen tool
  7. Platforms
    1. Convert Animate projects to other document type formats
    2. Custom Platform Support
    3. Create and publish HTML5 Canvas documents in Animate
    4. Creating and publishing a WebGL document
    5. How to package applications for AIR for iOS
    6. Publishing AIR for Android applications
    7. Publishing for Adobe AIR for desktop
    8. ActionScript publish settings
    9. Best practices - Organizing ActionScript in an application
    10. How to use ActionScript with Animate
    11. Accessibility in the Animate workspace
    12. Writing and managing scripts
    13. Enabling Support for Custom Platforms
    14. Custom Platform Support Overview
    15. Working with Custom Platform Support Plug-in
    16. Debugging ActionScript 3.0
    17. Enabling Support for Custom Platforms
  8. Exporting and Publishing
    1. How to export files from Animate CC
    2. OAM publishing
    3. Exporting SVG files
    4. Export graphics and videos with Animate
    5. Publishing AS3 documents
    6. Export animations for mobile apps and game engines
    7. Exporting Sounds
    8. Best practices - Tips for creating content for mobile devices
    9. Best practices - Video conventions
    10. Best practices - SWF application authoring guidelines
    11. Best practices - Structuring FLA files
    12. Best Practices to optimize FLA files for Animate
    13. ActionScript publish settings
    14. Specify publish settings for Animate
    15. Exporting projector files
    16. Export Images and Animated GIFs
    17. HTML publishing templates
    18. Working with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
    19. Quick share and publish your animations
  9. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues
    2. Known issues


Create frame-by-frame animations

Frame-by-frame animation changes the contents of the Stage in every frame. It is best suited to complex animation in which an image changes in every frame instead of simply moving across the Stage. Frame-by-frame animation increases file size more rapidly than tweened animation. In frame-by-frame animation, Animate stores the values for each complete frame.

To create a frame-by-frame animation, define each frame as a keyframe and create a different image for each frame. Each new keyframe initially contains the same contents as the keyframe preceding it, so you can modify the frames in the animation incrementally.

  1. Click a layer name to make it the active layer, and select a frame in the layer where the animation is to start.
  2. If the frame isn’t already a keyframe, select Insert > Timeline > Keyframe.
  3. Create the artwork for the first frame of the sequence. Use the drawing tools, paste graphics from the Clipboard, or import a file.
  4. To add a keyframe whose contents are the same as the first keyframe, click the next frame to the right in the same row. Select Insert > Timeline > Keyframe, or right-click (Windows) or Control‑click (Macintosh) and select Insert Keyframe.

  5. To develop the next increment of the animation, alter the contents of this frame on the Stage.
  6. To complete your frame-by-frame animation sequence, repeat steps 4 and 5 until you’ve built the desired motion.
  7. To test the animation sequence, select Control > Play or click the Play button on the Controller (Window > Toolbars > Controller).

Creating frame-by-frame animations by converting classic or motion tweens

You can convert a classic tween or a 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.

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Macintosh) the tween span you want to convert and choose Convert to Frame by Frame Animation from the context menu.

Use onion skinning

Usually, one frame of the animation sequence at a time appears on the Stage. To help draw, position and edit frame-by-frame animations, onion skinning provides reference by displaying contents of the previous and the following frames on the stage. The frame under the playhead appears in full color and apply color and alpha to differentiate between past and future frames. 

The previous and the following frames of onion skinning have default color tints. To customize these colors, use the Advance Settings option.

Enable and disable onion skinning

  • Click the Onion Skin button  to enable and disable onion skinning.
  • To exclude or include frames, in the timeline header, right click any onion skin frame within the onion skin range.
  • Click and hold the mouse on the  Onion Skin button  to view and select the options.

Advance settings in onion skinning

Click and hold the mouse on the  Onion Skin button  and select Advance Settings.

Customizing range

Customizing Colors for Onion Skin Display

  1. To customize the color of the onion skin frames, select the Onion skin frame in the Timeline bar.
  2. Click and hold the mouse on the  Onion Skin button  and select Advance Settings.
  3. Modify the color-tint of the previous and future frames.

Outline and fill mode

Customizing opacity

  1. To modulate the opacity of onion skin frame on either side of the active frame, click and drag the Starting opacity slider.

  2. To decrease the delta of every onion frame by percentage, drag the Decrease by slider.

Show keyframes only

  1. To customize the color of the onion skin frames, select the Onion skin frame in the Timeline bar.
  2. Select Edit>Preferences.
  3. In the Onion Skin Color option, select the color swatch buttons to customize and set colors for the Past, Present, and Future frames. 

Anchor markers

Simultaneously view several frames of an animation on the Stage

Click the Onion Skin button . All frames between the Start Onion Skin and End Onion Skin markers (in the Timeline header) are superimposed as one frame in the document window.

Onion skin markers

Color Coded Onion Skinning

Onion skinning color coding helps you distinguish between the past, present, and future frames. Onion skin frames that move away from active frame appear with progressively decreasing transparency.

Onion skinning on the timeline

Color-coded onion skinning that shows the past, present, and future frames

Onion Skinning Outline Mode

Customizing Colors for Onion Skin Display

  1. To customize the color of the onion skin frames, select the Onion skin frame in the Timeline bar.
  2. Select Edit>Preferences.
  3. In the Onion Skin Color option, select the color swatch buttons to customize and set colors for the Past, Present, and Future frames. 

Color code is also applicable for outline mode.

Onion Skin Timeline Mode

Customized Onion skinning

  • To change the position of either onion skin marker, drag its pointer to a new location. Normally, the onion skin markers move with the current frame pointer. Use Control/Command+ drag to increase or decrease the position on both sides.
  • To enable editing of all frames between onion skin markers, click the Edit Multiple Frames button . Usually, onion skinning lets you edit only the current frame. You can display the contents of each frame between the onion skin markers and edit them.
  • To move the loop range across the timeline to any position that includes the playhead position, use the markers in the timeline to hold the Shift key and drag the range. 
  • To set the range markers, use the Shift key and drag the range markers or the loop range using the markers across the Timeline. 

Locked layers (with a padlock icon) are not displayed when onion skinning is turned on. To avoid a multitude of confusing images, lock or hide the layers you don’t want to be onion skinned.

Preview your work

To check how your onion skinning is coming along, hover the mouse across the entire span on the timeline. Your animation plays in colored outlines giving you a precise preview of the changes. 


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