Basic Flash Animation Tutorial – Running Sheep

In this tutorial we will make a running sheep animation :-D. Before we get started, lets take a look at the final result we’ll be creating. This is a very simple flash animation  that can be good tutorial for beginner :-D.

Let’s start…..

Step 1: Open your flash and create new document. Because sheep have a white color, so we should change document default color. I set the background to green (grass color).

Step 2: Create a new movie clip by pressing Ctrl+F8 (Create New Symbol). Name this symbol to “sheep_run”. don’t forget to set the Type to Movie Clip.

Step 3: Now we are in sheep_run symbol. We should create multiple layers to divide each part of animation. To create a new layer, click Insert Layer button at the bottom of the timeline or select Insert->Timeline->Layer.

Create 5 empty layers and name it “head”, ”body”, ”tail”, ”front”, ”rear”. Why we should divide it? because each part have an independent animation timeline. You can easily identify what part of sheep will be animated by its layers name. (front & rear layer is for front & rear sheep’s foots animation).


Step 4: Flash is vector based animation, so we should make the vector object as simple as possible. We can eliminate unnecessary anchor point by Modify->Shape->Smooth or Modify->Shape->Optimize..

The image below shows that we can optimize object by reduce it nodes (anchor points).

We can start Draw a sheep. I’m using pencil & line tools. There are 4 objects we need to draw : head, body, foot, and tail. Draw it in each appropriate layers and then convert to Movie Clip. by select it and press F8.

Head symbol at head layer.

Foot symbol at front and rear layer.
“front” layer is for sheep’s rear feet. So put two foot symbols as well as put two foot symbols for rear feet

body symbol at body layer

tail symbol at tail layer

Now this sheep image looks pretty good enough. 😀


Step 5: Now let’s start animate it!. Each layer have it’s own timeline. So we can make an different animation for each parts of sheep. There are two type of animation: tween and frame (frame by frame) animation. We will use frame based animation for front and rear feet and use tween animation for head, body and tail.

In frame based animation, we just create multiple keyframe and then move the object in each keyframe. Motion tween use different methods for animation, you just define attributes at one specific time and change those attributes at another specific frame,and then the motion is generated automatically.

To create motion tween, Right Click on the frame and choose Create Motion Tween from the popup menu. And then press F5 repeatedly to add several new frame. Instead of pressing F5 repeatedly, you can simply hold Ctrl and drag at the tail of frame in timeline. Pressing F6 will create new keyframe. In keyframe, we can change attributes of object, such as position, rotation and size. In this project, we just animate the sheep’s body up and down as well as it head and tail, with a little rotation. For the feet, I use frame based animation to make the sheep runs, just like cat or dog.

Sheep animation, frame 1 – 5, for frame 6 – 8, just reverse it.

You can download the .fla source here. Next part of tutorial will talk about moving this sheep interactively using ActionScript 3, as the basic of game programming. 🙂

Download Source

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