Category Archives: Flash Tools

More to Come

I know it’s been a few days, but I just wanted to assure everyone that there’s more on the way.  I’ve actually been working on a huge blog post that involves a video that’s more than 20 minutes long, as well as 20 or so new (though related) Flash commands that are unlike anything you’ve seen before.  There’ll also be some footage in the video that’ll be of more general interest, showing some of how I work (in case you’re curious), and a few non-Flash-specific animation tips.

What have I encountered in the process of creating this upcoming monstrous blog post?  Well, video is a pain in the butt if you’re trying to make it look as good as possible.  And blogging takes a lot of time.  And I frickin’ love my home-made Flash tools, and I love sharing them with people.  Actually, I knew all of these things already, but this process has reinforced them.

Finally, I have a question for anyone reading this: How do you think I could get people to read this blog?  Specifically, I’d love to get some regular readers who are interested in Flash animation, Flash commands, and/or 2d animation in general.  Please give any suggestions you can think of in the comments or via email.

Flash JSFL Commands: Classic Motion Tween Easing

I’d like to talk about the way I use tweens in Flash.  For one reason or another, I never use new-style motion tweens and I rarely use the easing editor.  I’ve found that the easing editor is rarely worth the trouble, and new motion tweens never end up working like I want them to and they frequently crash the program.  I’ll occasionally use the easing editor if I want a really strong ease in or out, or if there’s a very particular motion I want, but for the most part I stick with classic tweens and good old –100 to +100 easing.

Actually, though, I use very few motion tweens at all ever since I created my autotweener (which will be the subject of a later post).  Fully automated tweens like those produced by motion tweens rarely produce the results I need for good animation.  They usually look too linear and mechanical or they don’t work well when multiple pieces are involved.

That said, motion tweens do come in handy sometimes, and I almost always apply easing to them – usually either +100 (out) or –100 (in).  I’ve written several commands to help with setting and removing eases.  I’m going to show you some of them today.

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Flash JSFL Command: Motion Tweens and Sync

Anyone who’s worked with what are now called Classic Tweens will have run into the Sync Problem.  Not everyone will realize what was causing the problem, though.  It’s due to a feature that can actually be useful if you know how and when to use it.

For every motion tween there’s property called “sync”.  It’s a checkbox in the properties panel that you’ll see if you select a frame that has a motion tween applied to it.  Its function is a little arcane, and I’ve run into many Flash animators who have no idea of its existence, let alone its purpose. The gotcha is that it’s enabled by default with most methods of creating a motion tween, and it can cause unexpected and annoying behavior.

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My JSFL Commands

So I’ve noticed a couple things.  First, most people who use Flash are either animators or programmers, but rarely both.  There are lots of animators who dabble in programming and lots of programmers who dabble in animation, but in my experience you’re likely to have much more passion about one than the other, leading to having much more skill and experience in that one as well.

The reason I mention this is that occasionally I think about how few people there are who produce decent JSFL commands.  I think it’s because the people who are really interested in Flash commands are the animators – particularly the professionals, who work in Flash every day.  It’s certainly true for me: I animate in Flash for 45 to 50 hours a week, and I frequently think of things that I wish Flash could do.  Earlier in my career, before I Knew the Way of the JSFL, I would just grumble to myself and go on working around that lack-of-feature or bug.  Unfortunately I think that’s what most Flash animators do, many of them not even being aware of the purpose of the Commands menu.

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