1. Technology

2D Computer Animation Tutorials: Step-by-Step Lessons in Flash

User interface design? Interactive animated web pages? E-cards? Funny cartoon shorts? Whatever you want to do in 2D animation, these tutorials will help you get a foothold on on the basics of working in Flash to develop your animation skills, as well as a few tips and tricks to help beginners get used to the program tools.

Creating Your First Flash Animation

In this lesson we'll cover how to create a new blank movie file in Flash MX, and the tools and steps involved in making your first simple animation using motion tweening and basic shapes.

Flash Animation 2: Shape Tweening

With this lesson, we'll pick up at the end of where we left off in Lesson 1, with a lesson on shape tweening in Flash MX.

Flash Animation 3: Fireworks E-card

This tutorial offers you a chance to get more familiar with using Flash's drawing tools to set a scene for an animation, and a few little gradient and fill tricks. This part of the lesson will walk you through creating the scene for a Fourth of July exploding fireworks E-card; a future lesson will demonstrate how to animate it.

Flash Animation 4: Animating Your E-card

Now that we’ve set the stage for our E-card, let’s go ahead and animate it. For the first part of that, we’re going to use a new kind of symbol called a Movie Clip.

Flash Animation 5: Creating a Complex Character of Movable Parts

In this lesson, we're going to learn how to "cheat' on making detailed animated characters in Flash without actually drawing every frame.

Flash Animation 6: Using Text in Flash to Give Your Character a Voice

This will be a fairly simple lesson. Before we get into animating the limbs, we're going to add speech bubbles--we'll learn about adding actual audio tracks later--to learn about working with text in Flash, and to give our characters a "voice" to communicate with the viewer.

Flash Animation 7: Let's Move, Baby.

It's time to get our characters moving, using the movie clip symbols that we set up in previous lessons to control our limbs as a whole, and in sub-parts--and also to animate our facial features and give them expression and lip movements.

Flash Lesson 8: Adding Simple Audio

This will be one of the easiest lessons yet; all we're going to do is add a looping audio background to our Flash character animation to complete it.

Lip-Synching For Animation: Basic Phonemes

If you want to add actual expression and realistic mouth-movements to your animation, it helps to study how the shape of the mouth changes with each sound. These ten basic phoneme shapes can match almost any sound of speech, in varying degrees of expression--and with the in-between frames moving from one to the other, are remarkably accurate.

Flash Tip: Tools of the Trade: Drawing in Flash With a Graphics Tablet

Save yourself some time and effort in your frame-by-frame vector animation with this high-tech--but inexpensive--plug and play tool.

Animation Tip: Tools of the Trade: Light Tables

Whether you're drawing 2D animation for cel painting or doing the preliminary pencil work to be scanned in for a computer animation, a light table is one of the most important tools for frame-by-frame animation that you'll ever own.

An Introduction to Computer Animation

Just what is computer animation? This introduction provides a brief overview of the basic concepts and uses of 2D and 3D computer animation.
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