Frame-by-frame animation in Animate

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. 
Note:

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. 
Note:

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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