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Traditional Animation in Flash

While Flash is a good program for easy point-and-click animation, it's an even better program for bringing traditional, hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation into the digital world.

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.

Building an Animation-Ready Character from the Ground Up
Whether you draw your 2D animations traditionally or digitally, there are some skills essential to both incarnations of the craft. One is the ability to draw simple but effective animation characters with clean, easy lines and basic shapes.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Keyframe and In-Between Basics
Rather than working with simple shapes and reusable objects, let's work with the techniques used in cinematic animation: hand-drawing each frame using keyframing and in-betweening techniques to describe progressive motion.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: 8-Frame Basic Walk Cycle
The walk cycle is one of the most important animation techniques to master, but you can simplify it a bit in Flash even when drawing each individual frame, whether in whole or in part. This simple stick-figure walk-cycle demonstrates the basic ideas and discusses key concepts of figures in motion.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part I
Creating a detailed, full-color character animation using traditional frame-by-frame methods is a long and at times difficult process, even in Flash. For this lesson we're going to take the first step and rough-sketch our basic motion for a simple action, using block shapes representing a character we wish to animate.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part II
Now that we've used Flash to create a basic rough-sketched animation of our desired motion, it's time to start layering a little detail on top of it to flesh everything out.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part III
Detail is good--but it's even better when it's been retraced and smoothed out for clean line art. For that, we'll need to use the Pen Tool to retrace our animation.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part IV
Time to add a little color to our plain world of black and white, and start painting in shades in a process that would normally be done using cels in standard traditional animation. Flash shaves hours of work off of the process.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part V
This lesson is where we really start to see the advantage of using Flash for traditional frame-by-frame animation, because we're going to use symbols and various shortcuts and transforming tools to create one eye and then reuse it on each frame.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part VI
After animating and detailing a moving human body, let's do something a little different with something less solid: the body's clothing. Animating the clothing simply moving with the body would use the same techniques that we've covered in past lessons, but now we'll add a little twist by causing the clothing to also move with the momentum of the body's motion.

Flash Frame-By-Frame Animation: Detailed Animation Part VII
Instead of using plain solid color, for this Flash lesson let's start using gradients to add another layer of depth and fullness to our animation, before finishing the cycling motion that we started in the last lesson.

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