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In Fireworks CS5 Essential Training, author Jim Babbage gives a detailed overview of Fireworks CS5, Adobe's software for creating and optimizing web graphics and interactive prototypes. This course includes a detailed tour of the interface, the enhanced PNG format, and the image editing toolset in Fireworks. Critical concepts, such as prototyping for HTML applications and working with symbols, the heart of an efficient workflow in Fireworks, are covered in detail. Exercise files are included with this course.
Creating complex animations with a lot of interactivity is really the realm of programs like Flash. But if you need a create a simple animation, maybe it's for banner ad where there's no need for high level of interactivity, GIF animations may still be a good option for you. And we are going to look at how to create GIF animation with this sample we've got onscreen here. Now we are going to look at a few different principles when we're going through and creating this little animation. My end goal is to take this pendulum and have it swing from side to side over a series of States.
So we are going to be working a lot with the States panel. We'll also be working with the Layers panel, and to make my life a little easier, I am going to go ahead and collapse my Styles panel, and I'm going to break apart my layers and States panel. So it just makes a little easier for me to see what's going on with these two panels, and I think I'll just collapse my Optimize panel as well. So we'll see here, in our Layers panel, we've got four main layers. We've got the clock layer, we've got the tower, and we've also got the pendulum, and little scenic in the background.
Now what I want to do, first of all, is I want to make sure some of these layers are always available on all the States of my animation, because the only thing that's really going to change is the pendulum, but I certainly still want the clock to appear in every single State that I am working with. Let me just give you an idea of what I mean. If I go ahead and create a brand-new empty State, just a brand-new State just like that, State 2, notice its completely empty. There's nothing there. All the layers are still there, but the actual State has no content in it, so I want to make sure that my clock remains visible throughout the entire series of States that's going to make up my animation.
So I am going to delete that old State, and we are going to select the clock layer first, and we are going to go to our Options in the Layers panel and choose Share Layer to States. Even though we don't have any other States yet, we're just setting this up at the moment. Same thing for the tower, Share layer To States, and the same thing with the scenic element, the background, Share Layer to States as well. Now I'm not sharing the pend layer to the States because the content of what's in this layer is going to change from State to State. All right.
I am going to select my pendulum and what we are going to do here is create seven copies of the pendulum. Now, there's a whole bunch of different ways to do this. Now I am going to go up to my Edit menu, and I am going to choose Clone. Now Clone gives me an exact copy of exactly the same physical location as the original object. Duplicate will give me an exact copy, but it will offset it by a few pixels so you can sort of see the difference between them. I want everything to be in exactly the same place. So I am going to press Clone, or you could use the key commands: Ctrl+Shift+D or Command+Shift+D on your computer.
I need to do this seven times. And if you lose count, you can always expand the Layers panel and see how many you've got, so I have here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I need one more. Now I've got 8 versions of my pendulum. They are all in exactly the same place, as I mentioned before. Now what we are going to do with these is we're going to change the position of each one of them. We are going to rotate each individual object to a different point so that we can give the appearance to the pendulum swinging back and forth.
So I am going to start with my top selection here, and I am going to grab my Scaling tool. One thing you might not have noticed before is when you select the Scaling tool, you'll see a little registration point right in the middle of the object. That is your rotation point. What I want to do is I want to shift that rotation point all the way up to the top of my object, and then when I rotate, I am going to rotate on the axis right there, so I can create my little rotation. If I left the rotation point in the middle, it would rotate in a different manner. I really want it swinging from that one point. So the first one is done.
I am going to grab my next one, do the same thing, grab my Scaling tool and about half way, like so, grab the next one, actually that one is going to stay where it needs to stay, right in the middle. Grab the one after that and again, with my Scaling tool, now notice here I forgot to change registration point, and you'll see what's happening, the entire pendulum is shifting so I don't want that.
So I'll rescale that one again. I just pressed Escape to get out of the Scaling mode. If I am doing something I don't want, just press Escape, and you will basically nullify the effect. So something like that, and that's good and then my next one, same idea. These are all separate objects so the registration point basically ends up going back to the middle for every single object. And we got a couple more in here. Now, we want to have this pendulum swing back and forth so we are going to be adding in a couple of States that allow me to swing in one direction and then in the other direction.
So this is where these other shapes come into play. So again, we are going to Scale and rotate, and one more time, Scale and set my registration point and rotate, like so. Okay now at the moment, all it looks like is a bunch of the same thing over and over again, but here's a really cool little feature. Once you have all of this rotation done, we can go ahead and select all the Paths in that pend layer, okay now so all are selected.
Then I can go to my States panel and choose Distribute to States. Then what's going to happen is Fireworks is going to create eight States in total, and there'll be one object, one pendulum on each one of those States. So I'll choose Distribute to States, and you'll notice that we get back to one pendulum all of a sudden. So in State 1, we have one pendulum, and if I take a look, I am going to expand my States panel here a bit, you will see we now have eight States that weren't there before. We only started off with one single State.
As I click on the different States, you'll see that I get my animation. Now I got a couple of there that went out of sequence a bit so let's just sort of follow through here. So notice that one there, State 3 is really in the wrong spot. And the great thing is, even after you've made the States, they're all independent of each other. So I can go through each State and restack the order or reset the order of them. So 1 is fine, 2 is fine, and it looks like I need number 8 after number 2, so I am just going to grab it and drag it, and then 1, 2, 3, good.
And then we are going to go and again, play around with a couple of these other ones. We are going to grab State 8, put it where State 4 was, and then we will hop to 5, so again, it's just a little bit of experimentation here. So now if I walk through this one at a time, you will see I am getting that animation effect. Rather than clicking on these manually, I can go down to the bottom of my Properties panel, and I can actually run them.
We saw this with the Animation symbol in the Symbols chapter. So I am just going to click on the Play button, and I've got my little animation, which is pretty cool. It took a few minutes to build, and this kind of animation is a little more involved, so we are not able to do this kind of thing with an Animation symbol, but we certainly have the ability to create it. And you'll also notice, as I run through these, it's moving fairly quickly back and forth. Now I can change that inside of my States panel. You'll see, over on the right-hand side, the number 7.
This is a default, what's referred to as a State delay, and basically 7 means seven-one hundredths of a second. So I am going to click on my first State. I am going to Shift+Click on my last State so I select all the States, double-click, and I can change that State delay from 7. I'll go to about 20. And now if I play it again, moving a little bit slower down, so that worked out actually relatively well. So I am going to stop that playback. Now one last thing I'll point out before we wrap up.
If you were going to export this out as an animation, you need to go to your Optimize panel and make sure that you've chosen Animated GIF. If you choose any other format, you are not going to get an animation. You'd also want to check your Optimization settings to make sure you've got the file compressed as much as you want. A second option you have, if you don't want a GIF animation, you can actually save this as an SWF file. So I can go into my File menu and choose Save As, and you'll see an option in here for Adobe Flash SWF.
So I could save this as a Flash file that could then be opened up later on inside of Flash and added to an existing animation or existing interface, whatever it is I'm working with. So I am having a couple of options with generating these animations. If I want to add additional interactivity, then moving it over to Flash would also be a good choice.
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